The Rise of English as a National Language Essay

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The English language has been used for thousands of years, and today is the preferred language of many countries. But the language itself was not always held in such high regard. During the medieval era, the language went through a period of severe neglect, and in the fourteenth century, English was seen as the language of peasants. French and Latin were the languages used by the elite, the educated, and the clergy, whereas English was the barbarous language of plowmen. There are many historic people and points in history that contributed to the rise of the English language, but it was during the Elizabethan Age that any hesitancy about the merits of the English dialect diminished. What was once considered a barbarous tongue, the …show more content…
The University of Paris, which taught in French and Latin, came to be regarded as the embodiment of the ideals of scholarly excellence and educational achievement and further increased the prestige of France as a cultured nation. But the form of French spoken in thirteenth-century England was the dialect associated with Normandy, and by the fourteenth century, the form of French spoken in England had become the subject of ridicule in the cultured French society. Aware of this, those English gentry that could afford it arranged for their children to be educated in Paris, to avoid the indignity of being thought crude and unrefined by the sophisticated culture of the French. But even though the English language was thought to be used only by the poor and uneducated, there would be supporters that would arise within the heart of the English society.

The reign of Henry V (1413 - 22) is often seen as marking a turning point in securing new respectability for the English language. After vanquishing the French army at Agincourt, Henry V started a trend of using the English language in his letters, which in turn, influenced the many guilds of England to follow the example of the king and parliament by using English as a customary language to communicate with. But, it was under the reign of Elizabeth I that a sense of national solidarity began to emerge, and can be directly linked to a growing regard and use for the national language. Slowly…