By David Crystal
Last updated 2011-02-17
French is rapidly established as the language of power and officialdom. William appoints French-speaking supporters to all the key positions of power, and this elite of barons, abbots and bishops retains close ties with its native Normandy.
But English is far too entrenched and continues to be used by the majority of people. With Latin the language of the church and of education, England becomes a truly trilingual country.
Clever new constructions enter the language, such as the auxiliary verbs 'had' and 'shall' (had made, shall go).
Spelling and pronunciation begin to shift too, as Norman scribes spell words using their own conventions, such as qu- instead of cw-. Slowly but surely, distinctive Old English characters begin to die out.