History of French
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The Roman invasion of GaulBefore the Roman invasion of what is modern-day France by Julius CÃ¦sar (58–52 BC), France was inhabited largely by a Celtic people that the Romans referred to as Gauls, although there were also other linguistic/ethnic groups in France at this time, such as the Iberians in southern France and Spain, the Ligures on the Mediterranean coast, Greek and Phoenician outposts like Marseille, and the Vascons on the Spanish/French border.
However, the population was largely Celtic, with about 10 million Gauls. Although the French like to refer to their descent from Gallic ancestors (nos ancÃªtres les Gaulois), perhaps fewer than 200 words with a Celtic etymology remain in French today, largely places (ber, lande), plant names (berle, chÃªne, if) and words dealing with rural life and the earth (notably: mouton, tonne, crÃ¨me, charrue, charriot, barde, baume, bouc, boue, brosse, caillou, cervoise, druide, magouille, orteil, souche). It should be noted that other Gallic words were imported in French through Latin, in particular words for Gallic objects and customs which were new to the Romans and for which there were no equivalent in Latin (e.g. braies, ambassade, matras). Latin quickly became a lingua franca across the entire Gallic region for both mercantile, official and educational reasons, yet it should be remembered that this was Vulgar Latin, the colloquial dialect spoken by the Roman army and its agents and not the literary dialect of Cicero. Latin was first adopted in the South and then spread to the main Northern cities. However, it was not accepted by the majority of Gauls until as late as the 4th century AD.
Nonetheless, a number of features can be attributed to Gaulish.
Phonological changes include:
- the raising of [o:] to [u:] (as in all Celtic languages)
- the fronting of open [o:] to /eu/ [Ã¸] or [œ] (as in Cornish and Breton; cf. Proto-Celtic *brÃ¢tu "judgement" > Brythonic *brotu > * C bres, Br breut "pleader")
- the fronting and raising of [a] to [Ã¦] to [e] (as before nasals in Goidelic)
- ct > xt > it; lactem > lait (in all Brythonic languages)
- the frication and deletion of voiced intervocalic consonants (g, d, b)
- the palatalization of jod [j] to [dj] to [ž]; ego > je (as Brythonic turned jod into [Ã°]; ex: PC *novÃjo > W newydd, Corn nowyth, newyth, Br nevez)
- the diphthongization of closed long /e/ to /oi/ (as in the Brythonic languages [ui])
- the use of liaisons and enchaÃ®nement (as in all Celtic languages)
- nasalization (as in Breton and Gaelic)
- the insertion of epenthetic homorganic consonants between nasals and liquids; simulare > sembler, *venira > viendra (as in Welsh and Manx)
- possession using Ã instead of de (ce livre est Ã moi) (as in all Celtic languages)
- the gallicism c'est...qui, que used in emphasis
- counting by twenties; quatre-vingts and in Old French treis vingts, cinq vingts (cf. Welsh ugain "twenty", deugain "forty", pedwar ugain "eighty, lit. four-twenties"; similar system in modern Irish)
- the 1st person plural verb ending -ons (cf. Breton caromp, Welsh aethom)
- the influence of meaning and form on avec, car, oui, chez, aise, aveugle, tÃªte, huitaine and quinzaine, fleur de farine, fois, and monde "people"
- the use of periphrastic phrases to denote aspect; i.e. en train de, venir de, aprÃ¨s + verb, etc. (as in all Celtic languages)
- the adoption of the intensive prefix ro-, having become modern re- (compare: luire "to glisten" vs. reluire "to shine"; tirer "to pull" vs. retirer "to withdraw, take away")
The FranksFrom the third century on, Western Europe was invaded by Germanic tribes from the east, and some of these groups settled in Gaul. For the history of the French language, the most important of these groups are the Franks in northern France, the Alemanni in the German/French border, the Burgundians in the RhÃ´ne valley and the Visigoths in the Aquitaine region and Spain. Their language had a profound effect on the Latin spoken in their respective regions, altering both the pronunciation and the syntax. They also introduced a number of new words. Sources disagree on how much vocabulary of modern French comes from Germanic words, ranging from just 400 words  to 2% of modern vocabulary .
Changes in morphology:
- the name of the language itself, franÃ§ais, comes from the Germanic Frank ('freeman'). The Franks referred to their land as Franko(n) which became Francia in Latin in the 3rd century (then an area in Gallia belgica, somewhere in modern-day Belgium or the Netherlands).
