The Full Wiki

French language: Wikis

  
  
  
  
  
  

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on French language

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

French
Français
Pronunciation [fʁɑ̃sɛ]
Spoken in 29 countries where used officially, plus seven where commonly used but not officially
Region Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania
Total speakers 136 million (2005) (native and first language speakers)[1][2] and by an estimated 500 million francophones worldwide, (2000)[3][4][5]
Ranking 14 (native), 4 (total)[6][7][8][9]
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Latin alphabet (French variant)
Official status
Official language in

Numerous international organisations
Regulated by Académie française (French Academy)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 fr
ISO 639-2 fre (B)  fra (T)
ISO 639-3 fra
New-Map-Francophone World.PNG
     States where it is mother tongue      States where it is official language      States where it is second language      Regions where it is a minority language
Flag of La Francophonie.svg
This article is part of the series on:
French language
French (français, French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃sɛ]) is a Romance language spoken as a first language by about 136 million people, worldwide.[1][10] Around 190 million people speak French as a second language,[11] and an additional 200 million speak it as an acquired foreign language.[12] French speaking communities are present in 57 countries and territories.[4] Most native speakers of the language live in France, where the language originated. The rest live essentially in Canada, particularly Quebec, as well as Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and certain places in the U.S. states of Maine[13] and Louisiana.[14] Most second-language speakers of French live in Francophone Africa, arguably exceeding the number of native speakers.[15]
French is a descendant of the Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are national languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian and Catalan, and minority languages ranging from Occitan to Neapolitan and many more. Its closest relatives however are the other langues d'oïl and French-based creole languages. Its development was also influenced by the native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.
It is an official language in 29 countries, most of which form what is called, in French, La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking nations. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations. According to the European Union, 129 million (or 26% of the Union's total population), in 27 member states speak French, of which 65 million are native speakers and 69 million claim to speak French either as a second language or as a foreign language, making it the third most spoken second language in the Union, after English and German. Twenty-percent of non-Francophone Europeans know how to speak French, totalling roughly 145.6 million people.[16]. In addition, prior to the mid 20th century, French served as the pre-eminent language of diplomacy among European and colonial powers as well as a lingua franca among the educated classes of Europe.
As a result of France's extensive colonial ambitions between the 17th and 20th centuries, French was introduced to America, Africa, Polynesia, and the Caribbean.

Geographic distribution

Europe

Legal status in France

According to the Constitution of France, French has been the official language since 1992.[17] (although previous legal texts have made it official since 1539, see ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts). France mandates the use of French in official government publications, public education except in specific cases (though these dispositions are often ignored) and legal contracts; advertisements must bear a translation of foreign words.
In addition to French, there are also a variety of regional languages and dialects. France has signed the European Charter for Regional Languages, but has not ratified it since that would go against the 1958 Constitution.[citation needed]

Switzerland

French is one of the four official languages of Switzerland (along with German, Italian and Romansh) and is spoken in the part of Switzerland called Romandie. French is the native language of about 20% of the Swiss population.
Most of Swiss French is mutually compatible with the standard French spoken in France, but it is often used with small differences, such as those involving some numbers.

Belgium

Bilingual signs in Brussels.
In Belgium, French is the official language of Wallonia (excluding the East Cantons, which are German-speaking) and one of the two official languages —along with Dutch— of the Brussels-Capital Region where it is spoken by the majority of the population, though often not as their primary language.[18] French and German are not official languages nor recognized minority languages in the Flemish Region, although along borders with the Walloon and Brussels-Capital regions, there are a dozen municipalities with language facilities for French speakers. A mirror situation exists for the Walloon Region with respect to the Dutch and German languages. In total, native French speakers make up about 40% of the country's population, while the remaining 60% speak Dutch as a first language. Of the latter, 59% claim to speak French as a second language, meaning that about three quarters of the Belgian population can speak French.[19][20]

Monaco and Andorra

Although Monégasque is the national language of the Principality of Monaco, French is the only official language, and French nationals make up some 47% of the population.
Catalan is the only official language of Andorra; however, French is commonly used because of the proximity to France. French nationals make up 7% of the population.
Knowledge of French in the European Union and candidate countries[21]

Italy

French is also an official language, along with Italian, in the small region of Aosta Valley, Italy[22], although most people speak the Franco-Provençal dialect, they use standard French to write. That is because the international recognition of Franco-Provençal as a separated language was quite recent.

Luxembourg

French is one of three official languages of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, alongside German and Luxembourgish, the natively spoken language of Luxembourg. Luxembourg's education system is trilingual: the first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German; while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French.

The United Kingdom and the Channel Islands

French is a large minority language and immigrant language in the UK, with over 300,000 French-born people in the UK. It is also the most popular foreign language. French is understood by 23% of the UK population.[23]
A large portion of words of the English language (originating in Great Britain) are of French root or origin. This is partly due to the Norman Invasion, which led to Norman French becoming the language of administration for a period in history and the use of French by sections of the aristocracy and upper classes (while the peasants and lower classes spoke an Anglo-Saxon language).
French is an official language in Jersey and Guernsey, the two bailiwicks collectively referred to as the Channel Islands, although they are separate entities. Both use French to some degree, mostly in an administrative or ceremonial capacity. Jersey Legal French is the standardized variety used in Jersey. However, Norman is the historical vernacular langue d'Oïl of the islands.

