French Language History

The Language of Love

The French language ranks sixteenth in the world’s league table of languages and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. French is a Romance language spoken by about 136 million people around the world. Some of the most popular French-speaking countries are France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, the US and Lebanon. There are also French speakers in French Guiana, North, West, and Central Africa, Madagascar, Haiti, and other Caribbean islands. Around 250 million speak it as either a first or second language. Learning French is also a popular choice in school. With this large number of French speakers, it is no wonder why translating from English to French is in higher demand than ever.

One of the Most Popular Languages in the World

As one of the most popular languages in the world, every continent speaks French. French is also one of the official languages of over 22 countries. However, it is important to remember that the French language was only standardised in the 16th century. This makes it a modern language when compared to other Romance languages.

As with most modern languages, different regions and countries influence how the French language is spoken. Compared to standard French, the most remarkable difference in the French language is in the Canadian province of Quebec. There are also French Creole speakers in Louisiana, which is why learning French is a popular choice for students there.

Also, as a new language, French has had quite an influence on other languages. For example, the words “allowance,” “apostrophe,” and “mirage” are French words that are commonly used in English. These nuances often make it easy to translate English to French.

Learning French is not only popular, but it is easy as well! Learning French is easy because it is a Romance language which means it is similar to other Romance languages. As to its popularity, there are about 120 million people learning French around the world.

Origins & Roots of the French Language

French descended from Latin, just like the other Romance languages are. French first appeared in writing in 842 AD when used in the Strasbourg Oaths. Before then, Latin was the language used for all literature and official documents throughout Europe. During the 10th and 11th centuries, French appeared in several documents and religious writings. However, the French literature didn’t take off until the late 12th/early 13th century.

French is a modern language with several centuries of history associated with it. The language descended from the Indo-European family of languages which means that French has influences from several languages. This proves its resilience and shows how far the language has come. Let us now discover the three periods of French: Old, Middle and Modern.

Old, Middle and Modern French

Old French refers to the period when the different dialects of the language developed into a comparatively more standardised form. Even though this was the case, it is important to remember that the language still had separate grammar. The oldest written material of this time period dates back to the year 842 AD.

The period of the Middle French dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Middle French refers to a time when significant changes in the spoken and written versions of the language happened. During this time, the public administration began using French in all of their texts. This helps prove that the French language grew quickly in popularity.

The French language had already started replacing Latin in public institutions. However, it is important to note that there was still a long way to go for the language’s evolution. Poets and authors of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries helped this evolution tremendously. These poets and authors took it upon themselves to promote and encourage the expansion of the language with their writing. The primary aim was to help the French language reach the level or status that Latin held.

Towards the end of the modern period, there were also significant changes in the grammatical rules of the language. These changes set the tone for the form of French that we know today. This was also the time during which the language spread to countries like the United States and Canada.

French also started becoming the official language of several African states because of French colonisation. Slight changes are understandable in the evolution of any language. However, there were no significant changes to the language since the end of the 18th century.

French Translation Services

Do you have a content to translate from English to French? Are you a French-speaking organisation that would like to appeal to a more diverse global audience by translating your materials into a foreign language such as English?

There are some important tips to remember when you translate from English to French. As always, it is helpful and advisable to contact a professional translation agency to help you with your translation needs.

At Renaissance Translations, we have a large network of professional French linguists who can provide high-quality French translations in no time. Whether you’re looking for document translation services, video subtitling services, audio transcription services or voiceover services, our skilled experts can help you. Contact us to discuss your specific project needs.