Bonjour de France- «
Cyber-magazine » éducatif qui contient des exercices, des tests et des jeux
pour apprendre le français ainsi que des fiches pédagogiques à l’attention
des enseignants de français langue étrangère (FLE).
One of the most important
Romance languages, outnumbered only by
Portuguese. French is the 11th most spoken
language in the world, spoken by about 77 million people (called Francophones) as a mother tongue, and 128 million including second language
speakers, in 1999. It is an official or administrative language in various
communities and organizations (such as the European Union, IOC
and United Nations).
For the period up to around 1300, linguists refer
collectively to the langue d'oïl dialects as Old French ("l'ancien français").
With the final ascendancy of Francien and the loss of the declension system,
the language is referred to as Middle French ("le moyen français").
Following a period of unification, regulation and purification, the French
of the 17th to the 18th centuries is sometimes referred to as Classical
French ("le français classique"), although many linguists simply refer to
French language from the 17th century to today as Modern French. The
earliest extant text in French is the Oath of Strasbourg from 842; Old
French became a literary language with the chansons de geste that told tales
of the paladins of Charlemagne and the heroes of the Crusades. By the
Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts in 1539 King Francis I made French the
official language of administration and court proceedings in France, ousting
Latin that had been used before then.
The foundation of the Académie française in 1634 by Richelieu created a
official body whose goal has been the purification and preservation of the
French language. This group of 40 members (the "immortals") chosen for life
still exists today and contributes to the policing of the language and the
elimination of foreign words and expressions.
From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French was the lingua franca of
educated Europe, especially with regards to the arts and litterature, and
monarchs such as Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine the Great of Russia
could both speak and write in French.
It is important however to realize that as of 1790, one half of the French
population did not speak or understand French and that many other languages
were spoken in France. A huge part of southern France spoke Occitan
dialects, such as Provençal, Gascon (including Béarnais), Auvergnat,
Limousin, Languedocian and (along the Spanish border) Catalan. In the Savoie
region of France, Franco-Provençal (a dialect considered halfway bewteen
Langue d'Oc and Langue d'Oïl) was spoken. One also found Alsatian (a dialect
German), Flemish (a dialect of
Dutch), Basque and Corsican (a dialect of
Italian). Furthermore, even in those regions where French was spoken and
understood, each region had its own particular accent and regionalisms. In
the 1880's, the rise of French nationalism (via universal military service
and national education) encouraged the suppression of regional differences
and local dialects; by 1910, 90% of the French population understood French,
although 50% still understood a local dialect. Since then, many of these
linguistic groups have fought hard to maintain their linguistic traditions
and in today's France one finds some of these local dialects coming back.
Some linguists estimate that 10% of the French today understand a local
dialect (although they may not speak it).
The majority of French words originated from vernacular
Latin or were
It is estimated that a little less than 13% (4,200) of common French words
found in a typical dictionary such as the Petit Larousse or Micro-Robert
Plus (35,000 words) are of foreign origin. About 25% (1,054) of these
foreign words come from
English and are fairly recent borrows. The others
are some 707 words from
Italian, 550 from ancient Germanic languages, 481
from ancient Gallo-Roman languages, 215 from
Arabic, 164 from
from Celtic languages, 159 from
Spanish, 153 from
Sanskrit, 101 Native American languages, 89 from other Asian languages, 56
from Afro-Asiatic languages, 55 Slavic languages and Baltic languages, 144
from other languages (3% of the total).
French is written using the Latin alphabet, plus five diacritics (the
circumflex accent, acute accent, grave accent, diaeresis, and cedilla) and a
Grand dictionnaire terminologique- Elaboré et produit
par l'Office de la Langue Française (Québec) et Semantix. Cet ouvrage de
référence rassemble un fonds terminologique d'envergure de 3 millions de
termes français et anglais dans 200 domaines d'activité.
Jim Becker's French
Page- Probably one of the most
exhaustive resources on the Internet about the French language and
Top Language Jobs
- Europe's leading specialist language recruitment website
for language jobs in the UK, London and Europe.
Top Language Community- a site for bilingual and multilingual people
living in London, UK, and Ireland with language
services including Language Jobs, Dating, Flat Share, Classifieds,
Directory, Events and Forums.