French Loan Words in the English Language

Borrowing during the Middle English Period

Seminar Paper, 2012

10 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Abstract or Introduction

The dates for the beginning and end of the Middle English period are rather controversial. But many linguists do agree that by 1100 certain changes to the English language were sufficiently well established to justify the use of the adjective middle to designate the language in what was actually a phase of transition from the English of the early Middle Ages – Old English – to that of the first printed books at the end of the 15th century. During this period many changes occurred that may be noted in nearly every aspect of the language: in its phonology, its semantics and in its lexicon, where many Old English words were replaced by borrowed items from the French language. But although the French influence did not cease with the end of the 15th century, due to its size of merely seven pages this term paper will concentrate on the Middle English period. Starting with a short introduction to the historical background of the French Influence on the English language, there will be examples of the borrowed vocabulary, explanations why they were borrowed and how they can be further distinguished into loan words from Norman and Central French. Moreover, there will be an analysis of how the process of borrowing led to the highly distinctive vocabulary of the English language regarding register and style. The structure of this term paper is chronological as it seemed to be the most appropriate regarding the historical nature of this paper’s topic.


French Loan Words in the English Language
Borrowing during the Middle English Period
Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel  (Englisches Seminar)
English Lexicology: Words and their Meaning
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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446 KB
french, loan, words, english, language, borrowing, middle, period
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2012, French Loan Words in the English Language, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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