Why is English so weird and different

That's a very good point, and I can't believe I forgot to mention it. When you read Occitan, it seems to have a much stronger Latin flavour than mainstream French. I haven't ever heard it spoken, but I would like to.

I find it very sad that French language policy is basically trying to bludgeon this language out of existence. Why in particular is Parisian French given pride of place? And then on the other side of the Pyrenees, Madrid tries to stifle Catalan whenever the political situation allows... historically the languages would have formed a very soft continuum that would probably have been easy to navigate, but in modern times it's like the standards for each country have been cherry picked from the two registers in that continuum that are as far apart and as eccentric as possible, instead of fairly in the middle. And what is a standard anyway? Is it supposed to be a top down imposition or a reflection of what people actually want to use?

Once the two countries governments chauvinist language policies have succeeded in extinguishing those millennia old links to each other, at the expense of, and earning the resentment of even their own countrymen, what's the plan then guys? Just curious, would be cool to know :P