The Daily Post: Admire-French to English

Admire

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Courtesy, YouTube, French Lessons for Children

To admire. Easily done in the context of a celebrity-crazed culture. Admire an actor, an artist, a politician, an activist, a leader, a family member, foreign or domestic, straight, gay, bi, trans–we all have those we admire in our lives.

When I saw the Daily Post for the day, all I could think of was not whom or what I admire: rather, I saw French. The word admire is from Middle French, admirer, which has not lost its original meaning: to marvel at.

When I began taking French lessons at the Alliance Francaise, my instructor told us very early in our classes that English is 40% French. I never really thought about English having so much French influence, especially since our language certainly does not sound French.

The French language entered the English lexicon in 1066. Every English historian knows the date. William, Duke of Normandy crossed the English Channel–or La Manche (the sleeve, in French)–and killed the last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. It was all about politics and land grabs. William, who also went by the moniker of William the Bastard added another title to his name, William the Conqueror.

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The Death of King Harold from the Bayeux Tapestry, http://www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk

Norman French became the official language of the British Monarchy for 200+ years. So many of our french words are almost unrecognizable to our ears when we speak English. If you have ever heard a Texan or a Michigander say “admire,” you know that. Yet, French lives on in our writing, especially in our weird rule-breaking spelling.

In this case, I admire the evolution of our language from Norman French to modern English.

 

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