The modern French language evolved from a Latin dialect spoken in Gaul during the period of the late Roman Empire. That language ultimately became mixed with Old English after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Approximately half of the words in conversational English come from French. So in this episode, we explore the ultimate origins of the early Romance dialect known as ‘Old French.’ We also examine the impact which the early French language had on English. And along the way, we look at the evolution of the Frankish kingdom from Clovis to Charlemagne.
Rome is racked by ‘Imperial Crisis’ while strong Germanic tribes gather along the Rhine and Danube. The Alamanni, Franks, Vandals and Goths rise to power and provide us with many words in modern English. The Goths translate the Bible into their Germanic language. We then compare the Gothic language to Old English.
We explore the origin of modern English words related to time. A direct connection is made to the calendar reforms of Julius Caesar. The etymology of English words related to time illustrate the combined influences of the Germanic languages and Latin on modern English.
We look at the arrival of Celtic speaking people in Europe, and the invasion of Celtic Gaul by the Romans. Celtic is replaced by Latin in Western Europe, leading to the modern Romance languages. Celtic words in modern English are examined.
We look at the rise of the Roman Republic from a small Italian city-state to the dominant political and military power of the Mediterranean. The expansion of Rome also led to the expansion of Latin which emerged as a common lingua franca. We also explore Latin words and phrases from this period which have found their way into Modern English.