France Language

France Language

The French is the national language of the France and official language of the territory of the nation and the overseas departments. As a mother tongue spoken it does not extend to the whole national territory: in addition to Languedoc and Provence with the Provencal dialects, Nice and Corsica, where Italian dialects are spoken, the Eastern Pyrenees, where a dialect is spoken Catalan, the Basque-speaking Low Pyrenees, the district of Dunkerque, speaking Flemish, and Alsace with predominantly German dialects; in these regions French is generally used as a second language and as a language of culture.

On the other hand, French is the national language of Haiti, Luxembourg and the two Congolese republics and one of the national languages ​​of Belgium and Switzerland; French dialects are spoken in the Norman Islands, Canada and Louisiana, and, in Italy, in the Aosta Valley. The main French dialectal groups, apart from Provençal (➔ # 10132;) and Franco-Provençal (➔ Franco-Provençal, dialects), are Picardy, Norman, Walloon, Lorraine, Champagne, Berry dialect, of the Orleanese.

Historical notes

According to Thereligionfaqs, the linguistic history of France begins within the latinity of the last centuries of the Roman Empire; on the basis of the Latin spoken in Gaul, after the settlements of Germanic lineages, local languages ​​are formed in which Latin evolves into a French neo-Latin dialect, under the pressure of the Gallic substratum and the more notable one of the Frankish superstrate. In the first Gallo-Romance language document (Serment de Strasbourg, 842) and in the first literary texts of the 9th -10th century. the various dialects are profoundly different from the other Romance languages. In the 11th century the dialect of Île-de-France begins to conquer a hegemonic position, until it becomes the only language of literature and culture, thanks to the central position of the region, the economic-cultural importance of Paris, and the fact that the Crown of France was assumed by the dukes of Île-de-France with Ugo Capeto, whose dynasty carried out an energetic action of centralization. From the 15th century. the dialect of Paris became the only literary language and almost completely replaced Latin in public acts; as it spread, it was gradually enriched with grammatical forms and words of those dialects that it had reduced to local languages ​​and, with the renewed classical post-Carolingian, scholastic and above all Renaissance culture, it was also strengthened with words, philosophical, scientific, political , taken from the literary Latin.

The unity of the Île-de-France dialect, now the language of the nation, was strengthened under the reign of Louis XIV; the grammar of French, rigorously established by the Académie Française and its Dictionnaire (1694), approached an ideal internal form of logic and clarity. Its diffusion throughout the territory of France was accelerated by the Enlightenment and the Encyclopédie and accomplished by the Revolution, both for the leading role that Paris and the Parisians had in it and for the centralizing spirit which characterized the internal politics of the revolutionary period and therefore of the Napoleonic age.


In the context of neo-Latin languages, French stands out for its markedly innovative character, especially as regards phonetics. For example, in the phonetic development of the tonic vowel pre-Romance é (from the classical Latin ē and ĭ), in open syllable, the outcome of modern French oi [u̯à] is much further from the pre- Romance phase than the results of all the others neo-Latin languages. The passage from é to u̯à took place gradually: it is in pre-novel Latin, éi already at the beginning of Old French (8th-9th century), therefore, by dissimilation, ói; the handwriting or since remained but subsequently represented pronunciations Ói, OE, Noah always in the Old French period, then the average French EU and finally the modern pronunciation u̯à that triumphs with the Revolution. Even in the syntax, already in the ancient phase, French presents particular and innovative characteristics and so also in the morphology, where, however, there are also conservative aspects: for example, the conservation of the final -s, lost in Italian, and the distinction between right and oblique case, documented throughout the period of Old French.

France Language