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16+ Language

Angles and Normans, part 1

by Werthan


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

The 14th of October, 1066 marked the end of the world.  Those who heralded this could not be heard over the thunderous stampede of boots on the ground of Ænglaland.

Ænglaland it was no more.  William the Conqueror never learned English, and none of the new nobility after him dared break this grand tradition.  Peasants – we spit on your language!  Or really, in your language, since it is no words at all!  They said, but obviously not in those words.  Or any words anyone would understand at all.  Likely even the nobles themselves.

The peasants envied the position of the nobles.  The nobles made sure that the peasants would be able to neither read nor understand a word that they said.

“French sounds so romantic!  We should stop speaking German!  Also, we’d be able to understand Will’s guys, which would get us a lot more respect, and possibly money,” said a woman in a blue Saxon dress.

“Are you kidding me?  Frenchies speak through their nose!  Eww!  It’s better to be a hated peasant than to speak through your nose.  Hon hon hon!  Baguette!” said another woman in a red dress, turning up her nose on the cry of “Hon hon hon!  Baguette!”

“Well, they say we just make a ton of harsh throat-sounds and it’s super guttural, whatever that French word means, so we should speak French instead.”

“Still better to be harsh and throaty than whiny and nasally.  Hon hon!”

A lumberjack, a cart of timber pulled by an ox beside him, walked by, and cried: “We don’t speak German.  We speak Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon or Ænglisc, which is genetically related to German, but not even particularly mutually intelligible with Old High German, never mind being a form of Modern German, also known as New High German.”

The one in the blue dress turned back to the one in the red dress: “See?  He speaks French and he can come by and tell us we’re wrong about our speaking German, and there’s nothing we can do since we just speak German and not French.  Maybe we should learn French like he did then.”

“We’re all speaking Modern English, dumbasses!  Not German or French!  Or even Anglo-Saxon.” the lumberjack shouted.

“Well, thanks for speaking Modern English, also known as German, bastard!  Yeah, how is that for a French swearword?  It is a Germanic language!  Ooh, I can French better than you!” the one in the blue dress shouted back.

The lumberjack made an audible variant of a gesture often attributed to the Frenchman Jean-Luc Picard as he walked off.

“Thanks for not speaking French!”

 

It cannot be said that the French language swept across Ænglaland like a storm.  The Saxons took a word here and there until there were almost no English words left in circulation, but yet, only a few truly spoke French. 

“I think we should all re-learn English,” said a middle-aged man.

“We’re all conversing in the English language at the present moment!” said a younger, but not young, man.

“That was some bastard mix of French and German and you know it.  Anyways, I think we Anglo-Saxons ought to remain frank and germane to our Teutonic heritage.”

“So no more eloquent Norman vocables?”

“No.”

“OK, I shall restrict myself to only the ineloquent lexical items of Romance origin.”

“You also ought not to use the ugly or clumsy French loanwords either.”

“Then how will I verbalize in the genetically Germanic language originating in Angeln, Schleswig-Holstein that has migrated to the isle of the Britons?”

“By not speaking French.  I really thought it was impossible to speak English by speaking French in the first place.  As our talking has showed.”

“Yeah…. It is.”

“Hey, someone still speaks English!”

And thus it went, that no one knew either English or French, and no one could really talk to anyone else, since each person’s words meant only what they wanted them to mean.  Except the Frenchmen, who actually did speak French, contrary to rumors.


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Points: 24
Reviews: 11

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Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:26 am
wetumbrella5 wrote a review...



that is a great piece of historical fiction. i love the æ letter very much. old english and normans very always one of my favorite historical subjects besides american history. i wonder why there are not much stuff about them. you can read my historical story conspiracy when it is published. this was just a suggestion not order. good luck anyway.




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Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:55 pm
crobbins wrote a review...



Hey, crobbins here for a review!

I was actually a little concerned until I read that this was satire. Then it all clicked! I liked this piece a lot!

Now onto some nit-picks!

I was confused by some of your sentences, such as: "Peasants – we spit on your language! Or really, in your language, since it is no words at all! They said, but obviously not in those words..." I get where you are trying to go with this, but I think the execution was a little bit off.

I think that if you had some named characters here, it would allow the reader to form a stronger connection with your characters and relate to them more. This might not be what you are going for though.

One last thing, I found it hard to track who was talking when at some points, when you didn't label who was talking for long periods of time. You use quotation marks and speech well, but remember that the reader may not necessarily be able to know who is talking without you telling them.

That's all I found for spelling and grammar/formatting issues!

I was laughing for a lot of this: "'Hon hon hon! Baguette!” said another woman in a red dress, turning up her nose on the cry of “Hon hon hon! Baguette!'" Your use of different languages and customs that went along with them lead to hilarious jokes that had me very amused throughout the whole piece. You sure do know how to write satire well!

I also want to say that the idea of incorporating different languages in a piece like this was a great way to further your plot!

So, overall, good job! I'd love to read more of your work!

-crobbins




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Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:36 am
deleted868 wrote a review...



First off, I'd love to know how you thought of creating this, because this is rather hilarious. At first, I was thrown way off, but then I read "Satire," and I finally caught on.

One mistake is that there needs to be a comma after 1066. On a side note, I really like that you started this story off this way, instead of just starting with William the Conqueror, since this gives the reader time to be able to correctly picture the time period, instead of trying to remember what century William was from.

"Those who heralded this could not be heard over the thunderous stampede of boots on the ground of Ænglaland." Although this is written is like "Old English" and all that, I think you need to change this into something a little more easily understood, such as "Heralds in this idea couldn't be heard over the stampedes of people within Ænglaland." Since "thunderous" and "stampede" convey very similarly ideas, I think you really only need to include one of the words in this sentence to make the "loudness" clear.

"Ænglaland it was no more." This should read as "Ænglaland as it had been, was no more," or something similar to that. It's worded funny in its current state.

"None of the new nobility after him dared break this grand tradition." Since "new" and "after" primarily mean the same thing, you'd really only need to include one of these worlds to coney your message. Also, you're missing a "to" after "dared."

"Peasants – we spit on your language! Or really, in your language, since it is no words at all! They said, but obviously not in those words. Or any words anyone would understand at all. Likely even the nobles themselves." I like this paragraph a lot, but I feel like it'd be a lot more understandable if you included quotation marks, to better distinguish the quotes from the rest of the sentences. Maybe before "peasants" and before "all?"

Overall, this is a good historical satire, and I found it rather humorous. I hope this review helped, and good luck with future writing!





Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris (Remember, man, that you are dust, and you will return to dust)
— Genesis 3:19