Americas

Canada

An "arrêt" sign (French for "stop") in Quebec.
French is the second most common language in Canada, after English, and both are official languages at the federal level. French is the sole official language in the province of Quebec, being the mother tongue for some 6.8 million people, or almost 80.1 % (2006 Census) of the Province. About 95.0 % of the people of Quebec speak French as either their first or second language, and for some as their third language. Quebec is also home to the city of Montreal, which is the second largest French speaking city, by number of first language speakers. New Brunswick, where about a third of the population is francophone, is the only officially bilingual province. Portions of Eastern Ontario, Northeastern Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba have sizable French minorities, but its prescription as an official language in those jurisdictions and the level of francophone services varies. Smaller pockets of French speakers exist in all other provinces. 10,170,000 Canadians can speak French as either a first or second language, or 30.6% of the country. Due to the increased bilingual school programs in English Canada, the portion of Canadians proficient in French has risen significantly in the past two decades, and is still rising.
In Quebec, where the majority of French-speaking Canadians live, the Office québécois de la langue française (English: Quebec Board of the French language) regulates Quebec French and ensures the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) is respected. As Québécois live near to English-speaking regions, they are more sensitive about the language situation than the European French speakers are, and many object to the use of English words in French (anglicisms). Thus, while the word "stop" is accepted in international French, the Government of Quebec has mandated the French translation "arrêt" for use on stop signs.

Haiti

French is an official language of Haiti, although it is mostly spoken by the upper class, while Haitian Creole (a French-based creole language) is more widely spoken as a mother tongue.

French overseas departments and territories in the Americas

French is also the official language in France's overseas departments and territories of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, St. Martin and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

The United States

French language spread in the United States. Counties marked in yellow are those where 6–12% of the population speak French at home; brown, 12–18%; red, over 18%. French-based creole languages are not included.
French is the fourth[24][25] most-spoken language in the United States, after English, Spanish and Chinese, and the second most-spoken in the states of Louisiana, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Louisiana is home to many distinct dialects, of which Cajun French has the largest number of speakers. According to the 2000 US Census, there are over 194,000 people in Louisiana who speak French at home, the most of any state if Creole French is excluded.[25]
Brazil
The French language in Brazil was spoken in brief period at the colonial attempts in France antarctique and France ecquinociale. Also, the language was used by the small community of French immigrants and expatriates in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.
Today the Karipuna indigenous community (nearly 30,000 people) of Amapá in North Brazil speaks a French creole, the Lanc-Patuá, possibly related to the French Guiana Creole.

Africa

Supermarket sign in French in Dakar, Senegal.
     Countries usually considered as Francophone Africa. These countries had a population of 335 million in 2009.[26] Their population is projected to reach between 684 million[27] and 719 million[26] in 2050.      Countries sometimes considered as Francophone Africa
A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa. According to the 2007 report by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a first or a second language.[15]
French is mostly a second language in Africa, but it has become a first language in some areas, such as the region of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire[28] and in Libreville, Gabon.[29] It is not possible to speak of a single form of African French, but rather of diverse forms of African French which have developed because of the contact with many indigenous African languages.[30]
In the territories of the Indian Ocean, the French language is often spoken alongside French-derived creole languages, the major exception being Madagascar. There, a Malayo-Polynesian language (Malagasy) is spoken alongside French.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where the French language is most likely to expand, because of the expansion of education and rapid demographic growth.[31] It is also where the language has evolved the most in recent years.[32][33] Some vernacular forms of French in Africa can be difficult to understand for French speakers from other countries,[34] but written forms of the language are very closely related to those of the rest of the French-speaking world.
French is an official language in many African countries, most of them former French or Belgian colonies:
In addition, French is an administrative language and commonly used, though not on an official basis, in Mauritius and in the Maghreb states:
In Algeria, various reforms have been implemented in recent decades to improve the status of Arabic in relation to French, especially in education.
While the predominant European language in Egypt is English, French is learned by some elements of the Egyptian upper and upper-middle classes;[citation needed] for this reason, a typical educated Egyptian will learn French in addition to English at some point in his or her education. Egypt participates in La Francophonie.

French overseas departments and territories in Africa

French is also the official language of Mayotte and Réunion, two overseas territories of France located in the southwest Indian Ocean.

Asia

Lebanon

A Lebanese "mille livres" (thousand-pound) bank note
French is the official language in Lebanon, along with Arabic. It is considered an official language by the Lebanese people and is used on bank notes (along with Arabic) and on official buildings. French is widely used by the Lebanese, especially for administrative purposes, and is taught in many schools as a primary language along with Arabic.

Syria

Like Lebanon, French was official in Syria until 1943. But in contrast to Lebanon, the language is not official, but still spoken by educated groups, both elite and middle-class.

Israel

There are a significant number of second-language French-speakers in Israel who trace their origins to the Jewish communities of North Africa and Romania. Also, there has been considerable immigration of native French speakers from France in recent years.

