Many English words were borrowed from foreign languages, filling a gap where previously there was no word in English for the item or concept. They were initiated by English speakers who were fluent users of the foreign source language.
Between 1066 and the late 14th century, English and French were both used as vernaculars in England (in addition to Celtic languages, Scandinavian and Hebrew in some communities). Among the educated classes, the use of French was widespread for a long time, generally referred to as Anglo-Norman.
Medieval literature in English shows the two language heritages intertwined, thanks to the contacts between the two linguistic cultures.