French was the official language of England for over 300 years

French was the official language of England for over 300 years

French was the official language of the English court from 1066 until the beginning of the fifteenth century. And that before the French is the official language of France, since during that time it was Latin that was the official language until 1539.

French was the language of the English Parliament until 1363, and it was not until 1413 that English courts were allowed to plead in English. But its use has continued for many years. Until the nineteenth century, a large number of French formulas were still used in acts of justice and in the ceremonies of the coronation of English sovereigns.

During this period, English continued to be used at the same time as French: the country was bilingual. The French language has had a strong influence on English in many areas such as commerce, law, family or cooking. Among the words borrowed from French, we find “merchant”, “judge”, “marriage” or “mustard”.

French was the language of high society in most European states, and the language of commerce and diplomacy. But English was spoken by the people and it finally won. This process has induced the presence of many synonyms, one derived from Old English, the other derived from French, which have the astonishing peculiarity of having a popular connotation for the first, and bourgeois for the second (this is to say in a more sustained language): this is the case of “hard” and “difficult”, “country” and “nation”, or “to go on” and “to continue”.

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