Southeast Asia

French is an administrative language in Laos and Cambodia, although its influence has waned in recent years.[35] In colonial Vietnam, the elites spoke French, and many who worked for the French spoke a French creole known as "Tây Bồi" (now extinct). The language was also spoken by the elite in the leased territory Guangzhouwan in southern China. (See also: French Indochina)

India

French has de-jure official status in the Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry, along with the regional languages Tamil and Telugu. Some students of Tamil Nadu opt for French as their second or third language (usually behind English and Tamil).
French is commonly taught as a third language in secondary schools in most cities of Maharashtra, including Mumbai (Bombay), as part of the preparation for secondary school (X-SSC) and higher secondary school (XII-HSC) certificate examinations. Certain high-profile schools affiliated with the CBSE in the NCR offer French as an option as early as grade 4.
French is also taught in schools in Chandannagar (a former French colony in West Bengal). Students also have the option for having French as an additional subject in the secondary school (WBBSE) and higher secondary school (WBCHSE) certificate examinations. See also: French India

Oceania

French is an official language of the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu where 45% of the population can speak French.[36] In the French territory of New Caledonia, 97% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 1% have no knowledge of French.[37] In French Polynesia, 95% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas only 2% have no knowledge of French.[38] In the French territory of Wallis and Futuna, 78% of the population can speak, read and write French, whereas 17% have no knowledge of French.[39]

Dialects

History

Phonology

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
Although there are many French regional accents, foreign learners normally study only one version of the language, which has no commonly used special name.
  • There are 16 vowels in French, not all of which are used in every dialect: /a/, /ɑ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /ə/, /i/, /o/, /ɔ/, /y/, /u/, /œ/, /ø/, plus the nasalized vowels /ɑ̃/, /ɛ̃/, /ɔ̃/ and /œ̃/. In France, the vowels /ɑ/ and /œ̃/ are tending to be replaced by /a/ and /ɛ̃/ in many people's speech.
  • Voiced stops (i.e. /b d ɡ/) are typically produced fully voiced throughout.
  • Voiceless stops (i.e. /p t k/) are unaspirated.
  • Nasals: The velar nasal /ŋ/ occurs only in final position in borrowed (usually English) words: parking, camping, swing. The palatal nasal /ɲ/ can occur in word initial position (e.g. gnon), but it is most frequently found in intervocalic, onset position or word-finally (e.g. montagne).
  • Fricatives: French has three pairs of homorganic fricatives distinguished by voicing, i.e. labiodental /f/–/v/, dental /s/–/z/, and palato-alveolar /ʃ/–/ʒ/. Notice that /s/–/z/ are dental, like the plosives /t/–/d/, and the nasal /n/.
  • French has one rhotic whose pronunciation varies considerably among speakers and phonetic contexts. In general it is described as a voiced uvular fricative as in [ʁu] roue, "wheel" . Vowels are often lengthened before this segment. It can be reduced to an approximant, particularly in final position (e.g. fort) or reduced to zero in some word-final positions. For other speakers, a uvular trill is also common, and an apical trill [r] occurs in some dialects.
  • Lateral and central approximants: The lateral approximant /l/ is unvelarised in both onset (lire) and coda position (il). In the onset, the central approximants [w], [ɥ], and [j] each correspond to a high vowel, /u/, /y/, and /i/ respectively. There are a few minimal pairs where the approximant and corresponding vowel contrast, but there are also many cases where they are in free variation. Contrasts between /j/ and /i/ occur in final position as in /pɛj/ paye, "pay", vs. /pɛi/ pays, "country".
French pronunciation follows strict rules based on spelling, but French spelling is often based more on history than phonology. The rules for pronunciation vary between dialects, but the standard rules are:
  • final consonants: Final single consonants, in particular s, x, z, t, d, n and m, are normally silent. (The final letters c, r, f and l, however, are normally pronounced.)
    • When the following word begins with a vowel, however, a silent consonant may once again be pronounced, to provide a liaison or "link" between the two words. Some liaisons are mandatory, for example the s in les amants or vous avez; some are optional, depending on dialect and register, for example the first s in deux cents euros or euros irlandais; and some are forbidden, for example the s in beaucoup d'hommes aiment. The t of et is never pronounced and the silent final consonant of a noun is only pronounced in the plural and in set phrases like pied-à-terre.
    • Doubling a final n and adding a silent e at the end of a word (e.g. chienchienne) makes it clearly pronounced. Doubling a final l and adding a silent e (e.g. gentilgentille) adds a [j] sound if the l is preceded by the letter i.
  • elision or vowel dropping: Some monosyllabic function words ending in a or e, such as je and que, drop their final vowel when placed before a word that begins with a vowel sound (thus avoiding a hiatus). The missing vowel is replaced by an apostrophe. (e.g. je ai is instead pronounced and spelled → j'ai). This gives, for example, the same pronunciation for l'homme qu'il a vu ("the man whom he saw") and l'homme qui l'a vu ("the man who saw him"). However, for Belgian French the sentences are pronounced differently; in the first sentence the syllable break is as "qu'il-a", while the second breaks as "qui-l'a". It can also be noted that, in Quebec French, the second example (l'homme qui l'a vu) is more emphasized on l'a vu.

