Linguistic Change in French

By Rebecca Posner | Go to book overview
After all, 'a language' is not ever a tangible reality, yet it is a shared communal heritage, a manifestation of collective memory. Whereas in the seventeenth century literary French was, like culture, manners, and honour, a prerogative of the élite, a means of establishing and reinforcing authority, at the end of the eighteenth century it came to be regarded as a manifestation of the spirit of the people. What could be more imaginaire than that?So the history of a language is a kind of history, not so much of events but of representations and of myths. Not that there are not relevant events -- Villers Cotterêts 1539, the founding of the Académie Française 1635, the edicts of the Revolutionary assemblies, etc. -- but these legislative acts reflect a desire to influence reality, rather than being imposed by reality: l'imaginaire precedes le réel.
FURTHER READING
On the history of French basic works include: Allières 1982, Ayres-Bennett 1996, Berschin et al. 1978, Brunot 1905-79, Caput 1972-5, Cerquiglini 1991, Chaurand 19772, Cohen 19723, Ewert 1933., A François 1959, Holtus et al. (eds.) 1988- , vol. 5. 1 (1990), Kukenheim 1967-8, Lodge 1993, Marchello-Nizia 1995, Nyrop 1899-1930, Picoche and Marchello- Nizia 1989, Pope 1934, Price 1971, Regula 1955-66, Rickard 19892, Togeby 1974, Walter 1988, Wartburg 197010. For bibliography, see especially Wagner 1955a, b, R. Martin 1973, and Bal et al. 1991, and the yearly reports in The Year's Work in Moderne Languages, and the topical reading lists in La Langue Française. Relevant studies are to be found in most linguistic journals and especially in those devoted to historical linguistics, like Diachronica and Folia Linguistica Historica. Journals specializing in Romance languages, in particular, like Journal of French Language Studies, Le Franç4ais Moderne, La Langue Française, Revue des langues romanes, Revue de linguistique romane, Revue romane, Romanische Forschungen, Romance Philology, Vox Romanica, and Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie carry articles on French linguistic history. Further contributions appear in the Actes of the triennial international congress of the Société de Linguistique Romane, and in the published papers from the annual American linguistic symposium on the Romance languages.
On the Romance languages, consult especially Harris and Vincent 1988, Holtus et al. (eds.) 1988- , Iordanet al. 1970, Posner 1966a, 1996, Posner and Green (eds.) 1980-93. A new giant collaborative series on the History of the Romance Languages was announced in 1995 by Mouton-De Gruyter, Berlin.

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Linguistic Change in French
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Tables xvi
  • List of Figures xviii
  • Conventions and Abbreviations xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Further Reading 8
  • Part I: Language Change 9
  • 1 - Defining the Domain 11
  • Further Reading 55
  • 2 - Sociolinguistic History of French 57
  • Part Ii: Linguistic Change 103
  • 3 - Processes of Linguistic Change 105
  • Further Reading 142
  • 4 - Lexical Change 143
  • 5 - Semantic Change 185
  • Further Reading 214
  • 6 - Phonological Change 216
  • Further Reading 292
  • 7 - Morphological Change 294
  • Further Reading 343
  • 8 - Syntactic Change 344
  • Further Reading 416
  • In Place of a Conclusion 419
  • Bibliography 425
  • Name Index 489
  • Subject Index 499
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