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French Borrowings

  • Date Submitted: 03/22/2010 07:55 AM
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FRENCH BORROWINGS

The aim of this project is to show how important the French influence was in establishing the English vocabulary. One of the most important influences ever to shape the English language arrived in 1066 AD – William the Conqueror’s invasion of the British Isles.
As a result, the French dialect the Normans spoke (Anglo-Norman) became the official language of the court, administration, and perhaps just as importantly, the language of culture.
The first stage in influencing the English language contains words which appeared before 1250. They are almost exclusively vocabulary which was used between lower classes and the French speaking nobility.
The second stage represents words which appeared after 1250: The upper classes turned more and more to the use of English and thereby transferred their French administrative, governmental, legal, ecclesiastical and military terms. The influx of French loanwords never stopped. It only became less intensive.

Examples:
French, Old:
Verbs: allow, defeat, destroy, brush, govern, judge, push, trick. marvel
Words related to qualities: bastard, beauty, chivalry, honest, loyal, sure
Words related to church and law: court, priest, constraint
Governmental and military terms: conquest, quest, royal, quarter, castle
Other: beef, choice, cloister, dinner, forest, frail, garden, hostel, interest, mutton, paste, place, poison, pork, push, stuff, tempest, ticket, trick

French, Modern:
Words related to food and drinks: aperitif/apéritif, cafe/café, chef, croissant, cuisine, dessert, gourmand, patisserie, a la carte (from the card), gourmet, bacon, buffet, cherry, peach, pear, fillet, flan, frappé, liquor, marmalade, olive, orange, crème brulée, crème caramel, crème de menthe, soufflé, bon-bon
Words related to law: accomplice, advocate, amnesty, arbitrage, felon, prison, proof, protocol, solicitor, accusation, accredit, judge, justice, proposition, claim, argue
Words related to church:...

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