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Commemoration to highlight importance of Battle of Hastings

Maylath

The 950th anniversary of the historically significant Battle of Hastings will be remembered during “1066@950: Commemoration of the Battle of Hastings,” scheduled Friday, Oct. 14, from 4-6 p.m. at NDSU’s Barry Hall. The public is invited to attend.

The event is organized and sponsored by the English, history, modern languages and religion departments at NDSU, Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

On Oct. 14, 1066, the English language was changed forever by William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings. According to event organizers, French and Latin vocabulary was infused into the English language, and the British class system was established.

“Few Americans realize that the official language of the English royal court was not English but French for about 250 years after William the Conqueror invaded England,” said Bruce Maylath, NDSU professor of English. “Not until the rule of King Henry V was English given equal standing to French in England. In time, and in part due to the popularity of ‘The Canterbury Tales,’ did English surpass French in standing. However, it was no longer the same English as before the Conquest – it was filled with French and Latin synonyms.”

The event is set to begin at 4 p.m. with opening comments at the statue of Rollo, first Duke of Normandy, which is located near NDSU’s Barry Hall in downtown Fargo.

Concurrent sessions are scheduled and will be repeated during each hour. They include:

Language sessions, 126 Barry Hall

4:15-4:27 p.m. and 5:09-5:21 p.m.

“Co-mingling of Old English, French and Scandinavian vocabulary in medieval England”

Claudia Tomany, NDSU modern languages department

4:28-4:40 p.m. and 5:22-5:34 p.m.

“Why French is easy for English-speakers to learn”

Jeanne Hageman, NDSU modern languages department

4:41-4:53 p.m. and 5:35-5:47 p.m.

“Differences in literary forms following the Norman Conquest”

David Sprunger, Concordia College English department

4:54-5:06 p.m. and 5:48-6 p.m.

“The legacy of the Norman Conquest on how we judge writing today”

Bruce Maylath, NDSU English department

Potpourri sessions, 120 Barry Hall

4:15-4:27 p.m. and 5:09-5:21p.m.

“Viking Age weapons and material culture”

Markus Krueger and Tim Jorgensen, Hjemkomst Center

4:28-4:53 p.m. and 5:22-5:47 p.m.

“The Bayeux Tapestry”

Jill Frederick, MSUM English department

Annette Morrow, MSUM history, languages, critical race and women’s studies department

4:54–5:06 and 5:48–6:00

“Spiritual Formation: The Spirits of 1066”

Roy Hammerling, Concordia College religion department

“Persons who attend the language sessions will learn why English is a language with so many synonyms and so many exceptions to its own rules,” Maylath said. “People who attend the potpourri sessions will learn about the invasion itself, especially the Battle of Hastings, and the Norman Conquest’s role in developing surprising class divides, including the introduction of French wine to a beer-drinking nation.”

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North Dakota State University
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