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Re: -es vs -en in English

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Saturday, December 4, 1999, 21:30
abrigon wrote:
> > I used to think the way you do Ray, until I read how in the final days > of French
???? the final days of French? in the Law Courts and Court how much was added on not from
> common usage, but for nostalgia... Remember those who normally wrote > attended schools, schools used dictionaries and common basic outlines of > education, some what based on the old Greco-Roman System,
In the twelfth century in Anglo-Norman England? so it is not
> unlikely that the upper classes were the ones who could write and they > had the influnces from French, and they forced it on the rest cause they > could..
Forced? If you want to read a lot of subtle stuff on the influence of Norman French on English and VICE VERSA, I suggest you get a book called _From Old English to Standard English_ by Dennis Freeborn. You can check it out of the library, but it gives in-depth analysis of Norman French influence, with (and this is why I like it) lots of textual examples. Yes! To be sure, the dominant or privileged language will lead in language change. But that's not because Anglo-Norman grammarians are writing prescriptions and forcing the people to speak and write in ways that are contrary to their tradition. It just didn't happen like that. It happened because of cultural contact and what was expedient. How do you communicate with your Saxon servants if you only speak French? How do they communicate with you? What happens when the Saxon wife you married starts teaching your children English? How do you get privileges and advances at court? You learn the lingo. There was a lot of resistance to Norman French. Read Robert of Gloucester, excerpted in Freeborn, and many others. But it was like a tidal wave of tradition and usage. And remember: despite the fact that William conquered England and brought his language to the throne, ENGLISH STILL PREVAILED! Norman French became Anglo-Norman, and eventually middle English. The Norse didn't impose their language on Northern England. They adapted, and started speaking English. It's an amazing thing! Conquer and assimilate. That's the staying power of English... probably because it was plastic enough to admit changes and still retain its basic shape. Sally I think you'd do well to "think like" Ray... he's been around and studying languages for a long long time. <GGG> ============================================================ SALLY CAVES (bragpage) (T. homepage) (all else) ===================================================================== Niffodyr tweluenrem lis teuim an. "The gods have retractible claws." from _The Gospel of Bastet_ ============================================================