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Borrowings in English Essay

The main period for the introduction of French words into English was after the Norman Conquest of 1066. For the next 300 or so years, the language of the royal court, and therefore of authority, was Norman, a variety of French. The ruling classes spoke what came to be known as Anglo-Norman, while the rest of the population – the peasantry – carried on speaking English. French quickly became the language of law and government. This carried on until about the end of the 14th century when English reasserted itself as the language of authority. But French had made its mark on English and many of its words remain in use in English today. •With the Normans in a position of power for so long in the British Isles it is no surprise that many English words relating to government, law, money, and warfare come from French.

Latin loans are classified into the subgroups.

•Early Latin loans. Those are the words which came into English language through the languages of the Anglo-Saxon tribes. The tribes had been in contact with Roman civilization and had adopted many Latin words denoting objects belonging to that civilization long before the invasion of the Angles, Saxons and Judes into Britain (e.g., cup, kitchen, mill, wine, port). •Later Latin borrowings. To this group belong the words which penetrated into English language in the sixth and seventh centuries, when the English people were converted to Christianity (e.g., priest, bishop, nun, and candle).

•The third period of the Latin borrowings includes words which came into English due to two historical events: the Norman Conquest and the Renaissance. Some came to English language through French but some were borrowed directly from Latin (e.g., major, minor, intelligent, permanent). •The latest layer of Latin words. The words of this period are mainly abstract and scientific words (e.g., nylon, molecular, vaccine, phenomenon, and vacuum).


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