Someone told me, British parliament spoke french in the past. However, they still need to learn french, or able to speak french...

Is it true, and why?
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Someone told me, British parliament spoke french in the past. However, they still need to learn french, or able to speak french... Is it true, and why?

It was true. Parliament spoke French when the whole of the ruling class spoke French, or at least something they called French. It would have been pretty unrecognisable to a contemporary French person; modern historians call it Anglo-Norman. King Henry V caused something of a stir by delivering a speech to Parliament in English - that would have been about 1420. Shortly after that Parlaiment went over completely to English. It has long been "out of order" to speak in any language other than English, much to the disgruntlement of the Welsh. There is no actual requirement that MPs should be able to speak any language, though, and I don't think there ever has been.

Don Aitken
Mail to the addresses given in the headers is no longer being read. To mail me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com".
Someone told me, British parliament spoke french in the past. However,they still need to learn french, or able to speak french...

Modern parliaments are a development from Saxon
political institutions (Witanagemot?) England was conquered in 1066 by the French-speaking Normans
(descendants of Viking settlers in Normandy) so the languages of government became French and Latin.
Only after several centuries did a new language
emerge which we call Early English (as distinct from Anglo-Saxon) which became by the 15th century the
normal language of officialdom in England.
Vestiges of Norman French survive in law and
government, e.g. the last formal act of making a new law is its signature by the monarch with the words Le Roy le veult, The king wishes it. Except for these few rubrics, no one nowadays needs to speak French in Britain.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
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Modern parliaments are a development from Saxon political institutions (Witanagemot?) England was conquered in 1066 by the French-speaking Normans (descendants ... call Early English (as distinct from Anglo-Saxon) which became by the 15th century the normal language of officialdom in England.

"Early Modern English", shirley. Anglo-Saxon is, nowadays, usually called "Old English".

Steny '08!
Modern parliaments are a development from Saxon political institutions (Witanagemot?) ... the 15th century the normal language of officialdom in England.

"Early Modern English", shirley. Anglo-Saxon is, nowadays, usually called "Old English".

This use of "Old English" was once controversial. The editors of *The Century Dictionary,* an American dictionary of 1895, were opposed to the term being used in that way:
"(T)he older stages of the language have at different periods received some special designation, as Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, English-Saxon, or Saxon-English for the language before the Norman conquest, and Old English or Early English for the period between the Norman conquest and the modern period. Recently some British scholars have insisted on using English to cover the whole range of the language, applying Old English, or, as some term it, Oldest English, to the Anglo-Saxon period. But, apart from the question as to the practical differences of the Anglo-Saxon and the language later called English, this tends to confusion, the term Old English having long had a distinct and well-understood application to the mixed language developed after the Norman conquest."

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Vestiges of Norman French survive in law and government, e.g. the last formal act of making a new law is its signature by the monarch with the words Le Roy le veult, The king wishes it.

Come, even today?
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Modern parliaments are a development from Saxon political institutions (Witanagemot?) England was conquered in 1066 by the French-speaking Normans (descendants ... call Early English (as distinct from Anglo-Saxon) which became by the 15th century the normal language of officialdom in England.

I think Latin remained the language of written record for another century or so, didn't it?
(I could be wrong on that, but whilst I've worked with accounting records in English from the 1620s, I don't think I've seen any non- Latin Elizabethan equivalents.)

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 22 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van)
Vestiges of Norman French survive in law and government, e.g. ... the words Le Roy le veult, The king wishes it.

Come, even today?

oui!
Come, even today?

oui!

but England doesn't have a king
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