- several terms and expressions associated with their social structure (gars/garÃ§on, marÃ©chal) and military tactics (fief, flanc).
- a few colors derived from Frankish and other German languages (blanc, bleu, blond, brun, gris).
- other examples among the most usual words include auberge, fauteuil, laid, tuyau and many words starting with a hard g (like gagner, guerre) or with an aspired h (haine, hÃ¢te) 
Changes in pronunciation:
- reintroduction of the vowel [y]
- reintroduction of consonant h (that no longer exists in modern French, however a Germanic h usually disallows liaison: les halles /lɛ'al/, les haies /lɛ'ɛ/, les haltes /lɛ'alt/, whereas a Latin h allows liaison: les herbes /lɛzɛrb/, les hÃ´tels /lɛzotɛl/.
- reintroduction of consonant [w], probably pronounced as in Dutch between /v/ and /w/, and developing into /gw/ and then /g/ in modern French (hence French guerre whereas the English form keeps the /w/: war).
- loss of final vowels
- endings in -ard (from Frankish hard : bÃ¢tard), -and, -aud, -ais, -er, -ier and many verb endings in -ir ( choisir, jaillir).
- maintenance of cases (compared to Spanish or Italian): hence Old French had li murs (the wall) or li fils (the son) (Modern French le mur, le fils), respectively from Latin murus, filius.
- subject pronoun: always present before the verb, whereas it is not necessary in Spanish or Italian. The pronoun on (from hom/homme) is an adaptation of Germanic pronoun man(n)- (one, general you, singular they).
- adjective before the noun: pauvre homme, belle femme, viel homme, grande table, petite table (however most adjectives are placed after the noun).
- See also: Old French
The medieval Italian poet Dante, writing in Latin in his De vulgari eloquentia, classified the Romance languages into three groups: "nam alii oc, alii si, alii vero dicunt oil" ("some say oc, others say si, others say oÃ¯l"), thereby defining oÃ¯l languages (in northern France); oc languages (in southern France) and si languages (in Italy and Iberia). Modern linguists typically divide the languages spoken in medieval France into three geographical subgroups: Langue d'oÃ¯l and Langue d'oc are the two major groups; the third group, Franco-ProvenÃ§al, displays features in common with both other groups, without belonging to either. The OÃ¯l–Oc divide may be broadly compared to the divide illustrated by the use of "yes" in English and "aye" in Scots. The Romance language group in the north of France is that of the langue d'oÃ¯l, the languages which use oÃ¯l (in modern usage, oui) for "yes". These languages, like Picard, Walloon, and Francien, were influenced by the Germanic languages spoken by the Frankish invaders; Norman was later also heavily influenced by the Norse settlers who founded the Norman state. From the time period Clovis I on, the Franks extended their rule over northern Gaul. Over time, the French language developed from either the OÃ¯l language found around Paris (the Francien theory) or from a standard administrative language based on common characteristics found in all OÃ¯l languages (the lingua franca theory). OÃ¯l derives from the Latin hoc ille ("that is it").
Langue d'oc, the languages which use oc for "yes", is the language group in the south of France and northern Spain. These languages, such as Gascon and ProvenÃ§al, have relatively little Frankish influence. Oc/Ã²c derive from the Latin hoc.
Modern French has two words for "yes", oui and si; the latter is used to contradict negative statements or respond to negative questions, at least in Modern France itself. Si derives from Latin sic ("thus"), and is cognate to the word for "yes" in Spanish (sÃ), Portuguese (sim), Italian (sÃ¬), and Catalan (sÃ).
Foreign language groupsThe early middle ages also saw the influence of other linguistic groups on the dialects of France:
From the 5th to the 8th centuries, Celtic-speaking peoples from southwestern Britain (Wales, Cornwall, Devon) travelled across the English Channel, both for reasons of trade and as a result of the Anglo-Saxon invasions of England. They established themselves in Brittany. Their language was a dialect of the Brythonic languages, which has been named Breton in more recent centuries. This language gave notably bijou and menhir to French. It is part of the larger Celtic language family, though the modern dialects reflect a noticeable influence from French in their vocabulary (aven, a Breton word that French incorporated, is itself derived from the French word havre).
From the 6th to the 7th centuries, the Vascons crossed over the Pyrenees, a mountain range in the south of France. Their presence influenced the Occitan language spoken in southwestern France, resulting in the dialect called Gascon. Its influence is seen in words like boulbÃ¨ne, cargaison.
