The Evolution of French Language

  • By
  • May 5, 2023
  • French Language
The Evolution of French Language

The Evolution of French Language

The Evolution of French Language comes to mind when we think of the French language. French is one of the Romance languages that emerged from Latin and the history around it is quite vast. Gauls inhabited Western Europe region centuries ago which we today know as France and Belgium. Over the years French language has had several influences and has come a long way for it took so aesthetic today! 

Let’s find out how …….

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Roman influence –French accent comes from the Gaulish language which was spoken before the Romans invaded the area around the 2nd century. Gaulish was a Celtic language, but soon after the Romans conquered the land Gaulish ceased to exist, and the people were forced to talk the way the Romans did. Latin back then became a more dominant language as well as people were expected to speak Latin to rise high up in the social order. 

Since Gaulish was no more in use around 150 words were included in the French vocabulary words like; ‘Battu’ became ‘Battre’ – which means to beat and ‘arts’ meaning a color to steel or purplish grey changed to ‘ardoise’. 

The Evolution of French Language

German and other influences – Although German invasions around the 4th century had a big impact on the roots of the language and by then Latin had started changing into more colloquial terms even vulgar Latin. Due to these changes, the French that evolved is quite different from their Spanish and Italian counterparts. 

Around the 5th century, Franks became popular and the use of Frankish was gaining wide importance among the aristocrats. Frankish words are still today retained in French like trop, brun, guere, bleu, etc.

French continued to evolve, and was further influenced by English, Italian, and Greek. English has the most influence on today’s Francais. 

Today, many different dialects exist in the French language and are widely used. Notably Parisian French is the most popular and considered the model language for French people and Parisian French was also made standardized.   

“Le Serment de Strasbourg” if it was the first ever record created for the French language back in 842 AD then It was the declaration of an alliance created between Louis the German and Charles II Some believe that it was not written in French, but in a language that resembles Latin and it was made to look authentic for political purposes. 

Back then in the earlier days only in certain areas of L’ile de France such as Paris and the Provinces, only 1% of the population spoke old French as it was extremely tough and difficult to learn.  The pronunciation was tough too an example of which is the ‘Song of Roland’ 

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In 1539, the Ordinance of Villers Contests was issued by King Francois I which made French the official language of the country.  

Francien was the dialect used in the olden days which hailed from the northern-central region and later became the language of the literary world.  By the 16th century, French was still undergoing changes; many diphthongs were eliminated, and sentence construction was made more uniform and easier.  Nevertheless, only a few people were able to speak French Language Classes in Pune and use it fluently. 

Modern French on the other hand is divided into various eras – namely the ‘Grand Siecle’ in the 17thcentury when France as prosperous under the rule of King Louis IX and Cardinal Richelieu who made the Academie de francaise to promote their own language. 

The literacies set to make the grammar of the French language pure and thus, many borrowed words from different languages were eliminated and the written and spoken parts of the language were made practical for use including the omission of ‘so’ in the pronunciation of plural words. In 1714, the treaty of Rastatt was signed wherein French was made the international diplomat language. 

English rose to power – In the 1700’s English became more powerful as many thinkers, and philosophers influenced their French counterparts, and several new words were added to the French ‘dictionaire’. 

The attack on Bastille on July 14, 1789, marked the beginning of the Republique, and believe believed that the only way to overthrow the monarchy was to unite by language so as a result French was made the sole medium of instruction. 

The Jules Feery laws in the 1800s required French to be taught in all schools which resulted in higher literacy rates among the students.  

Modern Dialects in France –

French is the official language of France and many other countries it was ruled at different points in time in history – there are many divisions of the dialects used in the French language based geographically – these are as follows –

  • Northern areas: Northern Norman, Picard
  • Eastern regions: Franc-Comtois, Bourguignon, Lorrain
  • Southwestern areas: Angoumois, Saintongeais, Poitevin
  • Western areas: Manceau, Angevin, Gallo, Norman
  • Central regions: Champenois, Bourbonnais, Orléanais, Francien

French I also the official language of Canada and Belgium. Apart from that French is spoken as a first or second official language in countries like; Corsica, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, and the United States. 

Characteristic The Evolution of French Language

  1. French is spoken all around the world 
  2. The French language has a vast and interesting history 
  3. Several states in the United States speak French 
  4. Most classic novels and plays were originally written in French 
  5. French has faux amis , false friends such as the word ‘librarie’ means a bookstore, not a library 

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Well, if you wish to learn a language rich in culture, history, and aesthetics …. What are you waiting for? Grab your seat in your next French class and dip into the world of exciting Francais!


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Uma Deo

SevenMentor Pvt Ltd

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