Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Begin End Event Description Keywords Related Events
1066 1154

Norman French

As a result of the Norman Conquest, French became the official language of government. Though English survived, it was heavily influenced and adopted a large amount of French vocabulary. The influence happened on a higher register, in the language of government, medicine, fashion, aristocracy, art and education.

There is a division between Norman French and Central French because the Normans spoke a dialect of French that has same regular phonetic differences to Central French. These can be observed in these doublets:
  • warranty (from Norman French) and guarantee (from Central French)
  • trickery (from Norman French) and treachery (from Central French)

Norman French also had a slightly different vocabulary, as the language had previously been influenced by Old Norse. Words that came into English via Norman French from Old Norse are for example jolly or target.
Linguistics, Language Contact, Middle English Period, Norman Conquest