Question 1 Part 3

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Question 1 Part 3

Post  Sébastien Hamel on Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:29 am


1) Describe in detail the political situation in Britain leading up to the Norman Invasion and immediately after?
The Normans who conquered England were Norsemen by blood but, they lost their Scandinavian language very quickly after their arrival in Normandy, opting for the local dialect of French. The Normans and the English people were very close economically and politically and there were often intermarriages. Relations were so close that when the Danes seized power in England, King Ethelred the Unready fled to Normandy with his Norman wife. His son Edward was raised in France. When a Danish king of England died with no heir in 1042, Edward, who had acquired the nickname of Edward the Confessor, inherited the English throne and headed back across the English Channel, bringing with him an wide assortment of French friends and advisors. Edward died in 1066. , Harold, the eldest son of a powerful English earl was chosen by influential English nobles to be king. Since Harold had proven to be a good administrator before Edward's death, his choice as king came as very little surprise to the English.
While the choice of Harold caused no particular problems in England, back in Normandy there were some people who were not happy with the decision. William, who was the duke of Normandy, felt that he should have been chosen, especially since he had even gone through the trouble of holding Harold hostage in France at one point in time until Harold agreed that he, William, should succeed Edward. William was indignant enough about the choice of Harold to raise an army and sail across the English Channel to set matters straight. The armies of Harold and William met near Hastings in south-eastern England in September of 1066. Harold died on the battlefield and William won. The English army fled and William began burning and pillaging his way toward London. Rather than see London burn, the inhabitants capitulated on Christmas Day of 1066.

The Norman Conquest resulted in a linguistic and social rupture in England. William and his entourage brought a non-Germanic language with them when they came to power. 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.
Bragg, Melvyn. The Adventure of English. Hodder and Stoughton. 2003.
Morris, Lori. It’s a Long Story. (p. 88-89)

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Re: Question 1 Part 3

Post  MARCO on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:33 pm

Describe in detail the political situation in Britain leading up to the Norman Invasion and immediately after? (very similar to Seb so I'll add a few infos)

- When William crossed the channel, he brought with him an entire French- speaking government. His first political moves were designed to consolidate the French hold on England by replacing native English earls and churchmen with his people.

After the Norman invasion: 1216, Henry III comes to power.
Henry III is pro-French. Therefore, French foreigners occupied positions of power and authority.

An anti-foreigner movement in England grows which leads to the Hundred Years' war (1337-1453).

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Re: Question 1 Part 3

Post  aldijana on Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:38 pm

1) Describe in detail the political situation in Britain leading up to the Norman Invasion and immediately after.

THE BACKGROUND OF THE NORMAN CONQUEST
Almost at the end of the Old English period the great catastrophe of the Norman Conquest befell the English people-a catastrophe more far-reaching in its effects on English culture that the earlier harassment by the Scandinavians.
After the death without issue of Edward the Confessor, the last king in the direct male line on descent from Alfred the Great, Harold, son of the powerful Earl Godwin, was elected to the kingship. Almost immediately his possession of the crown was challenged by William, the seventh duke of Normandy, who was distantly related to Edward the Confessor and who felt that he had a better claim to the throne for a number of tenuous reasons.
The Norman Conquest-fortunately for Anglo-American culture and civilization, that the last invasion of England-was, like the earlier harassments, carried out by Northmen, who under the leadership of William the Conqueror defeated the English under the hapless King Harold at the battle of Hastings in 1066. Harold was killed by an arrow that pierced his eye, and the English, deprived of his effective leadership and that of his two brothers, who also fell in the battle, were ignominiously defeated.
William and the Northmen whose dux he was come not immediately from Scandinavia but from France, a region whose northern coast their not-very –remote Viking ancestors had invaded and settled as recently as the ninth and tenth centuries, beginning at about the same time that other pagan Vikings were making trouble for Alfred the Great in England. Those Scandinavians who settled in France are commonly designated by and Old French form of Northmen that is Normans and the section of France that they settled and governed was called Normandy.
The Conqueror was a bastard son of Robert the Devil, who took such pains in the early part of his life to earn his surname that he became a figure of legend-among other things, he was accused, doubtless justly, of poisoning the brother whom he succeeded as duke of Normandy. So great was his capacity for rascality that he was also called Robert the Magnificent. Ironically, he died in the course of a holy pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Robert’s great-great grandfather was Rollo, a Danish chieftain who was created first duke of Normandy after coming to terms satisfactory to himself with King Charles the Simple of France. In the five generations intervening between Duke Rollo and Duke William, the Normans had become French culturally and linguistically, at least superficially-though we must always remember that in those days the French had no learning, art or literature comparable to what was flourishing in England, nor had they ever seen anything comparable, as they themselves were willing to admit, to the products of English artisans: carving, jewellery, tapestry, metalwork, and the like. Their Norman French dialect developed in England into Anglo-Norman, a variety of French that was the object of amusement even among the English in later times.

