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The Norman Conquest began in 1066. The Normans were by origin a Scandinavian tribe who two centuries back began their inroads on the Northern part of France and finally occupied the territory on both shores of the Seine. The French King Charles the Simple ceded to the Normans the territory occupied by them, which came to be called Normandy. The Normans adopted the French language and culture, and when they came to Britain they brought with them the French language.

In 1066 King Edward the Confessor died Duke William, profiting by the weakness of King Harold who succeeded King Edward on the English throne, invaded England. He assembled an army, landed in England and in a battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066 managed to defeat Harold and proclaimed himself King of England.

The Norman conquest had far-reaching consequences for the English people and the English language.

The Norman conquerors continued pouring into England thousands after thousands, years and years after the conquest, and during the reign of King William over 200,000 Frenchmen settled in England and occupied all positions of prominence in the country, be it in court, Parliament, Church or school.

The Norman conquerors, though Germanic by origin, were French by their language, habits and customs. They were a people and a class that stood aloof from the conquered English, whose habits and customs they despised and whose language they could not understand. They spoke French and addressed people in French. They taught their children French

The Norman Conquest put an end to the West Saxon literary language. But eventually after a prolonged struggle the English language got ascendance over French and again became the state language of the country.

The English language emerged after the straggle, but it came in a different position. Its vocabulary was enriched by a great number of French words and its grammatical structure underwent material changes.

The end of the 14th century also saw the first "English" translation of the Bible, and Chaucer was writing his "English" masterpieces.


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 1107

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