The waltz of French and English

2024-02-11 @Languages

Talk of the fraternity between English and French. Not the fitting term? You could argue. Not diplomatically. Not till the twentieth, had a century passed devoid of armed conflict between France and Britain.

But the languages? Kindred spirits. Yin and Yang. Zoroastrianism. Norman French effectively confects what would become Middle English and subsequently the modern. Till then, no English; merely the Anglo-Saxon/Nordic dialect mixture.

And thus the two register, Latin/French-Germanic property of English. A privilege. Tens of thousands of words ascribed. Perhaps to mainly the upper language echelon. Less characteristic of the vernacular tongue. Though still aplenty.

Any other distinctly dual-register languages out there? Any of ye? Holler.

Much French in English. Much English in French. And all the wars between. More flabbergasting given the demographical origins. France: Celtic, Germanic, Roman and viking influences. Britain: Celtic, Germanic, Roman and viking. (And the native Britons who, per Spenser (and probably Monmouth), intermixed with the giants.)

And had the two nobilities not intermarried many a time over? But we see wars between even more intimately fraternal nations.

French played a superstrate influence across numerous colonized territories - sometimes persisting along with the native language, côté-à-côté, sometimes resulting in a fusion and ultimately the cajun dialect. Is modern English not a cajun dialect? But for the massive scale? You might label it that during the 13th century.

The British empire began to impose the superstrate role upon native populations to a similar extent. And geographically surpassed. But French is part of English. So, in a way, who has the last laugh? The Duke of Normandy!

Then the British colonies in the Americas revolted and gained that historically rare (or unprecedented?) independence. And then the States sparred with the British empire for a time. And France too rallied along the heaths of that battlefield. (I’m thinking of the 18th-century world-scale conflict during the French-Indian war, or whatever its English title.) That’s a lot of contention between fraternal spirits.

And the Spanish too conquered some of those lands. And the States eventually acquired all that French, Spanish, Mexican, Native American and even Russian territory. By diverse means. Of diverse moral.

And matters as they stand, English and Spanish have coexisted for decades. Or centuries, counting the previously Mexican territories of the west.

To what plausible extent might the two undergo a further symbiotic development, given enough time? (The Anglo-Saxon/Norman-French merger took centuries.)

But this concerns French, not Spanish.

Maybe I pick dots to fuel my Francophone moods? Seeking to glorify the language. As if the language was wanting of further glorification? As if it hadn’t reaped sufficient laurel these past eight hundred years? The literary tradition certainly has. Predating the English … Naturally.

Questions, comments? Connect.