Orthography

  • Nasal: n and m. When n or m follows a vowel or diphthong, the n or m becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasalized (i.e. pronounced with the soft palate extended downward so as to allow part of the air to leave through the nostrils). Exceptions are when the n or m is doubled, or immediately followed by a vowel. The prefixes en- and em- are always nasalized. The rules are more complex than this but may vary between dialects.
  • Digraphs: French uses not only diacritics to specify its large range of vowel sounds and diphthongs, but also specific combinations of vowels, sometimes with following consonants, to show which sound is intended.
  • Gemination: Within words, double consonants are generally not pronounced as geminates in modern French (but geminates can be heard in the cinema or TV news from as recently as the 1970s, and in very refined elocution they may still occur). For example, illusion is pronounced [ilyzjɔ̃] and not [ilːyzjɔ̃]. But gemination does occur between words. For example, une info ("a news item" or "a piece of information") is pronounced [ynɛ̃fo], whereas une nympho ("a nymphomaniac") is pronounced [ynːɛ̃fo].
  • Accents are used sometimes for pronunciation, sometimes to distinguish similar words, and sometimes for etymology alone.
    • Accents that affect pronunciation
      • The acute accent (l'accent aigu), é (e.g. école—school), means that the vowel is pronounced /e/ instead of the default /ə/.
      • The grave accent (l'accent grave), è (e.g. élève—pupil) means that the vowel is pronounced /ɛ/ instead of the default /ə/.
      • The circumflex (l'accent circonflexe) ê (e.g. forêt—forest) shows that an e is pronounced /ɛ/ and that an ô is pronounced /o/. In standard French, it also signifies a pronunciation of /ɑ/ for the letter â, but this differentiation is disappearing. In the late 19th century, the circumflex was used in place of s after a vowel, where that letter s was not to be pronounced. Thus, forest became forêt and hospital became hôpital.
      • The diaeresis (le tréma) (e.g. naïf—naive, Noël—Christmas) as in English, specifies that this vowel is pronounced separately from the preceding one, not combined, and is not a schwa.
      • The cedilla (la cédille) ç (e.g. garçon—boy) means that the letter ç is pronounced /s/ in front of the hard vowels a, o and u (c is otherwise /k/ before a hard vowel). C is always pronounced /s/ in front of the soft vowels e, i, and y, thus ç is never found in front of soft vowels.
    • Accents with no pronunciation effect
      • The circumflex does not affect the pronunciation of the letters i or u, and in most dialects, a as well. It usually indicates that an s came after it long ago, as in île (island, compare with English isle).
      • All other accents are used only to distinguish similar words, as in the case of distinguishing the adverbs and ("there", "where") from the article la ("the" fem. sing.) and the conjunction ou ("or") respectively.

Writing system

French is written with the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, as well as five diacritics (the circumflex accent, acute accent, grave accent, diaeresis, and cedilla) and the two ligatures (œ) and (æ).
French spelling, like English spelling, tends to preserve obsolete pronunciation rules. This is mainly due to extreme phonetic changes since the Old French period, without a corresponding change in spelling. Moreover, some conscious changes were made to restore Latin orthography:
  • Old French doit > French doigt "finger" (Latin digitus)
  • Old French pie > French pied "foot" (Latin pes (stem: ped-))
As a result, it is difficult to predict the spelling based on the sound alone. Final consonants are generally silent, except when the following word begins with a vowel. For example, all of these words end in a vowel sound: pied, aller, les, finit, beaux. The same words followed by a vowel, however, may sound the consonants, as they do in these examples: beaux-arts, les amis, pied-à-terre.
On the other hand, a given spelling will usually lead to a predictable sound, and the Académie française works hard to enforce and update this correspondence[citation needed]. In particular, a given vowel combination or diacritic predictably leads to one phoneme.
The diacritics have phonetic, semantic, and etymological significance.
  • acute accent (é): Over an e, indicates the sound of a short ai in English, with no diphthong. An é in modern French is often used where a combination of e and a consonant, usually s, would have been used formerly: écouter < escouter. This type of accent mark is called accent aigu in French.
  • grave accent (à, è, ù): Over a or u, used only to distinguish homophones: à ("to") vs. a ("has"), ou ("or") vs. ("where"). Over an e, indicates the sound /ɛ/.
  • circumflex (â, ê, î, ô, û): Over an a, e or o, indicates the sound /ɑ/, /ɛ/ or /o/, respectively (the distinction a /a/ vs. â /ɑ/ tends to disappear in many dialects). Most often indicates the historical deletion of an adjacent letter (usually an s or a vowel): château < castel, fête < feste, sûr < seur, dîner < disner. It has also come to be used to distinguish homophones: du ("of the") vs. (past participle of devoir "to have to do something (pertaining to an act)"; note that is in fact written thus because of a dropped e: deu). (See Use of the circumflex in French) Since the 1990 orthographic rectifications, the circumflex on most i and u may be dropped as there is no change in pronouciation.
  • diaeresis or tréma (ë, ï, ü, ÿ): Indicates that a vowel is to be pronounced separately from the preceding one: naïve, Noël. A diaeresis on y only occurs in some proper names and in modern editions of old French texts. Some proper names in which ÿ appears include Aÿ (commune in canton de la Marne formerly Aÿ-Champagne), Rue des Cloÿs (alley in the 18th arrondissement of Paris), Croÿ (family name and hotel on the Boulevard Raspail, Paris), Château du Feÿ (near Joigny), Ghÿs (name of Flemish origin spelt Ghijs where ij in handwriting looked like ÿ to French clerks), l'Haÿ-les-Roses (commune between Paris and Orly airport), Pierre Louÿs (author), Moÿ (place in commune de l'Aisne and family name), and Le Blanc de Nicolaÿ (an insurance company in eastern France). The diaeresis on u appears only in the biblical proper names Archélaüs, Capharnaüm, Emmaüs, Ésaü and Saül. Nevertheless, since the 1990 orthographic rectifications, the diaeresis in words containing guë (such as aiguë or ciguë) may be moved onto the u: aigüe, cigüe.
  • umlaut: Words coming from German retain the old Umlaut (ä, ö and ü) if applicable but use French pronunciation, such as Kärcher (trade mark of a pressure washer).
  • cedilla (ç): Indicates that an etymological c is pronounced /s/ when it would otherwise be pronounced /k/. Thus je lance "I throw" (with c = [s] before e), je lançais "I was throwing" (c would be pronounced [k] before a without the cedilla). The c cedilla (ç) softens the hard /k/ sound to /s/ before the vowels a, o or u, for example ça /sa/. C cedilla is never used before the vowels e or i since these two vowels always produce a soft /s/ sound (ce, ci).
There are two ligatures, which have various origins:
  • The ligature œ is a mandatory contraction of oe in certain words. Some of these are native French words, with the pronunciation /œ/ or /ø/, e.g. sœur "sister" /sœʁ/, œuvre "work (of art)" /œvʁ/. Note that it usually appears in the combination œu; œil is an exception. Many of these words were originally written with the digraph eu; the o in the ligature represents a sometimes artificial attempt to imitate the Latin spelling: Latin bovem > Old French buef/beuf > Modern French bœuf. Œ is also used in words of Greek origin, as the Latin rendering of the Greek diphthong οι, e.g. cœlacanthe "coelacanth". These words used to be pronounced with the vowel /e/, but in recent years a spelling pronunciation with /ø/ has taken hold, e.g. œsophage /ezɔfaʒ/ or /øzɔfaʒ/. The pronunciation with /e/ is often seen to be more correct. The ligature œ is not used in some occurrences of the letter combination oe, for example, when o is part of a prefix (coexister).
  • The ligature æ is rare and appears in some words of Latin and Greek origin like ægosome, ægyrine, æschne, cæcum, nævus or uræus.[40] The vowel quality is identical to é /e/.
French writing, as with any language, is affected by the spoken language. In Old French, the plural for animal was animals. Common speakers pronounced a u before a word ending in l as the plural. This resulted in animauls. As the French language evolved, this vanished and the form animaux (aux pronounced /o/) was admitted. The same is true for cheval pluralized as chevaux and many others. In addition, castel pl. castels became château pl. châteaux.
Some proposals exist to simplify the existing writing system, but they still fail to gather interest. [41] [42] [43]

