The Normans at Our Table

September 3, 2013

What did the Normans ever do for us? Most people would agree that the most far-reaching and long-lasting effect of the events of 1066 was the permanent rerouting of the English language, and particularly of its vocabulary. England’s Norman conquerors brought with them a refined gastronomic terminology which enabled them, and us, to distinguish the flesh of a dead animal prepared as food from its living relatives grazing in the field, something which the Anglo-Saxons had been unable to do.

John Ayto, author of the second edition of the The Diner’s Dictionary, talks about the Normans rerouting of the English language, with a focus on culinary vocabulary, in the latest Feature Article.