A Brief History

French, a modern Roman language, evolved from Latin in the early medieval period. It was first recorded in writing in the 842 AD “Oaths of Strasbourg” – words of Charlemagne’s grandsons. It quickly became the language of the Court and spread throughout the nobility and in turn, France. In 1965, the “French Academy” was created to standardize the language’s spelling and pronunciation to steer away from regional dialects. Due to colonization and globalization, French has spread globally in North America, the Caribbean, India, Africa, and the South Pacific.

Interesting Facts About the Language

  • The way to say 80 in French – quatre-vingts, or “four twenties” – came from the Gauls, who used a base-20 counting system.
  • French is the official language of 29 independent nations.
  • The most common letter in French is “e”.
  • After the initial wave of French nobility into Canada, Canadian French began to diverge from Parisian French because of the physical distance and cultural isolation.
  • Four out of every five Quebec citizens use French daily!
  • “Franglais” borrows English words like un e-mail, the verb follower (which means to follow someone on social media), and the verb Googelizer (to search something on Google).

What French Means to Me