French loanwords are found throughout the English language, and make our own language richer and more malleable as a result. You don't have to be a linguist or languages expert to notice and recognise that.
The reasons for this are many, and the most obvious reason why we have such a lot of French in our language is due to the close proximity of the United Kingdom and France. Less than twenty miles apart at their nearest point, there has always been a strong tradition of trade between the two countries, and a strong tradition of culture-swapping, population merging and warfare.
The royal families and aristocracies of both countries were strongly intertwined for centuries, and when William the Conqueror of Normandy became the first king of all England in 1066, the resident Anglo-Saxons and Celts became an occupied people, resulting in many of them having to speak an early version of what later became modern French.
As such, the two languages have always been connected – whilst French is a Latin and Romance language, many of the roots of the language are shared by those of English, meaning the two tongues have grown alongside each other and influenced each other greatly.
Influence On Society
We often don't realise just how many French loanwords we use everyday when speaking English. There are literally hundreds in common parlance, with many that most of us possibly never noticed were French in the first place. It is telling that so many of the words we associate with the set-up of our society are French.
This offers some clues to just how influential William of Normandy and his government were in organising England back in the 11th century. Attorney, chancellor, court, crime: all loanwords relating to our legal system, alongside parliament, judge, jury, verdict, evidence and jail.
Small expressions have often found their way from French into English, often simply due to the reason that they sound better and make more sense in French than they ever would or could do in our own language. Faux-pas, tête-à-tête, a la carte... all French words which we use freely, and merely the tip of a very large linguistic iceberg.
Even in our personal and everyday lives, we use French words to express ourselves and label things. France has always been associated with elegance, decadence and romance (also all French words), and as such, it comes as little surprise that we call the man or woman we intend to marry our fiancé.
What if you could speak French fluently and feel totally at ease when you visit Paris or have a chat with a French friend.
Seriously, wouldn't it be wonderful?