The Influence of the Norman Conquest: Incorporating French Into English Culture and Language

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The Influence of the Norman Conquest

Incorporating French into English Culture and Language

Normandy and England circa. 1066

Normandy is a coastal district in France that lies almost directly across from England. Its name was derived from the groups of Northmen who settled in the district only a century or two before the Norman Conquest. Although the Norman population would be largely Scandinavian in origin during the ninth and tenth centuries, it would shift in the century spanning 966 to 1066 to a largely French population (Baugh, 1959, p. 128).

In the year 1066, England was challenged by the fact that it had lost its king, Edward the Confessor. England found itself in a seriously divided state after Edward's death, a
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54). King Edward was the manifestation of an alliance between England and Normandy that was made through the marriage of England's King Ethelred and the Duke of Normandy's daughter Emma. Edward was their only child and heir to the throne at his father's passing in 1042 (Emerson, 1894, p. 54).

Just a year before the Norman Conquest, King Edward was dealing with the significant threat of civil unrest and a political coup and his death at the turn of 1066 worked to further set the stage for the Norman Conquest (Kapelle, 1979, p. 100). Unfortunately, the uncertainty of Edward's true intentions concerning who should succeed him to the throne of England contributed to the Norman Conquest by forcing William of Normandy to take the English throne by force. Earl Harold had quickly established who would take the throne by taking it himself (p. 101). William, who would eventually be called William the Conqueror, would have to take the throne from the largely self-appointed King Harold.

The Norman Conquest

A comprehensive examination of the Norman Conquest is beyond the scope of the present research however it is essential to look at some of its key events in relation to stimulating cultural change in England. It is no surprise that the Norman Conquest is given major significance in the history of England and English society. An examination of the literature reveals more than two centuries of Norman rule that was consistently challenged by the civil unrest that…