Anglo-Norman language
Anglo-Norman is the name traditionally given to the kind of Old Norman
Old Norman
Old Norman, also called Old Northern French or Old Norman French, was one of many langues d'oïl dialects. It was spoken throughout the region of what is now called Normandy and spread into England, Southern Italy, Sicily, and the Levant. It is the ancestor of modern Norman, including the insular...

 used in England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and to some extent elsewhere in the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 during the Anglo-Norman
The Anglo-Normans were mainly the descendants of the Normans who ruled England following the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror in 1066. A small number of Normans were already settled in England prior to the conquest...


When William the Conqueror
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

 led the Norman invasion of England in 1066, he, his nobles, and many of his followers from Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, but also those from northern and western France, spoke a range of Oïl dialects; one of these was Norman
Norman language
Norman is a Romance language and one of the Oïl languages. Norman can be classified as one of the northern Oïl languages along with Picard and Walloon...

. Others who came with him would have spoken varieties of the Picard language
Picard language
Picard is a language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages. It is spoken in two regions in the far north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy – and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia, the district of Tournai and a part of...

 or western French. This amalgam developed into the unique insular dialect now known as Anglo-Norman, which was commonly used for literary and eventually administrative purposes from the 12th until the 15th century. It is difficult to know much about what was actually spoken, and sure knowledge of the dialect is restricted to that which was written.

Nevertheless it is clear that Anglo-Norman was to a large extent the spoken language of the Norman nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 and was also spoken in the law courts, schools, and universities, and in due course amongst at least some sections of the minor nobility and the growing bourgeoisie. Private and commercial correspondence was written in Anglo-Norman from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. Other social classes than just the nobility became keen to learn Anglo-Norman; manuscripts containing materials for instructing non-native speakers still exist, dating mostly from the late fourteenth century onwards.

Although the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 survived and eventually eclipsed Anglo-Norman, the latter had been sufficiently widespread as to permanently affect English lexically. This is why English has lost or, more often, kept as parallel terms many of its original Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 words, cognates of which can still be found in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

. Grammatically, Anglo-Norman had little lasting impact on English, although it is still evident in official and legal terms where the noun and adjective are reversed, for example attorney general, which in New High German is Generalanwalt, literally meaning "general attorney": in that configuration, the term maintains the similarity between the German and English spellings while still possessing the Anglo-Norman reversal of the noun and adjective. Similar legal terms include heir apparent, court martial, body politic, and so on.

Use and development

Among important writers of the Anglo-Norman cultural commonwealth are the Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

-born poet, Wace
Wace was a Norman poet, who was born in Jersey and brought up in mainland Normandy , ending his career as Canon of Bayeux.-Life:...

, and Marie de France
Marie de France
Marie de France was a medieval poet who was probably born in France and lived in England during the late 12th century. She lived and wrote at an undisclosed court, but was almost certainly at least known about at the royal court of King Henry II of England...

. The literature of the Anglo-Norman period forms the reference point for subsequent literature in the Norman language
Norman language
Norman is a Romance language and one of the Oïl languages. Norman can be classified as one of the northern Oïl languages along with Picard and Walloon...

, especially in the 19th century Norman literary revival and even into the 20th century in the case of André Dupont's Épopée cotentine. The languages and literatures of the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

 are sometimes referred to as Anglo-Norman, but this usage, derived from the French îles anglo-normandes, is wrong: the Channel Islanders spoke and still speak a variety of Norman, not Anglo-Norman.

Anglo-Norman was never the main administrative language of England, Latin remaining the major language of record in legal and other official documents for most of the medieval period. However, from the later thirteenth century until the early fifteenth century Anglo-Norman and Anglo-French succeeded in establishing a very significant presence in law reports, charters, ordinances, official correspondence, and the language of trade at all levels. There is evidence, too, that it served as a means by which words from further afield (Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Catalan ...) entered England and thus, in due course, English.

