Scandinavian and French element in English language

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      The Scandinavian loan-words in English are of a purely democratic character. They are homely expressions for things and actions of everyday importance. They are mostly non-technical terms. These words show that the English had no new ideas but only new names which are characterised by commonplaces. This reveals no mental or industrial superiority of the Scandinavians. But this is historically important. If the English loan-words extend to spheres where other languages do not borrow, the reason must be a more intimate fusion of the two nations than is seen anywhere else. The manner in which English intermingled their own native speech with Scandinavian settlers cannot be of a superior order, because in that case, technical terms indicative of this superiority could be seen in the loan-words. Their state of culture was not inferior to that of the English, for in that case, they would have adopted the language of the natives without appreciably influencing it.

The French immigrants formed the upper classes of the English society - so many of the words were aristocratic.
Scandinavian & French

      So the words borrowed from Scandinavia do not represent any new set of ideas. We find such nouns as husband, fellow, sky and skull, etc; adjectives adopted from Scandinavia are meek, low, scant etc. Happy' and 'seem!' are also derived from Danish roots, the same impression of commonplaceness is confirmed by the verbs: thrive, die, cast, etc. There are instances where the Scandinavians did not bring the word itself, but modified either the form or signification of a native word: as get, give, lose; etc. There was essential similarity between the two languages. Nouns like man, wife, father, folk etc. And verbs like will, can, meet, come and adjectives and adverbs like full, wise, well, better are identical in the two languages.

      The French influence on English language was more radical. The French immigrants formed the upper classes of the English society - so many of the words were aristocratic. Excepting king and queen, nearly all words relating to Government and to the highest administration are French, such as Crown, State, Government, Sovereign, Parliament, Exchequer, etc. Feudalism was imported from France and with it were introduced a number of words - fief, feudal, vassal, prince, peer, marquis, viscount, etc. Words relating to law and words known to jurists only were taken over from France: judge, plaintiffs, assize, session, heir, proof, demonstrative, malice, prepense, etc. It is noteworthy that the Danish law-terms with the exception of law, by-law, thrall and crave have disappeared from the language as a simple consequence of the Norman conquerors taking into their own hands the courts of justice and legal affairs generally, French element entered into the texture of the language.

      Words relating to the church such as, clergy, abbey, virgin were imported from France. As the clergy were teachers of morality as well as of religion, they introduced the whole gamut of words pertaining to moral ideas from virtue to vice-words like conscience, grace, cruel, etc. The words which are highly significant as to the relation between the Normans and the English such as Sir and Madam, master and mistress with their contrast servant were from France. One very interesting feature was that while the names of several animals were English, they appeared on the table with the French names - beef, mutton, venison, etc.

      This is generally explained from the masters leaving the care of the living animals to the lower classes, while they did not leave much of the meat to be eaten by them. Large number of French words signifying something pleasant and relating to dress and fashion came to English language - chase, hunt, quarry, sport, cards, dice.; joy, pleasure, fruits and flowers, etc; dress, costume, apparel, etc. The French were the teachers of the English in art and architecture. So many words relating art are taken from France. Homely and elementary occupations have stuck to the native names while those which brought the practitioners into more immediate contact of the upper classes have French names - such as tailor, butcher, painter, etc.

      Thus the French loan-words are aristocratic in character which is in sharp contrast to the character of Scandinavian loan-words which are mainly democratic. This abundant linguistic evidence shows that the French were the rich, the powerful, and the refined classes. In the twelfth century, it was thought fashionable to use French words. As a result, many non-technical terms such air, beast, change, cheer, cover and a great many other everyday words of very extensive employment have been taken over from France. This is, however, no mere snobbishness. The greater a writer's familiarity with French culture and literature, the greater would be his temptation to introduce French words for everything above the commonplaces of daily life.

      Thus the Normans had a superior culture and their language influenced the English language greatly. But the Scandinavians were not mentally and industrially superior and so technical terms are not found among the Scandinavian loan-words. The manner in which English intermingled their own native speech with Scandinavian elements shows that the culture of the Scandinavian settlers cannot be of a superior order. Their state of culture was not inferior to that of the English, for in that case, they would have adopted the language of the natives without appreciably influencing it.

      The French had continued contact with the English, In some cases, there is a curious reshaping' of an early French loan-word - viage (old French), voyage. Danger was at first adopted in the old French sense of 'dominion, power' but the present meaning was developed in France before it came to England. This continued contact is a contrast between the French and the Scandinavian influence, which seems to have been broken off somewhat abruptly after the Norman conquest.

French influence in the modern Period :
      French loan-words continued to be adopted after the middle English period. The French words borrowed in the 16th century were restricted to the educated class The 16th century French borrowings consisted of terms relating to war. The post middle ages French loan-words entered into the English language with their modern French pronunciation as for example, Connoisseur, Amateur, Moustache, Promenade. After the Restoration of Charles II to the throne of England in 1660, French influence became abundant on the language, literature and culture of England. Such French words as - dragoon, parole, ballet, burlesque, coquette, liaison, rapport, forte, soup etc.

      The 18th century was rich in French loan-words including military terms. Many French words called forth by the French Revolution came to English language: guillotine, regime, espionage, burenu, picnic, ennui, coup. The 19th century French words relate to literature and art-resume, litterateur, Renaissance, motif, restaurant, men attache, rapprochement, barrage, chasis etc. Among the 20th century borrowings we may mention garage, vers libre, limousine, camouflage.

University question also can be answered..
(1) Discuss the difference between Scandinavian element and French element in English language.
(2) Influence of Scandinavian element in English language
(3) Influence of French elements in English language.
(4) French influence in the modern period English language.

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