The origin of French is to be found in the particular evolution that Latin has undergone in Gaul in contact with the previous local languages, that is, with the Celtic substratum and, after the settlement of Germanic populations, with the Frankish superstrate, for which the language went changing, in different ways according to the regions, until becoming vulgar novel. This led to a real split between that Latin which was the written language of administration, culture and religion, and the language spoken by the population: the Chapter of Tours (813) testifies to this, in which he made himself available to priests to translate the sermons into rusticam linguam aut in theotiscam because the population was no longer able to understand Latin. The first document of the vulgar novel is represented by the Serments de Strasbourg (842) in novel and Germanic. In this work the various dialects are already well characterized which in the first centuries of French linguistic history show a good vitality also in correspondence with the political division of the feudal organization; they can be grouped into two areas: that of the dialects belonging to the so-called oïl language (French), which extended over most of northern France, and that of the dialects of the language d’oc (Provencal or Occitanic), widespread in southern France . The main dialects of the oïl language are: Norman in the west, Picardy and Walloon in the north, Lorraine and Champagne dialects in the east, French, Île-de-France dialect, Franche-Comté dialects, the Burgundian in Burgundy, the Angevin in the Anjou, the Pittavino in the Poitou and the Saintongese in the Saintonge. Over these dialects it has gradually imposed itself, from the sec. XI ca., the French on which the current national and literary language is based. In southern France, Provencal has been increasingly reduced due to the expansionist push of the French from the north. The Gascon is distinguished from the other Provencal dialects in the west; between the French dialects of the Oïl language to the north and the Provencal ones to the south, the Franco-Provençal is inserted in south-eastern France. The pre-eminence of the French over all the dialects of France can be explained by the ever increasing prestige of Paris, a commercial center where periodic fairs took place that attracted large crowds, and, starting from Ugo Capeto, the permanent seat of the monarchy, therefore of the court and the cultural activities that developed around it. It should also be added that the dukes of Île-de-France tended to overthrow local autonomies and centralize political power, administration and culture. Latin remained the language of the school, of the academic culture and of the acts of the royal chancellery as long as French prevailed also in the latter: the Villers-Cotterêts ordinance (1539) prescribed the use of French in all judicial documents; French thus became the official language of the state with the consequence of a significant impulse to the linguistic unification of the country. In the meantime, the dialect of Paris, widespread in the national territory and abroad, had been enriched with grammatical forms and words of the various local languages and had acquired many philosophical, political and scientific words taken from literary Latin. The interest in the national language was growing more and more: in the sec. XVI-XVII Malherbe gave impetus to the search, in the language, for harmony, clarity, order and elegance; Vaugelas studied and recorded the language of the court, codifying the rules of bon usage, but the unity and nationality of the language were affirmed under the reign of Louis XIV with the Dictionnaire (1694) of the Académie Française, by which the French aimed at that ideal form of clarity and logic that it still retains. The Enlightenment and the Encyclopédie contributed to the spread of the national language, the Revolution accelerated the process of popularization of French which, by state provision, became the language of teaching in every school. During Romanticism there was the formation of a new literary language characterized by the abundance of adjectives, the richness of the images, the variety of constructs. Near the end of the century. XIX French also definitively affirmed itself on the local dialects with some exceptions, as for the Provencal that F. Mistral tried to restore.
The more you know
how is french born?
Previous Post To solve a problem it is better to start from scratch
Next Post Chameleon effect: what is it?