How many French words have entered English?
More than 33% of all English words come directly or indirectly from French. English speakers who have never studied French already know at least 10,000 French words.
Why so many?
In 1066 the Normans invaded England. Theyintroduced a legal and administrative system with its own vocabulary.
Around 10,000 French words came into common usage. Of these around 7,000 (judge and jury, for example) have survived into modern English.
What became known as Anglo-Norman had Latin roots. Sometimes the new Anglo-Norman words existed alongside existing Anglo-Saxon ones: beef (French) and cow (Anglo-Saxon for example.
It did not change the structure of the language in terms of grammar. But one very important development was that most anglo-saxon words lost their social status. The original language became grammatically simpler. Over time it evolved into what became known as Middle English.
Display of superior knowledge is as great a vulgarity as display of superior wealth — greater indeed, inasmuch as knowledge should tend more definitely than wealth towards discretion and good manners.
How did French influence English pronunciation?