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culture and seafaring, we find the proportions entirely reversed. The English language, in such cases, contributes almost everything; the French nearly nothing. In agriculture, while plough, rake, harrow, flail, and many others are English words, not a single term for an agricultural process or implement has been given us by the warlike Norman - French.-While the words ship and boat; hull and fleet; oar and sail, are all English, the Normans have presented us with only the single word prow. It is as if all the Norman conqueror had to do was to take his stand at the prow, gazing upon the land he was going to seize, while the Low-German sailors worked for him at oar and sail.-Again, while the names of the various parts of the body —eye, nose, cheek, tongue, hand, foot, and more than eighty others—are all English, we have received only about ten similar words from the French-such as spirit and corpse; perspiration; face and stature. Speaking broadly, we may say that all words that express general notions, or generalisations, are French or Latin; while words that express specific actions or concrete existences are pure English. Mr Spalding observes"We use a foreign term naturalised when we speak of 'colour' universally; but we fall back on our home stores if we have to tell what the colour is, calling it 'red' or 'yellow,' 'white' or 'black,' 'green' or 'brown.' We are Romans when we speak in a general way of 'moving'; but we are Teutons if we 'leap' or 'spring,' if we 'slip,'' slide,' or 'fall,' if we 'walk,' 'run,' 'swim,' or 'ride,' if we 'creep' or 'crawl' or 'fly.'
31. Gains to English from Norman-French.-The gains from the Norman-French contribution are large, and are also of very great importance. Mr Lowell says, that the Norman element came in as quickening leaven to the rather heavy and lumpy Saxon dough. It stirred the whole mass, gave new life to the language, a much higher and wider scope to the thoughts, much greater power and copiousness to the expression of our thoughts, and a finer and brighter rhythm to our English sentences. "To Chaucer," he says, in 'My Study Windows,' "French must have been almost as truly a mother tongue as English. In him we see the first result of the Norman yeast
upon the home-baked Saxon loaf. The flour had been honest, the paste well kneaded, but the inspiring leaven was wanting till the Norman brought it over. Chaucer works still in the solid material of his race, but with what airy lightness has he not infused it? Without ceasing to be English, he has escaped from being insular." Let us look at some of these gains a little more in detail.
32. Norman-French Synonyms.—We must not consider a synonym as a word that means exactly the same thing as the word of which it is a synonym; because then there would be neither room nor use for such a word in the language. A synonym is a word of the same meaning as another, but with a slightly different shade of meaning, or it is used under di erent circumstances and a different connection, or it puts the same idea under a new angle. Begin and commence, will and testament, are exact equivalents-are complete synonyms; but there are very few more of this kind in our language. The moment the genius of a language gets hold of two words of the same meaning, it sets them to do different kinds of work,-to express different parts or shades of that meaning. Thus limb and member, luck and fortune, have the same meaning; but we cannot speak of a limb of the Royal Society, or of the luck of the Rothschilds, who made their fortune by hard work and steady attention to business. We have, by the aid of the Norman-French contributions, flower as well as bloom; branch and bough; purchase and buy; amiable and friendly; cordial and hearty; country and land; gentle and mild; desire and wish; labour and work; miserable and wretched. These pairs of words enable poets and other writers to use the right word in the right place. And we, preferring our Saxon or good old English words to any French or Latin importations, prefer to speak of a hearty welcome instead of a cordial reception; of a loving wife instead of an amiable consort; of a wretched man instead of a miserable individual.