1. Algeo, T. P. (1993). The origins and development of the English Language. Texas: Ted Buchholz.

(p. 134-135)

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Re: Question 1 Part 3

Post  aldijana on Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:39 pm

1066-1204

The Norman Invasion is arguably the single most cataclysmic event in English history. It was the last –but the most thoroughgoing –invasion of England by foreigners. It unified England for the first time in its history. And it was the most important event ever to occur in the outer history of the English language. Politically and linguistically, it was French conquest of England. Ethetically, it represented the last of the great Germanic invasions of England.
William I (William the Conqueror , Duke of Normandy) was a descendent of Rollo the Dane, the Viking who had terrorized northern France until, in A.D. 911, the harassed French King, Charles the Simple, was forced to conclude an arrangement with him similar to that King Alfred had made with the Danes in England a few years earlier. Rollo and his followers took control of the area of northern France that became known as Normandy (Norman= ‘’north man’’). The Normans soon gave up their own language in favor of French, but it was a French heavily influenced by their original Germanic dialect, a fact that was much later to be of significance in the ultimate resurgence of English in England.
William replaced Englishmen with Frenchman in all the high offices of both state and Church, partly to reward his French followers for their support, partly because he, justifiably, felt that he could not trust the English. Even the scriptoria of the of the monasteries were taken over by French speakers (although at Peterrborough the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles continued to be written in English until).
Along with his French officials, William also imported the principle of the feudal system, the notion of the state as a hierarchy in which every member was directly responsible to the person above him in the hierarchy.
During much of the Middle English period, the kings, took French wives and spent most of their reigns in their extensive possessions in France. They did not speak English at all though some of the later kings apparently understood it. The English court was a French-speaking court. Indeed, some of the finest French literature of the period was written in England for French-speaking English patrons.
The linguistic situation in Britain after the Conquest was complex. French was the native language of a minority of a few thousand speakers, but a minority with influence out of all proportion to their numbers because they controlled he political, ecclesiastical, economic, and cultural life of the nation. The overwhelming majority of the population of England spoke English, but English had no prestige whatsoever. Latin was the written language of the Church and of many secular documents; it was also spoken in the newly emerging universities and in the Church. Norse was still spoken ( but not written) in the Danelaw and other areas of heavy Scandinavian settlement, though it was soon to be assimilated to English, its influence being restricted primarily to loanwords in English and to dialectal peculiarities of the area. Beyond the borders of England proper, Celtic languages still prevailed in Wales and Scotland ( where a new standard Scots English was eventually to develop, based on the English of Edinburg).
Within a short time after the Conquest, there was probably a fair amount of bilingualism in England. Even if the kings had no English, most of nobility would have had to learn at least a number of English words in order to comminciate with their Anglo-Saxon underlings. Estate officials and household supervisors must have used English to give orders and to receive reports. Even though the kings usually did not take English-speaking nurses for their offspring, and the children learned English from these nursed and the other servants. Conversely, many Anglo-Saxons would have attempted to learn French as a means of improving their social and economic status. From the beginning, English speakers would have become familiar with such French words as tax, estate, trouble, duty and pay. English household servants would have learned French words like table, boil, serve, roast, .2words as religion, savior, pray etc. Most of these words do not appear in written English until after 1204, but only because little written English has survived from the period 1066-1204. When such words do appear in writing they are used with the confidence of familiar, universally known words.
Millward, C. (1996). A Biography of the English Language. the United States of America: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
p. 142-143





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