The Norman Conquest


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A short voyage across the Norman conquest of England and its consequences on language.

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The Norman Conquest

  1. 1. The Norman Conquest. The French influence on the English language. Loan words and loan-translations .
  2. 2. <ul><li>After the Romans </li></ul><ul><li>Germanic invaders came, </li></ul><ul><li>then, the Norsemen, </li></ul><ul><li>and in 1066… </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Normans arrived in </li></ul><ul><li>England, near </li></ul><ul><li>Hastings. William the </li></ul><ul><li>Great (Duke of </li></ul><ul><li>Normandy) leaded </li></ul><ul><li>them. Harold was </li></ul><ul><li>defeated. </li></ul>
  4. 4. When King Edward “the Confessor” died in , three pretenders fought for the throne: <ul><li>Harold Godwinson : Edward’s brother-in-law, actually crowned King. </li></ul><ul><li>Harald Hardrada : King of Norway, attacked first. </li></ul><ul><li>William, Duke of Normandy : supposedly, he was designated successor directly by Edward. </li></ul>
  5. 5. By 1072, England was effectively subdued. William preserved much English government machinery: Anglo-Saxon England had one of the most sophisticated governmental systems in Western Europe. <ul><li>Administrative units ruled by “shire reeves” or “sheriffs” </li></ul><ul><li>Use of written documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent physical locations of government </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent treasury at Winchester </li></ul><ul><li>The Normans made this grow stronger . </li></ul><ul><li>They centralised the autonomous shire system. </li></ul><ul><li>Domesday Book: the first central kingdom-wide census taken in Europe since the Romans, and enabled more efficient taxation. </li></ul>
  6. 7. The Use of the French language <ul><li>OLD ENGLISH </li></ul><ul><li>Highly inflected language </li></ul><ul><li>Syntax only partially dependant on word order </li></ul><ul><li>Phonetic spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Four major dialects: Northumbrian, Mercian, Kentish and West Saxon (which dominated the written form of the language) </li></ul><ul><li>NORMAN FRENCH </li></ul><ul><li>It came from Vulgar Latin, original Gauls who occupied the land, Germanic tribes, Goths, Vandals and Franks. Finally, the Northmen (Danish and Norwegians) also influenced. </li></ul><ul><li>The language of the ruling classes in England. </li></ul><ul><li>Status of prestige. </li></ul>
  7. 8. MIDDLE ENGLISH <ul><li>Extreme loss of inflections. </li></ul><ul><li>Standarization of plural to “s” </li></ul><ul><li>less free in word order </li></ul><ul><li>loss of grammatical gender </li></ul><ul><li>more phonetic spelling </li></ul><ul><li>final -e pronounced, as well as all consonants </li></ul><ul><li>resurrection of English in 13th and 14th c. </li></ul><ul><li>dialects: Northern, Midland, Southern, Kentish </li></ul><ul><li>dominance of London dialect (East Midland) </li></ul><ul><li>Simplification of grammar because English was no longer a written language. </li></ul><ul><li>Mixture of Old English, French and Low German </li></ul><ul><li>Brut’s The Owl and the Nightingale is the starting point of the rebirth of English as a written language. </li></ul>
  8. 9. So, at this time… <ul><li>Latin was the second language of monks, diplomats, scholars, and was used in official documents, chronicals, liturgy. </li></ul><ul><li>Norman French was the mother tongue of aristocracy and royalty into 14th century. </li></ul><ul><li>And English was the language of the usually illiterate common people. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1362 the Parliament is opened in English, and from 1423 onwards Parliamentary records are kept in English. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Start of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  10. 11. The influence of French
  11. 12. French loan words <ul><li>Courtly life: food, fashion, leisure & arts: appetite, beef, biscuit, dinner, fruit, poultry,boots, button, fashion, wardrobe, art, beauty, literature, painting , etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Administration, Government, Military & Law: authority, baron, council, court, crown, government, parliament, noble, minister, prince, tax, treaty, liberty, archer, enemy, soldier, accuse, arrest, crime, guard, warden, jury, prison, punishment, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Religion & Church: abbey, catherdral, charity, clergy, confess, prayer, religion, saviour, virgin, Virtue, create, creator, divine, faith, etc. </li></ul>
  12. 13. It is said that English has a synonym at each level: popular, literary and learned. English French Latin Ask Question Interrogate Time Age Epoch Kingly Royal Regal Rise Mount Ascend
  13. 14. The abandonment of English, and the necessity to learn French to improve social status, was criticised by Robert of Gloucester in his Chronicle. <ul><li>Thus came, lo, England into Normandy's hand: and the Normans then knew how to speak only their own language, and spoke French as they did at home, and also had their children taught it, so that noblemen of this land, that come of their stock, all keep to the same speech that they received from them; for unless a man knows French, people make little account of him. But low men keep to English, and to their own language still. I think that in the whole world there are no countries that do not keep their own language, except England alone. But people know well that it is good to master both, because the more a man knows the more honoured he is. </li></ul><ul><li>Þus com, lo, Engelond in-to Normandies hond: And Þe Normans ne couÞe speke Þo bote hor owe speche, And speke French as hii dude atom, and hor children dude also teche, So Þat heiemen of Þis lond, Þat of ho blod come, HoldeÞ alle Þulke speche Þat hii of hom nom: Vor bote a man conne Frenss me telÞ of him lute. Ac lowe men holdeÞ to Engliss, and to hor owe speche-ute. Ich wene Þer ne beÞ in al the world contreyes none Þat ne holdeÞ to hor owe speche, bote Engelond one. Ac wel me wote uor to conne boÞe wel it is, Vor Þe more Þat a mon can, Þe more wurÞe he is. </li></ul><ul><li>( Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, ~1300 ) </li></ul>
  14. 15. The London dialect began to dominate. It was the dialect that gained social prestige. At the same time the Great Vowel Shift occurred.