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The Routes of English - BBC Radio 4
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In 1066, William the Conqueror seized the English Crown from King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. For the next 300 years, the language of the court, law, science, religion and literature was French or Latin.

During this period, at least 10,000 French 'loan' words came into the English language - words such as felony, perjury, attorney and nobility.

While almost all written language was French or Latin, English remained amongst the people. It survived because it was so well established as the vernacular tongue.

The loss of French territory by the Anglo-Normans in 1204 meant that those Normans who remained in Britain were forced to declare their allegiance to England.
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