Listened to Lectures 9 and 10 from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

Lecture 9: In this fascinating lecture, Professor Lerer looks closely at the changes wrought by the French in English during the 11th to the 14th centuries. In the process, he raises questions about what we might call the "sociology" of language change and contact.
Lecture 10: This lecture presents the central features of Chaucer's English. Its goal is not only to address a particular period in the history of the language (or even in the history of literature) but to allow you to recognize and appreciate the force of Chaucer's poetry and its indelible impact on English linguistic and literary history.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Lecture 9: What did the Normans do to English?

Words borrowed for two reasons

  • prestige
  • vacant slots with no native words

English words for animals in the countryside, but the words for cooked meats are French

  • cow/beef
  • deer/venison
  • sheep/mutton

Trilingualism: English, French, Latin

Lecture 10 Chaucer’s English

This lecture presents the central features of Chaucer’s English. Its goal is not only to address a particular period in the history of the language (or even in the history of literature) but to allow you to recognize and appreciate the force of Chaucer’s poetry and its indelible impact on English linguistic and literary history.

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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