Scandinavian Vikings invaded France from the 9th century onwards and established themselves in what would come to be called Normandie (Normandy). They took up the langue d'oÃ¯l spoken there and contributed many words to French related to maritime environment (crabe, crique, falaise), amongst other things.
With their conquest of England in 1066, the Normans brought their language. The dialect that developed there as a language of administration and literature is referred to as Anglo-Norman. Anglo-Norman served as the language of the ruling classes and commerce in England from the time of the conquest until 1362, when the use of English became dominant again. Because of the Norman Conquest, the English language has borrowed a considerable amount of its vocabulary from French.
The Arab peoples also supplied many words to French around this time period, including words for luxury goods (Ã©lixir, orange), spices (camphre, safran), trade stuffs (alcool, bougie, coton), sciences (alchimie, hasard), and mathematics (algÃ¨bre, algorithme).
Modern FrenchFor the period up to around 1300, some linguists refer to the oÃ¯l languages collectively as Old French (ancien franÃ§ais). The earliest extant text in French is the Oaths of Strasbourg from 842; Old French became a literary language with the chansons de geste that told tales of the paladins of Charlemagne and the heroes of the Crusades.
By the Ordinance of Villers-CotterÃªts in 1539 King Francis I made French the official language of administration and court proceedings in France, ousting the Latin that had been used before then. With the imposition of a standardised chancery dialect and the loss of the declension system, the dialect is referred to as Middle French (moyen franÃ§ais). The first grammatical description of French, the TrettÃ© de la Grammaire franÃ§aise by , was published in 1550. Many of the 700 words  of modern French that originate from Italian were introduced in this period, including several denoting artistic concepts (scenario, piano), luxury items, and food.
Following a period of unification, regulation and purification, the French of the 17th to the 18th centuries is sometimes referred to as Classical French (franÃ§ais classique), although many linguists simply refer to French language from the 17th century to today as Modern French (franÃ§ais moderne).
The foundation of the AcadÃ©mie franÃ§aise (French Academy) in 1634 by Cardinal Richelieu created an official body whose goal has been the purification and preservation of the French language. This group of 40 members is known as the Immortals, not, as some erroneously believe, because they are chosen to serve for the extent of their lives (which they are), but because of the inscription engraved on the official seal given to them by their founder Richelieu—"Ã€ l'immortalitÃ©" ("to the Immortality (of the French language)"). The foundation still exists and contributes to the policing of the language and the adaptation of foreign words and expressions. Some recent modifications include the change from software to logiciel, packet-boat to paquebot, and riding-coat to redingote. The word ordinateur for computer was however not created by the AcadÃ©mie, but by a linguist appointed by IBM (see ).
From the 17th to the 19th centuries, France was the leading power of Europe; thanks to this, together with the influence of the Enlightenment, French was the lingua franca of educated Europe, especially with regards to the arts, literature, and diplomacy; monarchs like Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine the Great of Russia could both speak and write in French.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the French language established itself permanently in the Americas. There is an academic debate about how fluent in French were the colonists of New France. While a minority of colonists (mostly women) were from the region of Paris (approximately 20% of all colonists), most of them came from northern and western regions of France where French was not the primary language natively spoken by its inhabitants. It is not clearly known, however, how many among those colonists understood French as a second language, and how many among them – who, in overwhelming majority, natively spoke an oÃ¯l language – could understand, and be understood by, those who speak French thanks to interlinguistic similarity. In any case, a linguistic unification of all the groups coming from France happened (either in France, on the ships, or in "Canada") such that, according to many sources, the then "Canadiens" were all speaking French natively by the end of the 17th century, well before the unification was complete in France. Today, French is the language of about 10 million people (not counting French-based creoles) in the Americas.
Through the AcadÃ©mie, public education, centuries of official control and the role of media, a unified official French language has been forged, but there remains a great deal of diversity today in terms of regional accents and words. For some critics, the "best" pronunciation of the French language is considered to be the one used in Touraine (around Tours and the Loire River valley), but such value judgments are fraught with problems, and with the ever increasing loss of lifelong attachments to a specific region and the growing importance of the national media, the future of specific "regional" accents is often difficult to predict. The French nation-state, which appeared after the 1789 French Revolution and Napoleon's empire, unified the French people in particular through the consolidation of the use of the French language. Hence, according to historian Eric Hobsbawm, "the French language has been essential to the concept of 'France', although in 1789 50% of the French people didn't speak it at all, and only 12 to 13% spoke it 'fairly' - in fact, even in oÃ¯l language zones, out of a central region, it wasn't usually spoken except in cities, and, even there, not always in the faubourgs [approximatively translatable to "suburbs"]. In the North as in the South of France, almost nobody spoke French." Hobsbawm highlighted the role of conscription, invented by Napoleon, and of the 1880s public instruction laws, which allowed to mix the various groups of France into a nationalist mold which created the French citizen and his consciousness of membership to a common nation, while the various "patois" were progressively eradicated.
