The nature of French in the Middle Ages

How useful is it to think of French as ‘a language’ in the Middle Ages? Or are we dealing rather with a set of mutually intelligible koines, of which ‘standard’ French from France was but one?  Who used this language or these idioms now known as French? Were there norms and if so how did they arise? If not, how might this be accounted for in our understanding of medieval texts written in French? 

Lead: Simone Ventura

To: Editions of the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César

Jason and the Argonauts add ms 15268 f105v 2 compartment

Miniature of Jason and the Argonauts, from London, British Library, Add. 15268, f. 105v. Reproduced with the permission of the British Library Board.