The language of later Anglo-French documents adopted some of the changes ongoing in continental French and lost many of its original dialectal characteristics, so that Anglo-French remained (in at least some respects and at least at some social levels) part of the dialect continuum of French, albeit often with distinctive spellings. By the late fifteenth century, however, what remained of insular French had become heavily Anglicised: see Law French
Law French
Law French is an archaic language originally based on Old Norman and Anglo-Norman, but increasingly influenced by Parisian French and, later, English. It was used in the law courts of England, beginning with the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror...

. It continued to be known as "Norman French" until the end of the nineteenth century, even though philologically there was nothing Norman about it. Over time, the use of Anglo-French expanded into the fields of law, administration, commerce, and science, in all of which a rich documentary legacy survives, indicative of the vitality and importance of the language.

One notable survival of influence on the political system is the use of certain Anglo-French set phrases in the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 for some endorsements to bills and the granting of Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 to legislation. These set phrases include:
  • Soit baille aux Communes ("Let it be sent to the Commons", on a bill sent by the House of Lords to the House of Commons)
  • A ceste Bille (avecque une amendement/avecque des amendemens) les Communes sont assentus ("To this Bill (with an amendment/with amendments) the Commons have assented", on a bill passed by the House of Commons and returned to the House of Lords)
  • A cette amendement/ces amendemens les Seigneurs sont assentus ("To this amendment/these amendments the Lords have assented", on an amended bill returned by the House of Commons to the House of Lords, where the amendments were accepted)
  • Ceste Bille est remise aux Communes avecque une Raison/des Raisons ("This Bill is returned to the Commons with a reason/with reasons", when the House of Lords disagrees with amendments made by the House of Commons)
  • Le Roy/La Reyne le veult ("The King/Queen wills it", Royal Assent for a public bill)
  • Le Roy/La Reyne remercie ses bons sujets, accepte leur benevolence et ainsi le veult ("The King/Queen thanks his/her good subjects, accepts their bounty, and wills it so", Royal Assent for a supply bill)
  • Soit fait comme il est désiré ("Let it be done as it is desired", Royal Assent for a private bill)
  • Le Roy/La Reyne s'avisera ("The King/Queen will consider it", if Royal Assent is withheld)

The exact spelling of the formulæ has varied over the years; for example, s'avisera has been spelled as s'uvisera and s'advisera, and Reyne as Raine.

Trilingualism in Medieval England

Much of the earliest recorded French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 is in fact Anglo-Norman. In France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, almost nothing was being recorded in the vernacular because Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 was the language of the nobility, education, commerce, and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and was thus used for the purpose of records. Latin did not disappear in medieval England; it was used by the Church, the royal government and much local administration, as it had been, in parallel with Anglo-Saxon, before 1066. The early adoption of Anglo-Norman as a written and literary language probably owes something to this history of bilingualism in writing.

Around the same time as a shift took place in France towards using French as a language of record in the mid-13th century, Anglo-Norman also became a main language of record in England. From around this point onwards, considerable variation begins to be apparent in Anglo-Norman, which ranges from the very local (and most Anglicized) to a level of language which approximates to and is sometimes indistinguishable from Parisian French. So, typically, local records will be most different from continental French, with diplomatic and international trade documents closest to the emerging continental norm. English remained the vernacular throughout this period, eventually spoken as a mother tongue by even the highest social classes.

The language of the king and his court

French was the language of the king and his court until the end of the 14th century. During this period, marriages with French princesses reinforced the French status in the royal family. Nevertheless, during the 13th century, intermarriages with English people became more frequent. Some children of the nobility spoke English as a mother tongue and had to be taught French in school. French became progressively a second language among the upper classes. Moreover, with the Hundred Year's War and the growing spirit of English nationalism, the status of French diminished. Anglo-Norman was the mother tongue of the English king until Henry IV
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

 (1399–1413). He was the first to take oath in English. His son, Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

 (1413–1422), was the first to write in English. We can say that at the end of the 15th century, French became the second language of a cultivated elite.

The language of the royal charters and legislation

From the conquest (1066) until the end of the 13th century, Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 was the language of all official written documents, and French was almost exclusively used as a spoken language. Nevertheless, some important documents had their official French translation, such as the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 signed in 1215. The first official document written in Anglo-Norman was a statute promulgated by the king in 1275. So from the 13th century, Anglo-Norman became used in official documents, such as those that were marked by the private seal
Lord Privy Seal
The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

 of the king, whereas the documents sealed by the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 were written in Latin until the end of the Middle Ages. English became the language of Parliament and of legislation half a century after it had become the language of the king and of most of the English upper classes.

