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Anglo-Norman, also known as Anglo-Norman French or Anglo-French, is a

variety of the language that was used in England and, to a lesser extent,
elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period.
WhenWilliam the Conquerorled theNorman invasion of Englandin 1066,
he, his nobles, and many of his followers fromNormandy, but also those
from northern and western France, spoke a range ofNorthern French
dialects. One of these was Norman. It is clear that Anglo-Norman was to a
large extent the spoken language of the higher social strata in medieval
England between the 12th and 15th century.

Although Anglo-Norman and Anglo-French were eventually eclipsed by
modernEnglish, they had been used widely enough to influence English
vocabulary permanently.
The major Norman-French influence on English can still be seen in today's
vocabulary. An enormous number of Norman-French words came into the
language, and about three-quarters of them are still used today. Very
often, the Norman-French word supplanted the Anglo-Saxon term. Or both
words would co-exist, but with slightly different nuances, for
exampleox(describing the animal) andbeef(describing the meat).
In general, the Norman-French borrowings concerned the fields of culture,
aristocratic life, politics and religion, and war, whereas the English words
were used to describe everyday experience.


It was spoken in the law courts, schools, and universities, and in
due course amongst at least some sections of the gentry and the
growing bourgeoisie.
Private and commercial correspondence was carried out in AngloNorman or Anglo-French from the 13th to the 15th century
Social classes other than the nobility became keen to learn
French: manuscripts containing materials for instructing non-native
speakers still exist, dating mostly from the late 14th century

As conquerors of England the Normans also wanted to make their mark on the
country and they effectively introduced a new language to the land. It seems that the
Normans had difficulty pronouncing certain place names, so they simply dispensed
with them and changed them into place names that they could pronounce with ease.
This is most clear in the changes to places such as Nottingham and Durham.
For years Nottingham had been Snotingaham the settlement of Snot. However,
with seemingly a dislike of pronouncing the letter s, it was simply dropped to give the
familiar name of today. Cambridgeendured a similar major change. Before the
Normans arrived the town was known as Grantebrige. Dunholm changed to Durelme
to Dureaume to Durham.
If the Normans liked a place, they frequently gave it a prefix of Beau and Bel. This
may simply have been in appreciation of a places scenic beauty. Beachy Head in East
Sussex would be an example of this fine headland. Beaulieu in Hampshire means
fair/fine place. Belvoir in Leicestershire mean fine view. It is ironic that a society that
had a reputation for producing fearsome warriors also had a eye for fine scenery.