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How the English language came to be. Do you know where England and France are in relation to one another?. The body of water that lies between them is called The English Channel. Or, in France, “La Manche ,” which means “the sleeve.”. So here’s a trick question:.

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the body of water that lies between them is called the english channel
The body of water that lies between them is called The English Channel.

Or, in France, “La Manche,” which means “the sleeve.”

so here s a trick question
So here’s a trick question:

What language do they speak in France?

Answer: FRENCH!

french is a derivative of latin
French is a derivative of Latin.

As the Romans expanded their empire, they took over what is now France, Spain, Portugal, and more. Their language stayed behind even as they went back to Rome and the empire fell apart. These are called the Romance languages because they are derived from Latin.

although the romans did occupy britain it was for a shorter time than elsewhere in europe
Although the Romans did occupy Britain, it was for a shorter time than elsewhere in Europe.

When they left, they left in a hurry and did not return.

what language did they speak
What language did they speak?

Answer: Anglo-Saxon, which is a relative of German.

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Below is a prayer written down in later Saxon times. At first glance it looks difficult to understand:

Thu urefæther, the eart on heofonum, sy thin namagehalgod.Cume thin rice, Sy thin wylla on eorthanswaswa on heofonum.Syle us todægurnedaeghwamlicanhlaf.And forgyf us uregyltasswaswa we forgyfaththampe with us agyltath. And ne laethuna us on costnunge, ac alys us framyfele

however when it is spelled phonetically it becomes instantly recognizable to any modern person
However, when it is spelled phonetically it becomes instantly recognizable to any modern person:

Thu our father, thee art on heavenum, say thinenamaholyod. Come thine rich, say thine will on earth swas-wa on heavenum.Sell us today ourne day-wham-lick hloaf. And forgive us our guiltasswas-wa we forgiv-aththemp with us a-guilt-ath.And no lee thu us on costnun-ya, ash all-lees us from evil.

he ruled over a section of france called normandy
He ruled over a section of France called Normandy.

Nor in Normandy comes from the same root as our word for north. It’s the northerly part of France.

william had a claim to the english throne
William had a claim to the English throne.

He had an idea that he’d quite like to sit on it.

if you re going to make someone plough your fields you have to be able to communicate
If you’re going to make someone plough your fields, you have to be able to communicate.

But what happens if the lords speak French and the serfs speak AngloSaxon?

you improvise
You improvise.
  • Lord: ploughez-vousceclos.
  • Serf: huh?
  • Lord: j’aidit, ploughez-vousceclos!
  • Serf: This guy is an idiot.
  • Other Serf: I think he wants us to plough the field.
  • First Serf: Forget that. Tell him to plough it himself.
  • Lord: Vousetesmorts, chiens!
but after a long long time the languages melded
But after a long, long time, the languages melded.

Of the hundred or so key words which make up about half of our everyday speech, most are Old English. Some are even spelt the same way such as and, for, of, in, to, under, on ; others have changed their spelling a little like æfter (after), beforan (before), behindan (behind), bi (by), eall (all), hwæt (what), hwy (why), ofer (over), uppan (up), æt (at), æg (egg), socc (sock), scoh (shoe), scyrte (shirt), hætt (hat), mete (meat), butere (butter), milc (milk), hunig (honey), cese (cheese) and many more beside. All our words for the close family come from Old English -faeder, moder, sunu, dohtor, sweoster, brothor as do many of our swear words!

we even see redundancies words that we have more than one of
We even see redundancies, words that we have more than one of.

AngloSaxonFrench

Pig pork

Chicken poultry

Cow beef

Will testament

Farming agriculture

Joy felicity

the battle of hastings was in 1066
The battle of Hastings was in 1066.

By the time Chaucer was writing, in the late 1300’s, English had evolved to this point:

Whanthat aprill with his shouressoote

The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swichlicour

Of which vertuengendred is the flour.

Whanzephirus eek with his sweetebreeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

Tendrecroppes, and the yongesonne

Hath in the ram his halve coursyronne,

And smalefowelesmakenmelodye,

That slepen al the nyght with open ye

(so priketh hem nature in hircorages);

Thannelongen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

the two languages french and anglosaxon came together to form english
The two languages, French and AngloSaxon, came together to form English.

And English is still evolving. It takes words from all sorts of languages, like Icelandic, Yiddish, Japanese, you name it.

English is a compost heap!

english is great
English is GREAT!

It’s strong! It’s vigorous! It borrows from other languages!

It’s like a big, healthy mutt.

slide36
1066.

When French and AngloSaxon came together to form English.