History and Idiosyncrasy of French Language

History and Idiosyncrasy of French Language

France (French La France) is a country in Western Europe with (2018) 67 million residents; The capital is Paris.

The national territory also includes the Mediterranean island of Corsica and overseas territories in North and South America (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, French Guiana), in the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy), in the Indian Ocean (Mayotte, Réunion) and in the Pacific (New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna).

There are three periods in the development of the French language: Old French (9th – 14th centuries), Middle French (14th – 16th centuries) and New French (since the 16th century).


The French language has two genera (masculine and feminine), two modes (indicative and subjunctive, “subjonctif”) and three tenses (Present, past and future tense); the tense system has differentiated forms for designating completed and uncompleted actions. There is also a general tendency towards standardization in the use of the modes and time levels. The subjunctive of the past perfect (j’eusse chanté) only exists in the upscale written language; Also the subjunctive of the past tense (je chantasse) is – especially colloquially – usually replaced by the subjunctive of the present tense (je chante). In spoken French, the passé simple (je chantai) gives way to the passé composé (j’ai chanté), the future tense (je chanterai) is represented by the form (je vais chanter).

In the syntax, the regular sequence subject – predicate – object is also used colloquially in the question sentence (e.g. by repositioning the question particles: elle vient d’où? Instead of: d’où vient-elle? “Where does it come from?”). The differences between written and spoken French become particularly clear through the etymologizing tendency in the orthography.

In contrast to the other Romance languages, the lexicon is characterized by the large number of inherited and loanwords that correspond to one another in terms of meaning, the conceptual association of which is no longer recognizable in spelling and phoning (e.g. droit and direct »straight«, » direct «, père» father «and paternel» fatherly «, aveugle» blind «and cécité» blindness «). The French vocabulary is further expanded through borrowings, especially from Greek and Latin (especially in the context of scientific technical languages, e.g. vidéocommunication), as well as by anglicisms (e.g. happening, champion).

In word formation The word composition (among other things according to the pattern noun + adjective, e.g. eau lourde “heavy water”, ondes courtes “short wave”, as well as noun + noun, e.g. prêtre-ouvrier “worker priest”) plays an important role. In the case of more complex forms of composition – in line with the tendency towards analytical linguistic construction – the references are clarified by means of particles, usually prepositions (e.g. machine à écrire de voyage, »portable typewriter«). The prefixes (e.g. super-, hyper-, micro-, macro-, mini-, maxi-) and suffixes (e.g. -ème, -logie, -isme, -iser, – ifier, -age, -isation, -ique) are often elements of the classical languages ​​that also penetrate the common language. Short words (e.g. ciné instead of cinéma, micro instead of microphone,Ny] instead Organization des Nations Unis).


The language levels of French are generally divided into “français cultivé”, “français commun” (“français courant”), “français familier”, “français populaire” and “français vulgaire” (“français argotique”). The linguistic norm (“français standard”) – located between “français cultivé” and “français commun” – determines the form of the official and written language as well as the French language in the context of supraregional communication. Unlike in the 17th and 18th centuries, the choice of the language register is no longer v. a. tied to belonging to a certain social class, but to a specific speech situation. Compared to the »français standard« are the »français régional«, the “dialectes” and the “parlers” as a rule forms of language with a geographically limited distribution (in the case of the “parlers” to a certain place). In addition to vocabulary, these linguistic subsystems also deviate from standard French in terms of phonetics, phonology and morphology.

In the fringes of the French-speaking area, there is interference with neighboring languages. Most of the dialect areas (e.g. the Norman, Picardy, Lorraine or Champagne dialect areas) go back to the provinces of the Ancien Régime; More extensive classifications (e.g. in dialects of the north, northeast, southwest, center, east and southeast) have also been made since the 19th century. There has been a widespread decline in older dialects in favor of the regional or standard language in Île-de-France; Peripheral dialects such as Walloon, Picardy and Lorraine have proven to be particularly vital.

In the French-speaking areas outside of France – where the French language partly has the status of an official, administrative and teaching language – in addition to the official language form, partly independent, spoken variants based on regional languages ​​have developed, e.g. B. in Belgium, Canada and Switzerland. These show – due to geographical, cultural and / or political as well as corresponding linguistic special developments – among other things. also a number of dialectisms, archaisms and shifts in meaning that no longer exist in standard French, since linguistic balancing tendencies could have less effect.

In some cases, there are interferences with other languages ​​(e.g. in Canada and in the USA with English), substrate languages ​​can also have an impact of varying intensity (sometimes in connection with supraregional lingua franca in Africa); In a process of pidginization – as colloquial languages ​​- French Creole languages ​​have developed in part (for example in Haiti, Martinique and in the Départements d’Outre-Mer in the Indian Ocean). While the influence of French has declined sharply in some cases (especially in Asia after the Second World War), in other countries the French language appears to be the linguistic medium for conveying technical, economic and scientific development.

History and Idiosyncrasy of French Language