Re: Is English a creole? (was: Indo-European Studies)

Glynis Baguley (
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 16:53:15 GMT

In article <407i7a$> Alwyn Thomas <> writes:
> (Glynis Baguley) wrote:
> >. Were all the lowly Normans promptly ennobled, and the English
> >aristocrats forced to perform menial tasks for the conquerors? It's
> >very difficult to imagine that there was this neat divide between posh
> >ruling Normans and vulgar down-trodden English.
> I don't quite see why you have so much difficulty with this idea. The
> Norman duke comes from France with his retinue, which contains
> aristocrats as well as humbler folk like cooks and grooms and other
> servants. Because of their association with the ruling class, even the
> most menial of these feel superior to the indigenous English and do not
> deign to learn their language - just as white people are used to behaving
> towards Aboriginals in Australia.

Hardly a valid analogy, I think. William claimed to be the legitimate
successor of Edward the Confessor. The Normans and English must have
been culturally quite close. William wanted to rule England, not
colonise it. The obvious thing to do would be to form marriage

I can believe that a Norman groom felt he was superior to an English
groom, but not that he felt superior to an English aristocrat, or that
he was so snooty he refused to have anything to do with English people
of his own class and wouldn't contemplate marrying one.

> As far as I understand it the English athelings were replaced wholesale
> by Norman noblemen. If you wanted to get on in society you had to learn
> French and imitate your the ruling class.

But replaced in what sense? In positions of influence, perhaps, but
where did the English nobles go? They must have hung around, muttering
in one language or the other.

I think this is getting a bit off topic though!

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