Grammar

French grammar shares several notable features with most other Romance languages, including:
French word order is Subject Verb Object, except when the object is a pronoun, in which case the word order is Subject Object Verb. Some rare archaisms allow for different word orders.

Vocabulary

The majority of French words derive from Vulgar Latin or were constructed from Latin or Greek roots. There are often pairs of words, one form being "popular" (noun), derived from Vulgar Latin, and the other one "savant" (adjective), borrowed from Classical Latin. Example:
There are also some similar examples with double nouns, where there is a common word from Vulgar Latin and a more savant word borrowed directly from Medieval Latin or Ancient Greek.
The French words which have developed from Latin are usually less recognisable than Italian words of Latin origin because as French evolved from Vulgar Latin, the unstressed final syllable of many words was dropped or elided into the following word.
It is estimated that 12% (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 (where Greek and Latin savant words are not seen as foreign). About 25% (1,054) of these foreign words come from English and are fairly recent borrowings. The others are some 707 words from Italian, 550 from ancient Germanic languages, 481 from ancient Gallo-Romance languages, 215 from Arabic, 164 from German, 160 from Celtic languages, 159 from Spanish, 153 from Dutch, 112 from Persian and Sanskrit, 101 from Native American languages, 89 from other Asian languages, 56 from other Afro-Asiatic languages, 55 from Slavic languages and Baltic languages, 10 from Basque and 144 — about three percent — from other languages.[44]

Numerals

The French counting system is partially vigesimal: twenty (vingt) is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 60 to 99. The French word for eighty, for example, is quatre-vingts, which literally means "four twenties", and soixante-quinze (literally "sixty-fifteen") means 75. This reform arose after the French Revolution to unify the different counting systems (mostly vigesimal near the coast, because of Celtic (via Breton) and Viking influences). This system is comparable to the archaic English use of score, as in "fourscore and seven" (87), or "threescore and ten" (70). In Old French (during the Middle Ages), all numbers from 30 to 99 could be said in either base 10 or base 20, e.g. vint et doze (twenty and twelve) for 32, dous vinz et diz (two twenties and ten) for 50, uitante for 80, or nonante for 90.[45]
Belgian French, Swiss French and the French used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi are different in this respect. In Belgium and Switzerland 70 and 90 are septante and nonante. In Switzerland, depending on the local dialect, 80 can be quatre-vingts (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura) or huitante (Vaud, Valais, Fribourg). Octante had been used in Switzerland in the past, but is now considered archaic.[46] In Belgium and in its former African colonies, however, quatre-vingts is universally used.
It should also be noted that French uses a period (also called a full stop) or a space to separate thousands where English uses a comma or (more recently) a space. The comma is used in French numbers as a decimal point: 2,5 = deux virgule cinq.
Cardinal numbers in French from 1 to 20 are as follows:

