World Literature: French Language
French is regarded as a group of languages known as the Romance languages inclusive of Romanian, Italian, Spanish. As all of the trace their origin from Latin, the language of the ancient Romans. The French language originated from a number of ancient languages. These include:
Latin: the language of invading Romans,
Frankish: the language of the Germanic people who occupied the territory after the crumble of the Roman Empire.
Gaulish: the language of the Celtics
Old Norse; the language of the Vikings
Out of all the four language origins, it is Latin that French derives most of the words. The most significant aspect of Latin influence on French lies in the area of vocabulary. The majority of the words used in French currently, such as grammatical words, nouns, prepositions can be traced from Latin. Latin did not just have an influence on the words that make up the French language, but also the manner in the words was arranged on the basis of subject-verb agreement (Pope, 2013).
French was at one time regarded as the world’s most pre-eminent language. It ranks 9 out of the top fifteen languages. Nonetheless, French is spoken by about 170 million. It is the official language of close to 40 countries. Most of these countries are under an organization called La Francophonie. Latin was France’s official language until 1539 (Flaitz,2008). This was later overturned by King Francis. From 17th to 20th, French was regarded as the preferred language for business, art, science in North and South Europe. According to statistics from the Ministry of Foreign affairs, there are about 77 million Europeans that are speaking French. However, the aftermath of decolonization and World War I and II lead to the promotion of English and reduced the dominance of the French language. However, it is the second most spoken language as a result of extensive colonial ambition by Belgium and France to conquer many countries.
Flaitz, J. (2008). The ideology of English: French perceptions of English as a world language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Pope, M. K. (2013). From Latin to modern French with especial consideration of Anglo-Norman: Phonology and morphology. Manchester: Manchester University Press.