Part 3, quest 2

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Part 3, quest 2

Post  Steph on Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:39 am

QUESTION 2) Explain 1) the difference between bilingualism and diglossia 2) How those terms apply to post-Norman invasion of Britain?

*1)
BAYLON, Christian. (1996) Sociolinguistique, Armand Colin, France.
(146) Bilinguisme: usage de deux ou plusieurs langues par un même individu ou un même groupe.
(148) Diglossie : répartition des usages dans chacune des langues selon des circonstances et des thèmes particuliers, s’accompagnant généralement de la prépondérance de l’usage d’une des deux langues et d’une différence de prestige. (prestige= subjectif)
(150) 1 : variété L (les formes d’une langue s’emploient quotidiennement, équilibre, ‘vernacular’)
2 variété H (l’unification des variétés linguistiques en présence).

WARDHAUGH, Ronald. (1986) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, Blackwell, UK.

(89) Diglossic situation: when clear functional differences between the codes (languages) govern the choice of which language to use. It exists in a society when it has two distinct codes which show clear functional separation.
(98) Bilingualism is not rare in other parts of the world (in this case, bilingualism is the act of speaking two languages while diglossia has an H and L form, distinguishing between their functions), where the ability to converse with other people is a regular requirement for daily business. Languages are often acquired naturally.
CALVET, Louis-Jean. (1999) La guerre des langues et les politiques linguistiques, Hachette Littératures, Paris.
‘Opposant le biliguisme (la capacité d’un individu à utiliser plusieurs langues) qui relèverait de la psycholinguistique à la diglossie (utilisation de plusieurs langues dans une société) qui relèverait de la sociolinguistique.’
-La diglossie existe dès qu’il y a une différence fonctionnelle entre 2 langues, quel que soit le degré de différence, du plus subtil au plus radical.

TOWNEND, Matthew. (2006) The Oxford History of English. Oxford University Press. Oxford. P. 69.

Social contact has an effect on the linguistic impact. Contact between languages involves bilingualism, either individual or social… ‘that is, one may have a society which is at least partly made up of bilingual speakers, or conversely a bilingual society which is made up of monolingual speakers.’

*2)
WARDHAUGH, Ronald. (1986) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, Blackwell, UK.
Diglossia is not ephemeral; languages can coexist for a long time. After the conquest in 1066, Norman French was the H and English the L for a long time, but eventually English took more functions.


TOWNEND, Matthew. (2006) The Oxford History of English. Oxford University Press. Oxford. P. 69.

The contact situation between English and French was different from English and Germanic languages (as the two are quite alike, and people spoke languages that were mutually intelligible: it was a bilingual society made up of monolingual speakers of different languages, different ‘dialects of English’).
French (Romance), the language spoken by the Norman invaders starting from 1066, and English (Germanic) were so dissimilar as to permit no form of mutual intelligibility. This was individual bilingualism, but the form changed over time.

‘Once their early monolingual period had come to an end, initially it was the Norman aristocracy who spoke French as their first language and who learned English as their second. But soon these linguistics roles had been reversed and French, as we have seen, became the learned second language, after which it also began to be learned by those below the level of aristocracy. However, it is important to stress that French speakers in England always formed a minority; the majority of the population were monolingual, and the language they spoke was English.’

*As may be concluded from the above information, people spoke two languages to be able to function in society= individual bilingualism, but a form of diglossia existed, as to climb up the social ladder one needed to speak French (it was in the beginning the High form, then reversed as the Low form).

Morris, Lori. It’s a Long Story. (p. 91-92)

When the Norman invaded the British Isles, the language of administration in England was changed as well as other political moves to consolidate the French hold on the country. Also, the merchants and traders made French the language of business… (Again, in the beginning, French was the High form of diglossia, used for formal communication). English speakers who wished to get ahead in politics and business began to learn French (some people became bilingual, and a situation of diglossia existed in the society).

After a generation or two of this, there was a linguistic split along class lines. The upper classes all spoke French (associated with power and wealth, and thus prestige), while the lower classes spoke English. English literature was related to a position of inferiority compared to English literature.

Around 1200, international conflicts bought back new life for English: indeed, the ties between England and Normandy (the original country of the French invaders) were broken and thus, the use of French began to decline. The use of English began to spread amongst those of the upper class as they fought against foreign influence. Over time, French declined and many educated people never learned how to speak it. (Eventually, almost only English was used, so there was no diglossic situation and less bilingualism).

*EXTRA: The Hundred Years War (1337-1453), which pitted France against England, gave rise to very strong English nationalism and restored the English language to its former status as the national language of England. It was not until 1362 that English was used in the legal and educational systems. The Black Plague in 1348 killed about one third of the population in England, most of them of the lower classes, thus this created a labor shortage: in consequence, it gave the lower classes a certain leverage and power and accelerated the return of the Low language (English) to a position of prestige.

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Re: Part 3, quest 2

Post  captn_lee on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:20 pm

Explain 1) the difference between bilingualism and diglossia 2) How those terms apply to post-Norman invasion of Britain?
(A history of the english language albert c. Baugh& Thomas cable )
One of the most important of these consequences was the introduction of a new nobility. Many of the English higher class had been killed on the field a Hastings. Those who escaped were treated as traitors, and the places of both alike we filled by William’s Norman followers. This process was repeated several times during the next four years while the conquest was being completed.(p.112)
In 1075, thirteen of the twenty-one abbot who signed the decrees of the Council of London were English, twelve years later their number had been reduced to three.( p 113)
For 200 years after the Norman Conquest, French remained the language of ordinary intercourse among the upper class in England.
It is true that English was now an uncultivated tongue, the language of a socially inferior class, ( p.117)
When this language became the official language of administration in England, an unparalleled linguistic and social rift resulted. French became the language of power and of prestige. English was the language of the conquered masses. This is why the end of the Old English period is set in 1100, just after the Norman Conquest. Middle English would emerge as a substantially different form of the language: a variety of English awash in French borrowings. ( long story p.89)

When William crossed the Channel, he brought with him an entire French-speaking government and an entourage of friends eager for a share of the spoils. His first political moves were designed to consolidate the French hold on England by replacing native English earls and churchmen with his people. The result was a wholesale change in the administration of England and in the language of administration. The French influence was further extended when Norman traders and merchants followed in William's wake, bringing with them French as the language of business as well. Native English speakers who wished to get ahead quickly in politics or in business realised that an ability to speak the language of the conquerors was essential and they set about learning French. After a generation or two of this pursuit of French the result was a linguistic split in England along class lines. The upper classes all spoke French, while the lower classes spoke English.
The immediate consequences of this split for the English language were considerable. French had come to be associated with power and with wealth, and had thus become the language of prestige in England. Since the upper classes were the literate classes and the upper classes were now French-speaking, English literature, which had not been highly developed to start with, was relegated to a position of inferiority with respect to French literature.( long story 91)

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