Modern issuesThere is some debate in today's France about the preservation of the French language and the influence of English (see franglais), especially with regard to international business, the sciences and popular culture. There have been laws (see Toubon law) enacted which require that all print ads and billboards with foreign expressions include a French translation and which require quotas of French-language songs (at least 40%) on the radio. There is also pressure, in differing degrees, from some regions as well as minority political or cultural groups for a measure of recognition and support for their regional languages.
Once the most universal language, French lost most of its international significance to the English language in the 20th century. Nevertheless, French is the second most-studied foreign language in the world after English. The legacy of French as a living language outside Europe is mixed: it is nearly extinct in some former French colonies (Southeast Asia), while the language has changed to creoles, dialects or pidgins in the French departments in the West Indies and the South Pacific (French Polynesia). On the other hand, many former French colonies have adopted French as an official language, and the total number of French-speakers has increased, especially in Africa.
In QuÃ©bec, the language has thrived and today is spoken by approximately 90 percent of the province's population, mainly because about 80% of today's population is descended from French colonists of New France.
There has been French emigration to the United States, Australia and South America, but the descendants of these immigrants have assimilated to the point that few of them still speak French. In the United States, efforts are ongoing in Louisiana (see CODOFIL) and parts of New England (particularly Maine) to preserve the language.
References1. ^ Mots francais d'origine gauloise. Mots d'origine gauloise. Retrieved on 2006-10-22.7 . Yves Cortez"Le franÃ§ais ne vient pas du latin" (2007)Paris
2. ^ The History of the French Language. Catholic Central French. Retrieved on 2006-03-22.
3. ^ French Language - General Overview. Orbis Latinus. Retrieved on 2006-03-22.
4. ^ Recherche des mots d'origine francique. Le trÃ©sor de la langue franÃ§aise informatisÃ©. Retrieved on 2006-10-22.
5. ^ Henriette Walter, L'aventure des mots franÃ§ais venus d'ailleurs, Robert Laffont, 1998.
6. ^ Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780 : programme, myth, reality (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990; ISBN 0-521-43961-2) chapter II "The popular protonationalism", pp.80-81 French edition (Gallimard, 1992). According to Hobsbawm, the main source for this subject is Ferdinand Brunot (ed.), Histoire de la langue franÃ§aise, Paris, 1927-1943, 13 volumes, in particular volume IX. He also refers to Michel de Certeau, Dominique Julia, Judith Revel, Une politique de la langue: la RÃ©volution franÃ§aise et les patois: l'enquÃªte de l'abbÃ© GrÃ©goire, Paris, 1975. For the problem of the transformation of a minority official language into a widespread national language during and after the French Revolution, see RenÃ©e Balibar, L'Institution du franÃ§ais: essai sur le co-linguisme des Carolingiens Ã la RÃ©publique, Paris, 1985 (also Le co-linguisme, PUF, Que sais-je?, 1994, but out of print) ("The Institution of the French language: essay on colinguism from the Carolingian to the Republic. Finally, Hobsbawm refers to RenÃ©e Balibar and Dominique Laporte, Le FranÃ§ais national: politique et pratique de la langue nationale sous la RÃ©volution, Paris, 1974.
Histories of the world’s languagesFrench (franÃ§ais, pronounced [fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ]) is a Romance language originally spoken in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, and today by about 300 million people around the world as either
- Histoire de la langue franÃ§aise (in French)
..... Click the link for more information.Dialects of the French language are spoken in France and around the world. The francophones of France generally use Metropolitan French although some also use regional dialects or varieties such as Meridional French.
..... Click the link for more information.French orthography encompasses the spelling and punctuation of the French language. It is based on a combination of phonemic and historical principles. The spellings of many words are derived from Latin etymologies, which has resulted in a multitude of silent letters.
..... Click the link for more information.Ã©mie s'eſt donc vÃ»e contrainte Ã faire dans cette nouvelle Edition, Ã ſon orthographe, pluſieurs changemens qu'elle n'avoit point jugÃ© Ã propos d'adopter, lorſqu'elle donna l'Edition prÃ©cÃ©dente.
