The French language is one of the most loved languages among most of us. You rarely find someone who does not want to learn this language known as sweet and linked to beauty and elegance, as it is one of the most widespread languages of the world after the English language. For a long time, France held the reins of the world as one of the great powers at that time, until the First World War, yet the French language is still important.
In this article, we will talk more about the French language, its origin, and its characteristics.
1. The history and evolution of the French language
1.1 History and birth of the French language
French is a Romance language. Its grammar and most of its vocabulary come from oral and popular forms of Latin, as usage has transformed them since the time of Roman Gaul. The Strasbourg Oaths, which sealed the alliance between Charles the Bald and Louis the Germanic in 842, written in Romance and Germanic languages, is considered the oldest document written in French.
During the Middle Ages, the French language was made up of many dialects, which varied considerably from one region to another.
The French language flourished as a result of many factors, including influencing the Celtic language, which is the Indo-European language. This is because it is one of the languages that were known in central and western Europe. In the twentieth century, the French language was the most visible and widespread among the languages spread by the colonial countries. The French language consists of 26 letters, where there are above these letters the movements that make a difference in the pronunciation of the letter or to differentiate between similar words.
1.2 The evolution of the French language
Today, the French language continues to evolve, dictated by globalization’s effect, especially by the hegemony of the English language on the planet. A hegemony that led to the appearance of new words giving it an Anglo-Saxon touch. “Se mettre du gloss“ (lip gloss), “regarder un thriller” (a thriller film), “Prendre brunch“ (breakfast), “distribuer des flyers” (flyers), these expressions have now taken root in the French language along with their relative lifestyle.
Here below a summary of the evolution of the French language through time.
Latin vulgaire: a large group of dialects that were spoken throughout the Western Roman Empire until its collapse in the 5th century.
Gallo-roman: a group of dialects that were spoken in Gallia from the 6th to the 9th century.
Old French: a group of dialects that were spoken in northern France from the 9th to the 13th centuries.
Central French: the language of the city of Paris from the 14th to the 16th centuries.
Modern French: derived from the Central French, and it is the language of most of France’s population.
2. The characteristics and rules of the French language
The French language includes twenty-six characters. The alphabet of this language is built on the alphabet of the Latin language, and the French language differs from the English language in many voices and letters. From here, the French language was able to take a special character at the level of pronunciation or writing, as it can be identified easily, and distinguish it from a number of other languages. Some of the vocabulary in the French language was able to conquer many other languages, and enter the spoken languages given the many factors that contributed to this.
The French language has some characteristics and rules that set it apart from other languages. We explain some of the following:
- With its many silent letters, the pronunciation of the French word can vary greatly from the spelling and writing of this word.
- The use of formal and informal titles, where respect is by using the plural “Vous” (you).
- There are many diacritical marks (accents) written on some French letters: (‘, `, ˆ, ¨).
3. Specifications of the French language
Here are some specifications of the French language;
3.1 The French language is an international language
- More than 220 million people speak French all over the world.
- The French language is the second famous and learned language after English.
3.2 The French language is the language of art and culture
- The French language is the language of theatre, dance, fashion, cuisine, ….
- The language of literature, where there are a lot of literary works written in the French language, and some of them have not been translated into other languages, so whoever wants to read these works must learn French, and one of the most famous French writers, Victor Hugo.
3.3 The French language is a business language
- When you apply for a job, you need to speak languages, English or French.
- It enables investors to invest in French-speaking countries such as Canada, Belgium, and many African countries and Switzerland).
3.4 The French language is a language of feelings
- The French language is beautiful and musical and known as the language of love.
4. Countries speaking the French language
The French language is the second most foreign language taught worldwide, after the English language. It is spoken in 28 countries (as an official and unofficial language), as well as being an official language in many international organizations, such as the International Red Cross, the United Nations, and The International Olympic Committee, and below. These countries speak French as an official language:
France, Canada, Benin, Monaco, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Togo.
The French language carries a unique richness stemming from its history, geography, and culture, which can explain why it is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. This is not insignificant when we know that language remains the simplest means of expression for understanding and communicating about the different aspects of the world.
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Originally published on Live Positively.