The Influence of French on the English Language!
Have you ever wondered why there are so many French words in the English language? Would you like to know why nearly 45% of all English words are of French origin? If you replied yes to both questions, here are a few things you need to know about the influence of the French on the English language.
Cactus offers outstanding immersive language courses for adults and juniors, online language courses and private classes. If you have any questions about any of our courses please call us on +44 1273 830 960 or contact us. Our team of multilingual experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Interesting Facts – The Influence of The French on the English Language:
William the Conqueror
The Norman invasion of England in 1066 had a major impact not only on the country, but also on the English language. William the Conqueror and his merry band of Normans brought with them Norman French, which became the language of the court, government and the upper class for the next three centuries. English continued to be used by ordinary people, and Latin was the language of the church.
During the period when Norman French was the dominant language, English was rarely used in writing, and started to change in many ways. Before the conquest English had a much more complex grammar, however 70 or 80 years later, the grammar had become much simpler. This change is known as the transformation from Old English to Middle English. At the same time Norman French became Anglo-Norman as it was itself affected by English.
Over 10,000 words
More than 10,000 French words found their way into English – words associated with government, law, art, literature, food, and many other aspects of life. About three quarters of these words are still used, and words derived directly or indirectly from French now account for more than a third of English vocabulary. In fact English speakers know around 15,000 French words, even before they start learning the language.
Quite a lot of the words of French origin used in English sit alongside native English ones, and in some cases there are words of Latin and/or Greek origin with similar meanings. Beef (from French boeuf) is meat from a cow (from Old English cu), a type of bovine (from Latin bovinus via French bovin). A king (from Old English cyning) can be kingly, royal (from French roial) and regal (from Latin regalis).
In some cases words with the same or similar meanings were borrowed from both Norman French and Parisian French at different times. For example warden comes from Norman French, while guardian comes from Parisian French.
Pronunciation and Grammar
The pronunciation of English changed to some extent under the influence of French, as did the spelling. For example, the Old English spellings cw, sc and c became qu, sh and ch, so we now write queen rather than cwen, ship rather than scip, and should rather than scolde.
English grammar did take on a few French structures, such as putting in adjectives after nouns in some expressions – attorney general, secretary general, surgeon general.
More Information About Languages:
Are you looking to start learning a language and have full-immersive experience? Are you looking to find our more than the influence of French on the English language? Cactus offers a variety of great language courses across the world, online and in the UK, and private classes.
Learning a language have never been easier and is a great way to start uncover a different culture. Please check our How to Book page for more information on the simple secure and easy online booking process.
For information on any of our courses, please call us on +44 (0) 1273 830 960 or contact us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any question you may have.
Book Your Language Course Now
Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:
Evening language courses: 23 different languages in 11 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Junior language camps: immersion programmes for children and teens across the world
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: 23 languages online and for teacher training