The home as we know it is a concept that originated in the Netherlands. Despite this, many of the words we use to refer to items around the home are French in origin. This may seem peculiar, since the English language contains approximately the same number of words of French and Germanic (including Dutch) origin. In fact, it is an interesting consequence of English history.
After the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, the Normans removed essentially all of the Anglo-Saxon nobility. Since the new nobles spoke French, words with French origins began to be regarded as more prestigious while the Germanic Anglo-Saxon words were regarded as crude. Since homes in England were typically defined by aristocratic estates, the French names stuck.
Even before entering the log home, we can see this dominance of French words just by looking at the entry. The log home almost demands a porch, which is of course a word of French origin. It literally means passage, since in many cases a porch can simply be a small area through which one enters the home. It also is very close to the word forcolonnade, which many log home porches resemble.
French terms continue at the front door. While door itself is a Germanic word, many of its components are French. The door sits in a jamb and is surrounded by a casing. It is composed of panels and is decorated with an escutcheon. All of these part names come from the French language.
Inside the house, rooms are more likely to have French names if they serve a public function. As we covered before, parlor is a French loan word. It also seems very appropriate given the French passion for food that the dining room and pantry take their names from French as well. At the same time, more private rooms in the home have Germanic origins, such as the bedroom and den. Kitchen is also a Germanic word, since this was not a public area of the home until recently.
If you look at our name, you’ll find a neat blend of Germanic and French origins. Real is a French word, while Home comes from Dutch or German. Log, however, has an unknown etymology. It first appeared in English in the 14th-century and may not have come from another language. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests log may have been created since the word suggests through its sound “the notion of heaviness.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the origin of French names in the log home. If you’re looking to build your own log home, please contact Real Log Homes today.