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Middle English and the Norman Conquest.


17187. Middle English and the Norman Conquest.

Focusing on the Norman Conquest and the two centuries of Norman rule which followed, this paper investigates how English was historically influenced by French. Following a background overview of the Norman Conquest and the general scope of associated linguistic influence, the literature on French influences in English is reviewed and analyzed, focusing on the lexical, phonological, morphological and syntactic changes that ensued as a cause of or in association with two hundred years of Norman domination. The essay considers not only the evidence of the existence of French influences on English but also the process by which that influence took place. Major controversies in the literature regarding the scope of the influence and the most important source of influence are examined. It is concluded that the balance of evidence points to Anglo-Norman versus Continental French as the primary source of language influence. Moreover, it is argued that the evidence demonstrates that the scope of French influences extends well beyond ‘loan words’ or ‘borrowing’. The Norman Conquest of England ultimately led to a merging of languages which transformed English language. KEYWORDS: linguistics middle english anglo-french anglo-norman french language influence normal conquest. LSA Style. 23 pages, 110 footnotes, 21 bibliographic sources. 6,326 words.
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