Friday, June 11, 2010

Murdering the English Language

What's the difference between Old English (not Olde as I might have supposed) and Middle English?  Old English had a base of German, with some Celt and Latin mixed in.  Spoken circa 500 to 1100, it was the berries.  So why jump to the Middle?  Remember 1066?  It's the only date I can remember from the period but I can never remember it's significance. Ha!  That's when the Normans totally took over England.  They were from France, and due to that they spoke French.  William the Conqueror, French, became king. Now the English upper class learned French in order to schmooze effectively.  Soon French words were being incorporated into English.  Then the Normans started marrying the English people and the Normans began speaking more English than French.  And that mess is the basis for Modern English.  Aren't you glad you asked?

Graphic Source: Karen's Whimsey
Source:  World Book 2006 vol. 6

1 comment:

jvanwyke said...

My favorite book on the origins of English was written by Des Moines' own Bill Bryson: "The Mother Tongue." Funny, entertaining -- and highly informative. I recommend it!