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Regards sur la culture: Principes de conversation
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The French are extremely passionate when they speak. They are also passionate about their language, both spoken and written. French evolved from Latin and was originally comprised of a multitude of spoken dialects, notably the dialect of the North, called the langue d’oïl,and that of the south, called the langue d’oc. During the Capetian monarchy (1224-1328), the langue d’oïl became the standard for French. The language remained an oral one with Latin used for all written communication until the 16th century. With the edict of Villers-Cotterêts (1539), French became the mandated official language for all communication in France.

French became an international language between the 16th and 19th centuries, when France established colonies in North America, Africa, Asia, the Antilles, South America and on islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Although these areas have mostly reverted to autonomy, the French language endures as a legacy of colonialization. The Organisation internationale de la francophonie, directed by a Secrétariat général de la francophonie, seeks to unite these diverse regions, both politically and socially, through their common language.

On the national front, the primary mission of the Académie française, founded in 1635, will be “… travailler, avec tout le soin (care) et toute la diligence possibles, à donner des règles (rules) certaines à notre langue et à la rendre pure, éloquente et capable de traiter (treat) les arts et les sciences.” Whereas in the past, the Académie focused on issues of grammar and style, its recent focus has been on the threat posed to French by the English language. A Commission générale de terminologie et de néologie was instituted in 1996 to suggest French terms for the multitude of English technological vocabulary that has entered the French language. For example, for CD-ROM they suggest cédérom; for walkman, baladeur; and for software, logiciel.



Est-ce que vous connaissez des mots français qui ont été adoptés en anglais et que vous utilisez?

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