Examples

This section includes inline links to audio files. If you have trouble playing the files, see Wikipedia Media help.
The "Canadian" audio samples here are not necessarily from speakers of Quebec French, which has distinct regional pronunciations of certain words.references needed
English French IPA pronunciation (Canadian accent) IPA pronunciation (French accent)
French Français francais.ogg /fʀɑ̃ˈsɛ/ françaisF.ogg /fʁɑ̃se/
English Anglais anglais.ogg /ɑ̃ɡlɛ/ AnglaisF.ogg /ɑ̃ɡle/
Yes Oui (si when countering an assertion or a question expressed in the negative) oui.ogg /wi/ ouiF.ogg /wi/
No Non non.ogg /nɔ̃/ nonF.ogg /nɔ̃/
Hello! Bonjour ! (formal) or Salut ! (informal) or "Allô" (Canada or when answering on the telephone) bonjour.ogg /bɔ̃ˈʒuːʀ/ bonjourF.ogg /bɔ̃ʒuʁ/
Good evening! Bonsoir ! bonsoir.ogg /bɔ̃swɑːʀ/ bonsoirF.ogg /bɔ̃swaːʁ/
Good night! Bonne nuit ! bonne_nuit.ogg /bɔnnɥi/ Bonne_nuitF.ogg /bɔn nɥi/
Goodbye! Au revoir ! au_revoir.ogg /ɔʀˈvwɑːʀ/ au_revoirF.ogg /ɔʁ vwa/
Have a nice day! Bonne journée ! bonne_journee.ogg /bɔn ʒuʀˈne/ bonne_journéeF.ogg /bɔn ʒuʁne/
Please S’il vous plaît (formal) or S’il te plaît (informal) s_il_vous_plait.ogg /sɪlvuplɛ/ s'il_vous_plaitF.ogg /sil vu plɛ/
Thank you Merci /mɛʀˈsi/ merciF.ogg /mɛʁsi/
You are welcome De rien (informal) or Ce n’est rien (formal) ("it is nothing") or Je vous en prie (formal) or Je t’en prie (informal) /də ʁiɛ̃/
I am sorry Pardon or Je suis désolé (if male) / Je suis désolée (if female) or Excuse-moi (informal) / Excusez-moi (formal) pardon.ogg /paʁdɔ̃/ / desole.ogg /dezɔle/ pardonF.ogg /paʁdɔ̃/ / désoléF.ogg /dezɔle/
Who? Qui ? qui.ogg /ki/ quiF.ogg /ki/
What? Quoi ? (←informal; used as "What?" in English)) or Comment ? (←formal; used the same as "Pardon me?" in English) quoi.ogg /kwa/ quoiF.ogg /kwa/
When? Quand ? quand.ogg /kɑ̃/ quandF.ogg /kɑ̃/
Where? Où ? ou_french.ogg /u/ où.ogg /u/
Why? Pourquoi ? pourquoi.ogg /puʀkwa/ pourquoiF.ogg /puʁkwɑ/
What is your name? Comment vous appelez-vous ? (formal) or Comment t’appelles-tu ? (informal) /kɔmɑ̃ vu‿zap le vu/
Because Parce que / "À cause de" — literally "because of" or "due to" parce_que.ogg /paʀs(ə)kə/ parcequeF.ogg /paʁs kǝ/
For (when used as "because") Car /kaʁ/
Therefore Donc /dɔñk/ /dɔ̃k/
How? Comment ? comment.ogg /kɔmɑ̃/ commentF.ogg /kɔmɑ̃/
How much? Combien ? combien.ogg /kɔ̃ˈbjɛ̃/ combienF.ogg /kɔ̃ bjɛ̃/
I do not understand. Je ne comprends pas. je_ne_comprends_pas.ogg /ʒə nə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃ pɑ/ je_ne_comprends_pasF.ogg /ʒə nə kɔ̃pʁɑ̃ pa/
Yes, I understand. Oui, je comprends. Except when responding to a negatively posed question, in which case Si is used preferentially over Oui oui_je_comprends.ogg /wi ʒə kɔ̃pʀɑ̃/ ouiˌ_je_comprendF.ogg /wi, ʒə kɔ̃ pʁɑ̃/
I agree Je suis d’accord. D’accord can be used without je suis.
Help! Au secours ! (à l’aide !) /o səˈkuʀ/ /o səku:ʁ/
Can you help me please? Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ? / Pourriez-vous m’aider s’il vous plaît ? (formal) or Peux-tu m’aider s’il te plaît ? / Pourrais-tu m’aider s’il te plaît (informal)
Where are the toilets? Où sont les toilettes ? ou_sont_les_toilettes.ogg /u sɔ̃ le twalɛt/ où_sont_les_toilettes.ogg /u sɔ̃ le twa.lɛt/
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous l'anglais ? parlez-vous_anglais.ogg /paʀle vu ɑ̃ɡlɛ/ parlez-vous_anglaisF.ogg /paʁ le vu ɑ̃ɡ lɛ/
I do not speak French. Je ne parle pas le français. /ʒə nə paʀlə pɑ fʀɑ̃sɛ/ /ʒə nə paʁl pa fʁɑ̃sɛ/
I do not know. Je ne sais pas. /ʒə (nə) se pa/
I know. Je sais. /ʒə sɛ/
I am thirsty. J’ai soif. (literally, "I have thirst") /ʒe swaf/
I am hungry. J’ai faim. (literally, "I have hunger") /ʒe fɛ̃/
How are you? / How are things going? / How is everything? Comment allez-vous? (formal) or Ça va? / Comment ça va ? (informal)
I am (very) well / Things are going (very) well // Everything is (very) well Je vais (très) bien (formal) or Ça va (très) bien. / Tout va (très) bien (informal)
I am (very) bad / Things are (very) bad / Everything is (very) bad Je vais (très) mal (formal) or Ça va (très) mal / Tout va (très) mal (informal)
I am all right/so-so / Everything is all right/so-so Assez bien or Ça va comme ci, comme ça or simply Ça va.. (Sometimes said: « Couci, couça. », informal: "bof") i.e. « Comme ci, comme ça. »)
I am fine. Je vais bien. /ʒə vɛ bjɛ̃/