The language of administration and justice

During the 12th century, the development of the administrative and judicial institutions took place. Because, at the time, French was the language of the king and law, it also became the language of these institutions.

In the royal and local courts

From the 12th century until the 15th century, the courts made use of three languages. Latin was used for everything that was written, French was the main oral language during the trial, and English was used during less formal exchanges between the judge, the lawyer, the complainant or the witnesses. The judge gave his sentence orally in French, which was then written in Latin. Only in the lowest level of the manorial courts were there trials that were entirely given in English.

During the 15th century, French diminished and English became the main spoken language. But Latin and French continued to be the exclusive languages used in the writing of official documents until the beginning of the 18th century. Nevertheless, the French language used in England changed from the end of the 15th century into law French
Law French
Law French is an archaic language originally based on Old Norman and Anglo-Norman, but increasingly influenced by Parisian French and, later, English. It was used in the law courts of England, beginning with the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror...

. This variety of French was a technical language, with a specific vocabulary, where English words were used to describe everyday experience. It was characterized by the progressive decline of the French grammatical rules and morphology. The confusion of the masculine for the feminine, for instance, or the adding of s to form all plurals. Law French was banished in the courts of the common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 in 1731, almost three centuries after French ceased to be the language of the king.

The language of the people

The great mass of ordinary people spoke English. But French, because of its prestigious status, spread as a second language, encouraged by its long-standing use in the school system as a medium of instruction through which Latin was taught. In the courts, the members of the jury, who represented the population, had to know French in order to understand the plea of the lawyer. French was used by the merchant middle class as a language of business communication, especially when it traded with the continent, and several churches used French to communicate with the non-religious people.


As a langue d'oïl, Anglo-Norman had developed collaterally to the central Gallo-Romance dialects which would eventually become Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

ian French, in terms of grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, pronunciation
Pronunciation refers to the way a word or a language is spoken, or the manner in which someone utters a word. If one is said to have "correct pronunciation", then it refers to both within a particular dialect....

, and vocabulary
A person's vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge...

 - it being also important to remember that before the signature of the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts
Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts
The Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts is an extensive piece of reform legislation signed into law by Francis I of France on August 10, 1539 in the city of Villers-Cotterêts....

 in 1539, and indeed for long after, in practice, French had not been standardised as an official administrative language of the kingdom of France.

Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

 was heavily influenced by both Anglo-Norman and, later, Anglo-French. W. Rothwell has called Anglo-Norman 'the missing link
Missing Link
Missing link is a nonscientific term for any transitional fossil, especially one connected with human evolution; see Transitional fossil - Missing links and List of transitonal fossils - Human evolution.Missing Link may refer to:...

' because many etymological dictionaries
A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically, with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon...

 seem to ignore the contribution of that language in English and because Anglo-Norman can explain the transmission of words from French into English, and fill the void left by the absence of documentary records of English (in the main) between 1066 and c. 1380.

Anglo-Norman morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and pronunciation can be deduced from its heritage in English. Mostly this is done in comparison with continental French. English has many doublet
Doublet (linguistics)
In etymology, two or more words in the same language are called doublets or etymological twins when they have different phonological forms but the same etymological root. Often, but not always, the variants have entered the language through different routes...

s as a result of this contrast:
  • warranty - guarantee
  • warden - guardian
  • glamour - grammar (see below)
  • catch - chase (see below)

Compare also:
  • wage (Anglo-Norman) - gage (French)
  • wait - guetter (French, Old French guaitier)
  • war (from Anglo-Norman werre) - guerre (French)
  • wicket (Anglo-Norman) - guichet (French, from Norman)

The palatalization
In linguistics, palatalization , also palatization, may refer to two different processes by which a sound, usually a consonant, comes to be produced with the tongue in a position in the mouth near the palate....

 of velar consonant
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

s before the front vowel produced different results in Norman to the central langue d'oïl dialects which developed into French. English therefore, for example, has fashion from Norman féchoun as opposed to Modern French façon (both developing from Latin factio, factiōnem).

