Episode 69: From Conquest to Domesday

In the two decades that followed the Norman Conquest, most of the land in England passed into the hands of French-speaking nobles. This process not only brought the feudal system to England, it also brought the French language to the peasants out in the countryside. In this episode, we explore these developments, and we look at some of the first words to pass from Norman French into English.  We also examine an early Middle English passage from Robert of Gloucester.


4 thoughts on “Episode 69: From Conquest to Domesday

  1. At 32:00, it is stated that “Brittany is the only place outside of the British Isles where a Celtic language is still spoken.” This is untrue. As the Scottish highlands and islands were being depopulated over the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Gaelic-speaking individuals, families, and sometimes entire towns came to northern Nova Scotia, where they often recreated their communities from scratch. There were Gaelic-language newspapers and a flourishing Gaelic-language song culture, among other things. At the middle of the 20th century it was easy to find entire towns in Cape Breton where most people spoke Gaelic as a home language. By the 1980s there were few such towns left but there were plenty of Gaelic speakers around. Today there are few, somewhere between the hundreds and the low thousands depending how you measure things, many of whom struggle mightily to encourage the learning of the language. They may be a tiny group but they exist – no need to disappear them in this way.

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