See also

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/francophonie/OIF-francophones-est2005.htm
  2. ^ http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/francophonie/francophonie.htm
  3. ^ Francophonie
  4. ^ a b Université de Laval. "Qu'est-ce que la Francophonie?". http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/francophonie/francophonie.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  5. ^ ethnologue (2000). "French". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Ethnolouge.. http://www.ethnologue.com/14/show_language.asp?code=FRN. 
  6. ^ Qu'est-ce que la Francophonie? Université Laval Retrieved 2010-3-07
  7. ^ 200 million French speakers in the world Embassy of France Retrieved 2010-3-07
  8. ^ FRENCH: a language of France Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 14th Edition Retrieved 2010-3-07
  9. ^ Cheer up French speakers, you’re not alone France 24 Retrieved 2010-3-07
  10. ^ http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/francophonie/francophonie.htm Francophonie
  11. ^ http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm
  12. ^ http://www.liceipujati.it/lingue-straniere/francese
  13. ^ Maine's French Communities FrancoMaine Retrieved 2010-3-07
  14. ^ The Cajun language La Louisiane francaise Retrieved 2010-3-07
  15. ^ a b (French) La Francophonie dans le monde 2006–2007 published by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Nathan, Paris, 2007.
  16. ^ http://cpfont.on.ca/nav/faq/Why%20learn%20French/default.htm
  17. ^ (French) Loi constitutionnelle 1992C'est à la loi constitutionnelle du 25 juin 1992, rédigée dans le cadre de l'intégration européenne, que l'on doit la première déclaration de principe sur le français, langue de la République.
  18. ^ Van Parijs, Philippe, Professor of economic and social ethics at the UCLouvain, Visiting Professor at Harvard University and the KULeuven. "Belgium's new linguistic challenge" (pdf 0.7 MB). KVS Express (supplement to newspaper De Morgen) March–April 2006: Article from original source (pdf 4.9 MB) pages 34–36 republished by the Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy — Directorate-general Statistics Belgium. http://www.statbel.fgov.be/studies/ac699_en.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-05.  — The linguistic situation in Belgium (and in particular various estimations of the population speaking French and Dutch in Brussels) is discussed in detail.
  19. ^ (French) "La dynamique des langues en Belgique" (pdf). Regards économiques, Publication préparée par les économistes de l'Université Catholique de Louvain (Numéro 42). June 2006. http://regards.ires.ucl.ac.be/Archives/RE042.pdf. Retrieved 7 May 2007. "Les enquêtes montrent que la Flandre est bien plus multilingue, ce qui est sans doute un fait bien connu, mais la différence est considérable : alors que 59 % et 53 % des Flamands connaissent le français ou l'anglais respectivement, seulement 19 % et 17 % des Wallons connaissent le néerlandais ou l'anglais. … 95 pour cent des Bruxellois déclarent parler le français, alors que ce pourcentage tombe à 59 pour cent pour le néerlandais. Quant à l’anglais, il est connu par une proportion importante de la population à Bruxelles (41 pour cent)". 
  20. ^ 40%+60%*59%=75.4%
  21. ^ Source: EUROPA, data for EU25, published before 2007 enlargement.
  22. ^ Vda.it
  23. ^ EUROPA
  24. ^ National Virtual Translation Center — Languages Spoken in the U.S.
  25. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Summary File 3 — Language Spoken at Home: 2000.
  26. ^ a b Population Reference Bureau. "2009 World Population Data Sheet" (PDF). http://www.prb.org/pdf09/09wpds_eng.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  27. ^ United Nations. "World Population Prospects - The 2008 Revision" (PDF). http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_highlights.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  28. ^ (French) Le français à Abidjan : Pour une approche syntaxique du non-standard by Katja Ploog, CNRS Editions, Paris, 2002.
  29. ^ (French) "De plus, le français est également devenu la langue maternelle de plus de 30 % des Librevillois et il est de plus en plus perçu comme une langue gabonaise."
  30. ^ (French) "En Afrique, il est impossible de parler d'une forme unique du français mais..."
  31. ^ France-Diplomatie "Furthermore, the demographic growth of Southern hemisphere countries leads us to anticipate a new increase in the overall number of French speakers."
  32. ^ (French) "Le français, langue en évolution. Dans beaucoup de pays francophones, surtout sur le continent africain, une proportion importante de la population ne parle pas couramment le français (même s'il est souvent la langue officielle du pays). Ce qui signifie qu'au fur et à mesure que les nouvelles générations vont à l'école, le nombre de francophones augmente : on estime qu'en 2015, ceux-ci seront deux fois plus nombreux qu'aujourd'hui."
  33. ^ (French) c) Le sabir franco-africain: "C'est la variété du français la plus fluctuante. Le sabir franco-africain est instable et hétérogène sous toutes ses formes. Il existe des énoncés où les mots sont français mais leur ordre reste celui de la langue africaine. En somme, autant les langues africaines sont envahies par les structures et les mots français, autant la langue française se métamorphose en Afrique, donnant naissance à plusieurs variétés."
  34. ^ (French) République centrafricaine: Il existe une autre variété de français, beaucoup plus répandue et plus permissive : le français local. C'est un français très influencé par les langues centrafricaines, surtout par le sango. Cette variété est parlée par les classes non instruites, qui n'ont pu terminer leur scolarité. Ils utilisent ce qu'ils connaissent du français avec des emprunts massifs aux langues locales. Cette variété peut causer des problèmes de compréhension avec les francophones des autres pays, car les interférences linguistiques, d'ordre lexical et sémantique, sont très importantes. (One example of a variety of African French that is difficult to understand for European French speakers).
  35. ^ French Declines in Indochina, as English Booms, International Herald Tribune, 16 October 1993: "In both Cambodia and Laos, French remains the official second language of government."
  36. ^ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. "Estimation du nombre de francophones dans le monde1". http://20mars.francophonie.org/IMG/pdf/FICHE_03_Nombre_de_francophones.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  37. ^ (French) INSEE, Government of France. "P9-1 - Population de 14 ans et plus selon la connaissance du français, le sexe, par commune, "zone" et par province de résidence" (XLS). http://www.insee.fr/fr/ppp/ir/rpnc04/dd/excel/rpnc04_P9-1.xls. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  38. ^ (French) Institut Statistique de Polynésie Française (ISPF). "Recensement 2007 - Langues : Chiffres clés". http://www.ispf.pf/ISPF/EnqRep/Recensement/Recens2007/Themes/Langues.aspx. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  39. ^ (French) INSEE, Government of France. "Tableau Pop_06_1 : Population selon le sexe, la connaissance du français et l'âge décennal" (XLS). http://www.insee.fr/fr/ppp/bases-de-donnees/irweb/rpwf08/dd/excel/rpwf08_Pop_06.xls. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  40. ^ (French) La ligature æ.
  41. ^ (French) Ortofasil writing system proposal.
  42. ^ (French) Alfograf writing system proposal.
  43. ^ (French) Ortograf.net writing system proposal.
  44. ^ Walter & Walter 1998.
  45. ^ Einhorn, E. (1974). Old French: A Concise Handbook. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0521098386. 
  46. ^ (French) "Septante, octante (huitante), nonante". langue-fr.net. http://www.langue-fr.net/spip.php?article202. . See also the English Wikipedia article on Welsh language, especially the section "Counting system" and its note on the influence of Celtic in the French counting system.