The palatalization of velar consonants before /a/ that affected the development of French did not occur in Norman dialects north of the Joret line
Joret line
The Joret line is an isogloss used in the linguistics of the langues d'oïl. Dialects north of the line have preserved Vulgar Latin and before ; dialects south of the line have palatalized and before . This palatalization gave Old French and , then modern French and...

. English has therefore inherited words that retain a velar plosive where French has a fricative:
English< Norman= French
cabbage < caboche = chou
candle < caundèle = chandelle
castle < caste(l) = château
cauldron < caudron = chaudron
causeway < cauchie = chaussée
catch < cachi = chasser
cater < acater = acheter
wicket < viquet = guichet
plank < planque = planche
pocket < pouquette = poche
fork < fouorque = fourche
garden < gardin = jardin
cattle < *cate(l) = cheptel (Old French chetel)

Other words such as captain, kennel and canvas exemplify how Norman retained a /k/ sound from Latin that was not retained in French.

However, Anglo-Norman also acted as a conduit for French words to enter England: for example, challenge clearly displays a form of French origin, rather than the Norman calenge.

There were also vowel differences: compare Anglo-Norman profound with Parisian French profond, soun 'sound' - son, round - rond. The former words were originally pronounced something like 'profoond', 'soond', 'roond' respectively (compare the similarly denasalised
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

 vowels of modern Norman), but later developed their modern pronunciation in English.

Since many words established in Anglo-Norman from French via the intermediary of Norman were not subject to the processes of sound change that continued in parts of the continent, English sometimes preserves earlier pronunciations. For example, 'ch' used to be /tʃ/ in Medieval French; Modern French has /ʃ/ but English has preserved the older sound (in words like chamber, chain, chase and exchequer).

Similarly, 'j' had an older /dʒ/ sound which it still has in English and some dialects of modern Norman, but which has developed into /ʒ/ in Modern French.

The word veil
A veil is an article of clothing, worn almost exclusively by women, that is intended to cover some part of the head or face.One view is that as a religious item, it is intended to show honor to an object or space...

retains the /ei/ (as does modern Norman in vaile and laîsi) that in French has been replaced by /wɑː/ voile, loisir.

The word mushroom
A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi that...

preserves a hush sibilant
Sibilant consonant
A sibilant is a manner of articulation of fricative and affricate consonants, made by directing a stream of air with the tongue towards the sharp edge of the teeth, which are held close together. Examples of sibilants are the consonants at the beginning of the English words sip, zip, ship, chip,...

 in mousseron not recorded in French orthography, as does cushion for coussin. Conversely, the pronunciation of the word sugar resembles Norman chucre even if the spelling is closer to French sucre. It is possible that the original sound was an apical
Apical consonant
An apical consonant is a phone produced by obstructing the air passage with the apex of the tongue . This contrasts with laminal consonants, which are produced by creating an obstruction with the blade of the tongue .This is not a very common distinction, and typically applied only to fricatives...

 sibilant, like the Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

 s, which is halfway between a sibilant and a shibilant.

Note the doublets catch
In baseball, a catch occurs when a fielder gains secure possession of a batted ball in flight, and maintains possession until he voluntarily or negligently releases the ball...

and chase, both deriving from Latin captiare. Catch demonstrates the Norman development of the velars, while chase is the French equivalent imported with a different meaning.

Distinctions in meaning between Anglo-Norman and French have led to many faux amis (words having similar form but different meanings) in Modern English and Modern French.

An interesting question arises when one considers English vocabulary of Germanic, and specifically Scandinavian, origin. Since, although a Romance language, Norman contains a significant amount of lexical material from Norse, some of the words introduced into England as part of Anglo-Norman were of Germanic origin. Indeed, sometimes one can identify cognates such as flock (Germanic in English existing prior to the Conquest) and flloquet (Germanic in Norman). The case of the word mug demonstrates that in instances, Anglo-Norman may have reinforced certain Scandinavian elements already present in English. Mug had been introduced into northern English dialects by Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 settlement. The same word had been established in Normandy by the Normans (Norsemen) and was then brought over after the Conquest and established firstly in southern English dialects. It is therefore argued that the word mug in English shows some of the complicated Germanic heritage of Anglo-Norman.

