Text Box: Dr Sophie Marnette, Balliol College
Sophie.marnette@balliol.ox.ac.uk

 

 

Tutorials Paper IV: History of the French Language

 

Description of Paper IV

What to Do for your Tutorials

Texts set for Paper IV

 

Reading List:

Ayres-Bennett, W. 1996. A History of the French Language through Texts. Routledge. London and New York. **

Ayres-Bennett, W. and J. Carruthers with R. Temple. 2001. Studies in the Modern French Language: Problems and Perspectives. Longman. London.

Ayres-Bennett, Wendy. 2002. "Socio-historical linguistics and the history of French". Journal of French Language Studies. 11. 2. p 159-178.

Chaurand, J. (ed.). 1999. Nouvelle histoire de la langue française. Paris. Seuil.

Crowley, T. 1992 . An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

Harris, M. 1978 . The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. Longman. London and New York.**

Lodge, Anthony. 1993. French . From Dialect to Standard. Routledge. London.**

Marchello-Nizia, C. 1999. Le français en diachronie : douze siècles d'évolution. Ophrys. Gap.**

Perret, M. Introduction à l'Histoire de la langue francaise. SEDES. Paris.

Picoche, J & C. Marchello-Nizia. 1989. Histoire de la langue française . Nathan. Paris.

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London.**

Rickard, P. 1989. A History of the French Language. Routledge. London.

Schwegler, A. 1990 . Analyticity and Syntheticity. A diachronic Perspective with Special Reference to Romance Languages. Mouton de Gruyter. Berlin. New York.

Trask, R. L. 1996. Historical Linguistics. Arnold. Edward Arnold. London.

Walter, H. 1988. Le français dans tous les sens. Robert Laffont. Paris.

 

Items marked with •• must be read; it is advised to read at least a few of the others.

 

A. Spelling

'L'écriture et la prononciation sont, dans notre langue, deux forces constamment en lutte'. Discuss with an historical perspective as well as references to the most recent 'rectifications' of 1990 (which was re-discussed in Spring 2016).

References:

'Rectifications 1990' See website: http://www.academie-francaise.fr/sites/academie-francaise.fr/files/rectifications_1990.pdf

Arrivé, M. 1993. Réformer l'orthographe? Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Blanche-Benveniste, C. and A. Chervel. 1969. L'Orthographe. Maspero. Paris.

Catach, N. 1993. 'Reform of the Writing System'. In Sanders, C. (ed.) 1993. French Today: Language in its Social Contex. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. pp 139-54.

Catach, N. 1991. L'Orthographe en débat. Nathan. Paris.

Catach, N. 1978. L'orthographe. PUF (Que Sais-je?). Paris. 6th edition revised : 1995.

Cerquiglini, B. Le Roman de l'Orthographe: Au paradis des mots avant la faute. Minuit. Paris.

Cerquiglini, B. 1995. L'accent du souvenir. Minuit. Paris.

Desirat & Horde. La langue française au vingtième siecle (Chapter 7).

Goosse, A. 1991. La 'nouvelle' orthographe. Exposés et commentaires. Duculot. Paris et Louvain-la-Neuve.

Martinet, A. 1969. Le français sans fard. PUF. Paris. (Chapter 5).

Masson, M.1991. L'orthographe : guide pratique de la réforme. Paris. Le Seuil.

Picoche, J & C. Marchello-Nizia. 1989. Histoire de la langue française . Nathan. Paris. chapt. VII. (Recommended).

Rey-Debove, