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Re: MR: Wlonk

Poster: Stephanie Malone Thorson <smt2@st-andrews.ac.uk>

Somebody, I think it was Alfredo, said

> (BTW, If Old English is called Ango-Saxon, shouldn't Middle English be
> called Anglo-Norman?)

No, because the term Anglo-Norman is used to refer to the dialect of Old
French which was spoken in England from the time of the Norman Conquest up
through the 15th century.  Middle English as a language is the result of
the confluence of Old French (Anglo-Norman) and Old English (Anglo-Saxon)
dialects, with scraps of Old Norse and Latin thrown in.  Celtic influence
on Modern and Middle English is mainly limited to place names.  Note that
French was more widely spoken in court circles (the nobles being mostly
Normans) and that the influence of French was greater in southern England
(where, for the most part, the court was) than in the north and west, 
which remained more linguistically conservative (ie, more "Anglo-Saxon") 
for a longer period.  A good example of this conservatism is the 
preservation of the letters used in Anglo-Saxon that have dropped out of the 
Modern English alphabet:  ash, eth, thorn and yogh (none of which are 
easily representable in ASCII).  Ash and eth seem to have disappeared 
fairly quickly after the Norman Conquest, although thorn and yogh are 
used in even southern writings in English well into the 13th c.  Chaucer, 
writing in the mid-14th c. in London, used neither thorn nor yogh, but 
his contemporary, the anonymous author of the poems in the _Pearl_ ms 
(British Library Cotton Nero A.X art. 3) who wrote in a northwestern 
Midlands dialect, uses both with consistency and vigour.  I can't think 
of any (or many) examples of the use of these letters anywhere in England 
after the end of the 15th century, but they continued in use in Border 
and Lowland Scotland (where English was the spoken language) until well 
into the 17th.  Somewhere along the way the Scots developed the curious 
practice of transcribing yogh as "z" (possibly a mistake in paleography, 
as yogh and early z's look much alike), and in fact the z-as-yogh 
survives in the Scottish name Menzies (pronounced Mingus).

Stephanie M. Thorson			*  SCA: Lady Alianora Munro
University of St Andrews		*  
St Andrews, Scotland			*  Clan White Wing
email smt2@st-andrews.ac.uk		*  Tarkhan, Khanate Red Lion

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