..... Click the link for more information.Sylvius) is the first writer known to have used the Greek symbol in his writing (although he wrote in Latin).
Several grammarians of the French Renaissance attempted to prescribe a precise usage for the diacritic in their treatises on language.
..... Click the link for more information.French phonology displays variation due to regional dialects. This article aims at displaying a complete overview of French normal and possible phonemes and their most common allophones.
..... Click the link for more information.Liaison is the pronunciation of such a consonant immediately before a following vowel sound. For example, the letter s in the word les ("the") is generally silent, but it is pronounced /z/ in the combination les amis ("the friends").
..... Click the link for more information.In French, elision refers to the suppression of a final unstressed vowel (usually [ə]) immediately before another word beginning with a vowel.
..... Click the link for more information.French grammar refers to the grammar of the French language, which is similar to that of the other Romance languages.
French is a moderately inflected language.
..... Click the link for more information.French verbs are a complex area of French grammar, with a conjugation scheme that allows for three finite moods (with anywhere from one to five synthetic tenses), three non-finite moods, three voices, and two aspects.
..... Click the link for more information.Indicative Subjunctive Conditional Imperative
Present Simple Past Imperfect Simple Future Present Imperfect Present Present
je parle parlai parlais parlerai parle parlasse parlerais
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- va travailler.
- Tu es lÃ ?
- Elle a rougi.
The principle of the fixed stemThe stem normally stays fixed in the first two conjugations:
- Parler : Je parlerais, tu parlas, qu'ils
..... Click the link for more information.la chaise rouge Â» ("I broke the red chair"). Unlike the, the French definite article is also used with mass nouns and plural nouns with generic interpretation, and with abstract nouns. For example:
- Â« J'aime le lait. Â» ("I like milk.
..... Click the link for more information.French adverbs, like their English counterparts, are used to modify adjectives, other adverbs, and verbs or clauses. They do not display any inflection; that is, their form does not change to reflect their precise role, nor any characteristics of what they modify.
..... Click the link for more information.French pronouns are inflected to indicate their role in the sentence (subject, direct object, and so on), as well as to reflect the person, gender, and number of their referents.
..... Click the link for more information.The French personal pronouns (analogous to English I, me, you, and so on) reflect the person and number of their referent, and in the case of the third person, its gender as well (much like English's distinction between him and her
..... Click the link for more information.Motto
"Ã‰galitÃ©, ComplÃ©mentaritÃ©, SolidaritÃ©"Members and participants of La Francophonie. In addition to countries, Belgian and Canadian subdivisional memberships are also represented.
..... Click the link for more information.French (franÃ§ais, pronounced [fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ]) is a Romance language originally spoken in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, and today by about 300 million people around the world as either
..... Click the link for more information.Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family that comprisies all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire.
..... Click the link for more information.Latin}}}
Official language of: Vatican City
Used for official purposes, but not spoken in everyday speech
Regulated by: Opus Fundatum Latinitas
Roman Catholic Church
ISO 639-1: la
ISO 639-2: lat
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A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers.
..... Click the link for more information.Gaius Julius Caesar
Dictator of the Roman Republic
Reign October, 49 BC–March 15, 44 BC
Full name Gaius Julius Caesar
Born 12 July 100 BC - 102 BC
Rome, Roman Republic
Died 15 March 44 BC (aged 57)
..... Click the link for more information.1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century
20s 30s 40s - 50s - 60s 70s 80s
55 56 57 - 58 - 59 60 61
..... Click the link for more information.1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century
20s 30s 40s - 50s - 60s 70s 80s
49 50 51 - 52 - 53 54 55
..... Click the link for more information.Anno Domini (Latin: (In)The year of (Our) Lord), abbreviated as AD or A.D., defines an epoch based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
..... Click the link for more information.Celts, normally pronounced /kɛlts/ (see article on pronunciation), is widely used to refer to the members of any of the peoples in Europe using the Celtic languages or descended from those who did.
..... Click the link for more information.Gaul (Latin: Gallia) was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of
..... Click the link for more information.Iberian is also a native of the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberians should not be confused with ancient inhabitants of Caucasus, the Caucasian Iberians of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia.
HistoryThe Iberians lived in isolated communities based on a tribal organization.
..... Click the link for more information.Motto
"Plus Ultra" (Latin)
"Marcha Real" 1
..... Click the link for more information.The Ligures (singular Ligus or Ligur; English: Ligurians, Greek: Λίγυες) were an ancient people who gave their name to Liguria, which once stretched from Northern Italy into southern Gaul.
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