Every fortnight I go to a group which is interested in the influence of Anglo-Saxon language on English, and in particular in the language spoken before the Norman Conquest here in the southwest of England. So much of our language comes from those roots… but overlaid on it is the words we have inherited from the conquerors, the Normans. In fact, originally the Normans were the Northmen, Vikings from Scandinavia, but they settled in Normandy, adopted the language and brought it to England after 1066.

Here is a selection:

Anglo-Saxon origin words Old French origin words
1.     Thinking, Mindful Pensive
2.     Kingly Royal
3.     Brotherly Fraternal
4.     Ask, Beseech Enquire
5.     Lord Liege
6.     Bring, Bear Carry
7.     Amaze, Stun Astound
8.     Fair, Fair-haired Blond/Blonde
9.     Ghost Phantom
10.  Uphold, Undergird, Upstay Support
11.  Smell, Stench Odour
12.  Hue, Blee Colour
13.  Blossom Flower
14.  Help, Bestand, Bestead Aid, Abet, Assist
15.  Buy Purchase
16.  Eld Age
17.  Belief Faith
18.  Wonder Ponder
19.  Selfhood Identity
20.  Sake Reason, Cause

One thought on “Bestand, bestead and upstay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s