The Norman Conquest and Middle English (1100-1500)

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William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered England and the Anglo-Saxons in 1066 AD.¨é The new overlords spoke a dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman. The Normans were also of Germanic stock¨ê and Anglo-Norman was a French dialect that had considerable Germanic influences in addition to the basic Latin roots. Prior to the Norman Conquest, Latin had been only a minor influence on the English language, mainly through vestiges of the Roman …

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…Middle English is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Unlike Old English, Middle English can be read, albeit with difficulty, by modern English-speaking people. By 1362, the linguistic division between the nobility and the commoners was largely over. In that year, the Statute of Pleading was adopted, which made English the language of the courts and it began to be used in Parliament. The Middle English period came to a close around 1500 AD with the rise of Modern English.