French Language Past & Present

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  • Created by: Jess
  • Created on: 27-04-16 14:19
Until 500AD
Vulgar Latin - spoken by the mass of the Roman population.
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Proto-French / Gallo-Roman Period - following fall of the Roman Empire: langue d'oil in the North (Germanic tribes) and langue d'oc in the South (greater Latinisation in the south as more Roman settlers).
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5th-6th centuries
Germanic tribes invade primarily in the North of France.
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Late 8th century
Carolingian reforms --> better record keeping --> more evidence of written language at the time.
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9th-14th centuries
Old French Period
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Early Old French Period - beginning of very gradual transformation of Latin into French.
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Council of Tours - official recognition of 'rustica romana lingua' spoken language was radically different to Latin, intelligibility between CL and vernacular language broken down (bishops decided to preach in vernacular and keep Latin 'pure').
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Strasbourg Oaths - first piece of evidence of spoken vernacular (reported direct speech) - political nature, the splintering of the Carolingian Empire after the death of Louis the Pious. Early OF ongoing social turmoil+ language change (Arabic+Norse)
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'Classical' Old French Period - vernacular lang written down increasingly; spelling v variable+experimental; scribes used Latin alphabet to represent sounds. Geographical fragmentation exacerbates spelling variation.
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Middle French Period - Rickard 'arbitrary' - Parisian French begins to displace Latin in writing.
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Ordonnance de Moulins - Charles VIII: 'langue francois ou maternal' for legal proceedings (attack on Latin).
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Ordonnance de Lyon - 'seront fait en vulgaire et langue du pais' vernacular or Parisian French in legal documentation.
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Ordonnance d'Is-sur-Tille - Francois I 'en francoys ou a tout le moins en vulgaire dudict du pays' Latin not to be used in legal proceedings.
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Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterets - 'en langue maternel francois et non autrement' Latin + dialects forbidden in legal proceedings, rise of Parisian French.
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Classical French - era of great literary production e.g. Corneille, Moliere. Increasing codification + control of language under more despotic regimes.
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The process of standardising a language through sets of rules.
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1605 -->
Francois de Malherbe is Court Poet - he wanted to fix language: negation must have 2 parts; against neologisms and borrowings.
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L'academie francaise is founded by Cardinal Richelieu.
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Claude Favre Vaugelas: 'Remarques sur la langue francoise' on 'bon usage' - style of the elites rather than necessarily the most logical French.
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Antoine de Rivarol: 'De l'universalite de la langue francaise' argued French was most clear+logical language, syntax had changed v little but ideology changed.
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French Revolution - ideology towards language changed vastly (Ancien Regime: church, law, crown) language became symbol of national identity (republique une, langue une).
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Modern French Period - aim to unify France with language.
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L'abbe Gregoire: Rapport sur la Nécessité et les Moyens d'anéantir les Patois et d'universaliser l'Usage de la Langue française -1/4 could not understand, 6 million unable to hold conversation, 3 million could understand.
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Barere (revolutionary politician) aimed to make French main language and to suppress dialects.
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Primary education is established by law, non-compulsory + fee paying.
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Jules Ferry: 'enseignement primaire gratuit, obligatoire, laic' French spread to the entire population --> regional dialects banned at school; decline of les patois.
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La loi Deixonne - optional study 1h/week of a regional dialect within the region, to separate 'home' French and 'school' French.
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La loi Bas-Lauriol - forbade exclusive use of foreign languages in demand & supply; attempt to protect the French language.
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La loi Toubon - reinforced 1975 law, more vigorous. French must be used in international conferences in France; contracts; media; advertising; commerce.
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John Palsgrave 'Esclarissement de la langue francoyse' described linguistic state of France - all over France people holding certain office could speak/write it.
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Joachim du Bellay 'Deffense et Illustration de la langue francoyse' advocates French language to rival Greek/Latin.
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16th century
admiration for Italian culture - 460 Italian borrowings: architectural, financial, military, nautical, textile, music, food (Arabic), literary.
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1789 Revolution
Conscription put men in contact with men from other regions + more adminstration (e.g division of France in equal size departements); communication systems; construction of railways.
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Response to 1974 'Sur la necessite et les moyens d'aneantir les patois et d'universaliser l'usage de la langue francoise'
Education at primary level in every commune was proposed in response; slow - government did not have the teachers nor the fund, gradual and had some voluntary teachers.
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Modern French Period
General slowing down of sound change attributable to less regional influence and more written down influence.
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Rene Etiemble 'Parlez-vous franglais?' laments Anglicisms.
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From 1972
A serious of 'Commissions ministerielles de termingologies' decide what terminology can be used in French - prevents flux of unconsidered Anglicisms.
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Card 2


Proto-French / Gallo-Roman Period - following fall of the Roman Empire: langue d'oil in the North (Germanic tribes) and langue d'oc in the South (greater Latinisation in the south as more Roman settlers).



Card 3


Germanic tribes invade primarily in the North of France.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Carolingian reforms --> better record keeping --> more evidence of written language at the time.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Old French Period


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