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French in early modern Norwich



Much has been written about the use of French in medieval England. However, with one or two exceptions, relatively little has been written about the language in early modern England. This article aims to provide an account of the use of French as an emigrant language in one of the leading provincial cities in early modern England, Norwich. From 1565 onwards thousands of people from the French-language area migrated to England as a result of economic necessity and religious persecution. Many of them settled in Norwich. As well as these immigrants and their descendants, there were Dutch immigrants in Norwich who spoke French as well as several well-educated individuals from the local English population such as Sir Thomas Browne. This article describes the varieties of French used in Norwich, including Picard, the emerging standard French and Law French. It then discusses how French operated in the multilingual environment of early modern Norwich under the headings of language competition, language contact, bilingualism, code switching, translation, and finally, language shift and recession. It adds not only to our understanding of French in early modern England but also to the literature on French as an emigrant language.


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This work was supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund.



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French in early modern Norwich



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