[ANSTHRLD] Latin, Old French, and Law-French, oh my!

Diane Rudin serena1570 at yahoo.com
Fri May 16 15:26:20 PDT 2003

--- Tim McDaniel <tmcd at panix.com> wrote in response to me:

> > Just about everything written in period was written in law-French,
> > a hopelessly corrupted form of Latin.

> "Latin"?!  God's teeth and toenails,
 <snipped quote>
> looks more like LATIN to you?!

Heck, no.  It doesn’t even look medieval.  It looks like French, Latin
and English went to a bar together, got drunk, and did things best not
described in public. It certainly doesn’t look like any medieval legal
document I’ve read.

> > My guess, based on a quick scan of OED definitions, is that the
> > first son's title was one rank below his father's.

> Modern practice is that his title is the second-ranking title of his
> father, but it's just a courtesy -- he's not actually a peer and has
> none of the privileges.

I’m not sure whether you are merely adding discussion of modern
practice to the original discussion of period practice, or adducing
this fact to rebut my assertion.  Here is the background for my
assertion, which I didn’t post last night due to time constraints.

OED (compact), 1971 ed., p. 1730, under "Marquis" defn. 2, in the
examples: "15.. [meaning exact year unknown, but known to be in the
1500's] *Bk. Precedence* in *Q. Eliz. Acad.* (1869) [meaning it's a
period source known from a Victorian reprint] 13 Item. a Dukes Eldest
sonn is Borne a Marquesse, and shall goe as a Marquisse."

Unless the OED's source has since been shown to be pure Victorian
fiction, it is period practice at least in the case of a Duke's eldest

As to your list of examples of persons with titles whose titles don't
seem at first glance to match their land-holdings, I believe I
mentioned that nobles had lesser titles and lands, but only used their
highest title.

Daniel added more discussion about revolutions, subinfeudation, the
church, etc.  While his discussion (and any other) could be expanded, I
don’t feel the need to continue it on this list.


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