33. Bilingualism.-How did these Norman-French words find their way into the language? What was the road by which
they came? What was the process that enabled them to find a place in and to strike deep root into our English soil? Did the learned men—the monks and the clergy-make a selection of words, write them in their books, and teach them to the English people? Nothing of the sort. The process was a much ruder one-but at the same time one much more practical, more effectual, and more lasting in its results. The two peoples-the Normans and the English-found that they had to live together. They met at church, in the market-place, in the drilling field, at the archery butts, in the courtyards of castles; and, on the battle-fields of France, the Saxon bowman showed that he could fight as well, as bravely, and even to better purpose than his lord -the Norman baron. At all these places, under all these circumstances, the Norman and the Englishman were obliged to speak with each other. Now arose a striking phenomenon. Every man, as Professor Earle puts it, turned himself as it were into a walking phrase-book or dictionary. When a Norman had to use a French word, he tried to put the English word for it alongside of the French word; when an Englishman used an English word, he joined with it the French equivalent. Then the language soon began to swarm with "yokes of words "; our words went in couples; and the habit then begun has continued down even to the present day. And thus it is that we possess such couples as will and testament; act and deed; use and wont; aid and abet. Chaucer's poems are full of these pairs. He joins together hunting and venery (though both words mean exactly the same thing); nature and kind; cheere and face; pray and beseech; mirth and jollity. Later on, the Prayer-Book, which was written in the years 1540 to 1559, keeps up the habit: and we find the pairs acknowledge and confess; assemble and meet together; dissemble and cloak; humble and lowly. To the more English part of the congregation the simple Saxon words would come home with kindly association; to others, the words confess, assemble, dissemble, and humble would speak with greater force and clearness. -Such is the phenomenon called by Professor Earle bilingualism. "It is, in fact," he says, "a putting of colloquial for
mulæ to do the duty of a French-English and English-French vocabulary." Even Hooker, who wrote at the end of the sixteenth century, seems to have been obliged to use these pairs; and we find in his writings the couples "cecity and blindness," "nocive and hurtful," "sense and meaning."
34. Losses of English from the Incoming of Norman-French. (i) Before the coming of the Normans, the English language was in the habit of forming compounds with ease and effect. But, after the introduction of the Norman-French language, that power seems gradually to have disappeared; and ready-made French or Latin words usurped the place of the home-grown English compound. Thus despair pushed out wanhope; suspicion dethroned wantrust; bidding - sale was expelled by auction; learning-knight by disciple; rime-craft by the Greek word arithmetic; gold-hoard by treasure; book-hoard by library; earth-tilth by agriculture; wonstead by residence; and so with a large number of others.-Many English words, moreover, had their meanings depreciated and almost degraded; and the words themselves lost their ancient rank and dignity. Thus the Norman conquerors put their foot-literally and metaphorically—on the Saxon chair,1 which thus became a stool, or a footstool. Thatch, which is a doublet of the word deck, was the name for any kind of roof; but the coming of the Norman-French lowered it to indicate a roof of straw. Whine was used for the weeping or crying of human beings; but it is now restricted to the cry of a dog. Hide was the generic term for the skin of any animal; it is now limited in modern English to the skin of a beast.—The most damaging result upon our language was that it entirely stopped the growth of English words. We could, for example, make out of the word burn-the derivatives brunt, brand, brandy, brown, brimstone, and others; but this power died out with the coming in of the Norman - French language. After that, instead of growing our own words, we
1 Chair is the Norman-French form of the French chaise. The Germans still call a chair a stuhl; and among the English, stool was the universal name till the twelfth century.
adopted them ready-made.-Professor Craik compares the English and Latin languages to two banks; and says that, when the Normans came over, the account at the English bank was closed, and we drew only upon the Latin bank. But the case is worse than this. English lost its power of growth and expansion from the centre; from this time, it could only add to its bulk by borrowing and conveying from without-by the external accretion of foreign words.
35. Losses of English from the Incoming of Norman-French. (ii) The arrestment of growth in the purely English part of our language, owing to the irruption of Norman-French, and also to the ease with which we could take a ready-made word from Latin or from Greek, killed off an old power which we once possessed, and which was not without its own use and expressiveness. This was the power of making compound words. The Greeks in ancient times had, and the Germans in modern times have, this power in a high degree. Thus a Greek comic poet has a word of fourteen syllables, which may be thus translated—
And the Germans have a compound like "the-all-to-nothingcrushing philosopher." The Germans also say iron-path for railway, handshoe for glove, and finger-hat for thimble. We also possessed this power at one time, and employed it both in proper and in common names. Thus we had and have the names Brakespear, Shakestaff, Shakespear, Golightly, Dolittle, Standfast; and the common nouns want-wit, find-fault, mumblenews (for tale-bearer), pinch-penny (for miser), slugabed. In older times we had three-foot-stool, three-man-beetle 2; stonecold, heaven-bright, honey-sweet, snail-slow, nut-brown, lily-livered (for cowardly); brand-fire-new; earth-wandering, wind-dried, thunder-blasted, death-doomed, and many others. But such words as forbears or fore-elders have been pushed out by ances
1 In two words, a fig-shower or sycophant.
2 A club for beating clothes, that could be handled only by three men.