(WYTV) – It’s pig on the farm, but pork in the sandwich.
We have to go way back to explain this one, back to the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066. That is when many French words became part of the English language.
When animals were in the stable or on the farm, they kept their Old English names: pig, cow, sheep and calf.
The lower class Anglo Saxons tended to these animals.
But when these meats were cooked and brought to the table, some names changed.
The upperclass French, now in control, saw these animals only at mealtimes so they used their French words to describe the dishes and eventually the English used a version of the French for those meats: pork, beef, mutton and veal.
Chicken and turkey, quail and pheasant went unchanged. These are poultry to this day.
And the word fish stayed the same. The French word for fish, poisson, sounded too much like poison in English.
But deer became venison, not because of any French word but because of the Latin word venor, meaning to hunt or kill.
Deer was the most common game to hunt during the Norman conquest and venison was the name for any animal that was hunted.