was successfully added to your cart.

The romance between French and English

By March 10, 2017Classes, Language

No language is a completely static thing. In a way, a language breathes and grows, similar to a living organism. Over time, words are gained and words are lost.

A language tree of Proto-Indo-European language relationships. The dotted line shows the influence of French on Middle English.

English started as a Germanic language but it has evolved through exposure to other languages. After German tribes came to Britain they influenced the Celts and this lead to Old Frisian. This, in turn was influenced by the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons so the language developed into Old English. Next Middle English was the result of influence from the Normans and the French. Modern English emerged after the great vowel shift and the English Renaissance.

So as you can see, language does not just have one origin. it is an ever-evolving thing. Even today you can see how we integrate slang and other languages into our lexicon. Even the tree to the right is an extremely simplified version of all the languages that have influenced each other.

French and English have a long history of influencing each other and it is theorized that a third of Modern English words are somehow related to French. For example, in the 14th century, at the height of the black death, the infected were required to be isolated from the healthy for forty days. In French the word for “forty” is “quarante” and doesn’t that sound similar to the word “quarantine”?

If you want to learn more about the relationship between English and French, click here to sign up for our upcoming lecture on the topic!

 

 Sources:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq-history

http://www.thehistoryofenglish.com/

https://www.thoughtco.com/how-french-has-influenced-english-1371255

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/language.html

 

Hello there! We are the Chicago’s French cultural and learning center dedicated to the study of French language, cultural exchange, and friendship... Welcome on our blog :)

Leave a Reply