Facts about the French language

Languages are always associated with the people who speak it natively.

Throughout the history, the French culture has generally been considered elite (or elitist). The British upper-class society was heavily influenced by the French. In fact, the British monarch’s motto is “Dieu et mon droit.” BUT: Why is the motto for the UK in French? What is the history or origin of this?

Even the current English vocabulary reflects this preference. English is a Germanic language, but heavily borrowed words from French, which belongs to the Romance family tree.

Why does the English language have so many French words in it?

In 1066, the Norman Conquest happened. It changed the English language and culture immensely and made most of what we know about them today.
The Norman Conquest brought about the francophilia that lasted for many centuries because the nobility was of French origins and it was the nobility that set the fashion and the trend of how to name novelties that inevitably followed. Moreover, it brought about the double language that distinguished between those of the ‘classy’ people and the ‘poor’ people: commence/start, mutton/sheep, encounter/meet, purchase/buy. The English call flower “flower” NOT because they did not have a word for it until the French came (they had blooms and blossoms, in fact), but because the French name was more “elite” and trendy at the time.

The words that have Latin/Romance roots are more pleasant than the Germanic counterparts. In fact, as you go higher up in the social ladder, the more French (or French-based) words you would encounter.

Art and cuisine are also very important in the French culture. Nowadays, clothing brands and perfumes from France are seen as high-class. French restaurants outside France are always targeted towards the more wealthy demographic.

It’s not just about the language, but also about the other aspects of the culture.

Of course French is not the only language to express such notions, but history and its affiliation with the romance family or Latin create a snowball effect.

German, Italian and Spanish is still very respected languages which have lots to provide to the world in terms of refinement and translation of written content from those languages also help us have a different perspective of the world.

Voilà!

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