Many expressions used in English today have their origin in Anglo-Norman (e.g. the expression before-hand derives from Anglo-Norman avaunt-main), as do many modern words with interesting etymologies. Mortgage
Mortgage loan
A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan...

, for example, literally meant death-wage in Anglo-Norman. Curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

(fr. couvre-feu) meant cover-fire, referring to the time in the evening when all fires had to be covered. The word glamour is derived, unglamorously, from Anglo-Norman grammeire, the same word which gives us modern grammar; glamour meant first book learning, and then the most glamorous form of book learning, magic or magic spell in Medieval times.

The influence of Anglo-Norman was very asymmetric, in that very little influence from English was carried over into the continental possessions of the Anglo-Norman kings. Some administrative terms survived in some parts of mainland Normandy: forlenc (from furrow, compare furlong
A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and U.S. customary units equal to one-eighth of a mile, equivalent to 220 yards, 660 feet, 40 rods, or 10 chains. The exact value of the furlong varies slightly among English-speaking countries....

) in the Cotentin Peninsula
Cotentin Peninsula
The Cotentin Peninsula, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula, is a peninsula in Normandy, forming part of the north-western coast of France. It juts out north-westwards into the English Channel, towards Great Britain...

, and a general use of the word acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

for land measurement
Land measurement
Land measurement is the general concept describing the application and theory of measurement of land. Land measurement is an integral quantitative element of Surveying....

 in Normandy until metrication
Metrication refers to the introduction and use of the SI metric system, the international standard for physical measurements. This has involved a long process of independent and systematic conversions of countries from various local systems of weights and measures. Metrication began in France in...

 in the 19th century. Otherwise the direct influence of English in mainland Norman (such as smogler - to smuggle) is because of direct contact in later centuries with English, rather than Anglo-Norman.


When the Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 invaded England, the Anglo-Saxon literature
Anglo-Saxon literature
Old English literature encompasses literature written in Old English in Anglo-Saxon England, in the period from the 7th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. These works include genres such as epic poetry, hagiography, sermons, Bible translations, legal works, chronicles, riddles, and others...

 had reached a very high level of development. The important Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monasteries wrote Chronicles in Old English and guarded other works written in this language. But with the arrival of the Normans, the Anglo-Saxon literature came to an end and the literature written in Britain was in Latin or in Anglo-Norman. The Plantagenet kings encouraged this Anglo-Norman literature
Anglo-Norman literature
Anglo-Norman literature is literature composed in the Anglo-Norman language developed during the period 1066–1204 when the Duchy of Normandy and England were united in the Anglo-Norman realm.-Introduction:...

. Nevertheless, during the beginning of the 14th century, some authors chose to write in English, but it is only during the late 14th century that the English literature was at its best with Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer , known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey...

. The authors of that period were influenced by the works of their contemporary French writers, whose language was culturally and literally prestigious. Chaucer is considered to be the father of the English language and the creator of English as a literary language.

The influence French had on English

Due to the Norman influence, English passed from Old to Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

. The French influence affected the English vocabulary, grammar, spelling and pronunciation. As a result, the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

grammar became less flexible, and the verbal system less complex. The major French influence on English can still be seen in today's vocabulary. An enormous number of French words came into the language, and about three-quarter of them are still used today. Very often, the French word supplanted the Anglo-Saxon term. Or both words would co-exist, but with slightly different nuances, for example ox (describing the animal) and beef (describing the meat). In other cases, the French word was adopted to signify a new reality, such as judge, government, nation. In general, the French borrowings concerned the fields of culture, aristocratic life, politics and religion, whereas the English words were used to describe everyday experience. When the Normans arrived in England, their copyists wrote English as they heard it, not realizing that there was no correspondence between the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation and spelling, and in this way the spelling changed. There appeared different regional Modern-English written dialects, of which the one that the king chose in the 15th century became the standard variety.

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