Norman English And The English Language

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It is evident that the Norman Conquest of 1066 had a nearly-detrimental effect on the English language, as up to 85% of the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary was lost after the Conquest, due to the influence of their language. Nonetheless, two hundred years after the Norman Conquest, it was English that emerged as the language of England. Even though it is evident that English was deeply transformed by Norman French, so too was Norman French deeply transformed by the Old English of the Anglo Saxons. A milestone in the transformation back to an English-speaking nation was the year 1204, where the French part of Normandy, as well as contact with the French court and culture, was lost to the King of France, this prompted the degeneration of Norman French- and provided a firm basis for the nation-wide permeation of English once again. Although some people in England could speak Latin and French, everyone could and did speak English. The Hundred Year’ War against France from 1337-1453, which was a struggle to control the French throne, contributed further to the embrace of the English language by the British, as French was then perceived as the language of the enemy. Finally, the Black Death of 1349, which killed about a third of the English population at the time, resulted in merchant and labouring classes growing in economic and social importance, thus enabling the elimination of the dialectal division between the nobility and the working class. Shortly after this, English became the language of instruction in schools. Another significant influence on the formation of the English language was the writer Geoffrey Chaucer from the 13th century, who wrote the infamous “Canterbury Tales”, which is usually considered the first great works of English... ... middle of paper ... ...thongs ǝi and ǝu and then finally became Modern English “ai” and “au”; their high vowel positions became free, thus the mid-high vowels e: (as in gre:n) and o: (as in fo:d) were raised to i: (as in gri:n) and u: (as in fu:d) and filled the gap. Similarly, the Middle English vowel a: (as in ma:ken) changed to æ (as in mæken) then to ɛ (as in mɛ:k) and then to e: (as in me:k) and finally into the Modern English dipthong “ei”. The vowel ɔ: as in gɔ:t (as in goat) changed to go:t which represents Modern English ou/eu as in (boat). The vowel e: eventually changed to Modern English i: (as in feet). Basically, the high Middle English vowels i: and u: represent modern “beet” and“boot” respectively. The middle e: vowel represents modern “bait, and o: represents modern “boat”. The low æ represents modern “bag”, a: represents modern “father” and au represents modern “bought”.
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