The Norman Conquest changed the English language due to this interesting and dominating new influence, both directly on language and on the wider culture. The Norman Conquest changed the English language even across the lower-classes, as new language usage filtered down through society. This produced an interesting mix of languages with French and English co-exiting as uneasy partners across the country.
In the Normans conquered England and it affected strongly the language. Without William the Conqueror? It would have lacked the greatest part of French words that today make English seem on the side of vocabulary more a Romance than a Germanic language.
The Norman conquest changed the whole course of English. His possession of the throne had been a matter of conquest and was attended by all the consequences of the conquest of one people by another. A new nobility was introduced. Many of the English higher class had been killed at Hastings, and others were considered as traitors.
In only one of the 12 earls in England was an Englishman. For several generations after the conquest the important positions and the great estates were almost held by Normans or men of foreign blood. Norman prelates occupied important positions in the church. The use of French by the upper class The number of Normans who settled in England was sufficiently predominant to continue to use their own language.
It was natural at first, because they knew no English.
For years after the Norman conquest, French remained the language of ordinary intercourse among the upper classes in England.
Intermarriage and association with the ruling class numerous people of English extraction thought it was and advantage to learn the new language. Before long the distinction between those who spoke French and those who spoke English was not ethnic but social.
The most important factor in the continued use of French but the English upper class until the beginning of the 13th century was the close connection that existed through all these years between England and the continent.
English kings spend often a great part of the time in Normandy. The Conqueror and his sons were in France for about half of their respective reigns. The English nobility was also as much a nobility of England as an Anglo French aristocracy.
Nearly all the English landowners had possessions on the continent. There is no reason to think that the preference that the governing class in England showed for French was anything more than a natural result of circumstances.
The idea that the newcomers were actively hostile to the English language is without foundation. It is true that English was now an uncultivated tongue, the language of a socially inferior class, and that a bishop like Wulfstan might be subjected to Norman disdain in part, at least, because of his ignorance of that social matter.
According to the chronicler Ordelic Vitalis, William the Conqueror made an effort at the age of 43 to learn English, His sons may have known some English, although their approach to the language may be characterised by mere indifference. A lot of French literature was produced for royal and noble patronage.
In the years following the Norman conquest the sting of defeat and the hardships were forgotten. People accepted the new order as something accomplished; they accepted it as a fact and adjusted themselves to it. The fusion of Normans and English was rapid.
The appearance of manuals from about for the teaching of French is significant.During this time, thousands of French words entered the English language. Look at the list of words below. Some of the words come from Old English (or Anglo-Saxon). The Norman Conquest, resulting from Battle of Hastings in , gave the English language its strongest change in direction.
For the next years, the mixture of French rule over English subjects saw the dawn of a two tiered society. Read on to discover more about how the Norman Conquest changed the English language.
The Normans raided Italy, and were a driving force behind the Crusades. From the British point of view, the main identifiers of the Norman invaders were the language they spoke (a variant of Frankish - French) and their tendency to build castles everywhere.
ANGLO-NORMAN AND CENTRAL FRENCH It will be observed that the French words introduced into English as a result of the Norman Conquest often present an appearance quite different from that which they have in modern French, it is a consequence of the developments that have taken place in .
The Norman Conquest of the English Language. Or does the red thread of the Norman Conquest run across our linguistic history as it does across our social and institutional past? The French Revolution's Angel of Death; The British Church That Worshipped Hitler;.
During the period when Norman French was the dominant language, English was rarely used in writing, and started to change in many ways.
From Old English to Middle English Before the conquest English had a much more complex grammar, however 70 years later, the grammar had become much simpler.