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Anglo-Norman literature

body of writings in the Old French language as used in medieval England. Though this dialect had been introduced to English court circles in Edward the Confessor's time, its history really began with the Norman Conquest in 1066, when it became the vernacular of the court, the law, the church, schools, universities, parliament, and later of municipalities and of trade. For the English aristocracy, Anglo-Norman became an acquired tongue and its use a test of gentility. It was introduced into Wales and Ireland and used to a limited extent in Scotland. The earliest extant literary texts in the Anglo-Norman dialect belonged to the reign of Henry I in the early 12th century, the latest to that of Henry IV in the early 15th century. The alienation toward France during the Hundred Years' War started an increasing use of English, the last strongholds of a French dialect being Parliament and the law, in both of which it still survives in a few formulas

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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