9780312341831

The Story of French

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780312341831

  • ISBN10:

    0312341830

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2006-11-14
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press

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Summary

Why does everything sound better if it's said in French? That fascination is at the heart ofThe Story of French,the first history of one of the most beautiful languages in the world that was, at one time, the pre-eminent language of literature, science and diplomacy. Nadeau and Barlow chart the history of a language spoken as a native tongue by 130 million people around the globe. The first document written in the French was signed by the sons of Charlemagne in 832. After this, Latin was purged from the courts of France by Francois 1st, giving root to French speakers' 21st century obsession with language protection. The obsession progressed as Cardinal Richelieu established the French Academy, a group entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the language pure and eloquent. As French circled the globe, the international cast of characters included Montaigne, Catherine the Great, Frederic II of Prussia, the guides of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jules Verne, and others. Let Nadeau and Barlow guide you through the story of a language used to write some of the world's great masterpieces of literature, construct some of the most important documents of diplomacy, bedevil millions with its vagaries of pronunciation and beguile everyone with its beauty.

Author Biography

Partners in life and in writing, Canadian journalist-authors JEAN-BENOÎT NADEAU and JULIE BARLOW are award-winning contributors to L’actualité. Their writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, Saturday Night, The Christian Science Monitor and the International Herald Tribune, among others. In 2003, Nadeau and Barlow published their critical and popular success, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong. They live in Montreal.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Linguistic Map of France in the Middle Ages x
Map of the French-Speaking World
xi
Introduction 1(18)
PART ONE - ORIGINS
The Romance of French
19(25)
In French and Not Otherwise
44(18)
The Dawn of Purism
62(29)
PART TWO - SPREAD
Far from the Sun
91(24)
The Language of Genius
115(21)
Revolutionary French
136(19)
New Sanctuaries
155(18)
French without Faute
173(19)
Tool for an Empire
192(20)
Lost Worlds
212(29)
PART THREE - ADAPTATION
The Power of Attraction
241(16)
The Invention of Cultural Diplomacy
257(18)
A New Playing Field
275(20)
Choosing French
295(24)
Rocking the Boat
319(19)
The Francophonie
338(29)
PART FOUR - CHANGE
The Struggle for Standards
367(24)
Protecting the Future
391(28)
Global Hesitations
419(22)
The Unwritten Chapters
441(10)
Appendices 451(10)
Selected Bibliography 461(6)
Index 467

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