External links

French language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
French language edition of Wikisource, the free-content library

Courses and tutorials

Online dictionaries

Vocabulary

Audio


Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Topic:French article)

From Wikiversity

Courses in French
Course #1: Français I
Course #2: Français II
Course #3: Français III
Course #4: Français IV
Course #5: La Littérature du 18e siècle



Flag of France.svg Bienvenue au Département de français de la Wikiversité !
French Division
Welcome to the French Department at Wikiversity, part of the Center for Foreign Language Learning and the School of Language and Literature.

Introduction to French

French is spoken all around the world.
French (français, fʁɑ̃sɛ)) is today spoken around the world by 72 to 130 million people as a native language, and by about 190 to 600 million people as a second or third language, with significant speakers in 54 countries. Most native speakers of the language live in France, where the language originated. The rest live in Canada, Belgium and Switzerland.
French is a descendant of the Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Romanian. Its development was also influenced by the native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and by the Germanic language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.
It is an official language in 31 countries, most of which form what is called in French "La Francophonie": the community of French-speaking nations. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations.
To show your interest in the French department, sign up at the French stream.

Courses/Projects

Streams

Courses, Lessons and Resources

Courses currently being offered by the French Department:
Other Resources:
Other projects:

Planned

  • Français III
  • Français IV

Tasks

  1. Use existing Wikibooks materials in the French Department (e.g. why not create a quiz ?)
  2. Merge current pages with Wikibooks.

Language References

Vocabulary

Verb conjugation

Typing Accents

Department news

  • November 4th, 2008 The French Mentoring project has been launched!
  • June 11th 2008 French Literature has been created and new interest in French Department has been received.
  • December 25th 2006 The French Department's first course, Français I is in development!
  • September 27th, 2006 - Department founded!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to French article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has articles on:
wikiquote-logo.png
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Wikibooks
Wikibooks has more about this subject:
See also french

Contents

English

Most common English words: returned « seems « soul « #403: French » family » earth » live

Etymology

From Middle English, from Old English frencisc (Frankish), from franca (Frank).

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
French
Plural
-
French
  1. A Romance language spoken primarily in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec and many former French colonies.
  2. (preceded by the and plural in form) The people of France collectively.
    The French and the English have often been at war.
  3. (informal) Vulgar language.
    Pardon my French.

Derived terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Adjective

French (comparative more French, superlative most French)
Positive
French
Comparative
more French
Superlative
most French
  1. Of or relating to France.
    the French border with Italy
  2. Of or relating to the French people.
    French customs
  3. Of or relating to the French language.
    French verbs

Derived terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb

Infinitive
to French
Third person singular
Frenches
Simple past
Frenched
Past participle
Frenched
Present participle
Frenching
to French (third-person singular simple present Frenches, present participle Frenching, simple past and past participle Frenched)
  1. (transitive) To kiss (another person) while inserting one’s tongue into the other person's mouth.
  2. (intransitive) To kiss in this manner.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

External links


Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to French article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Infobox/French
French/Print version
:media:French.pdf
Birds flying at the speed of sound (73634731).jpg
Contents page.

Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 07, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on French language, which are similar to those in the above article.








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message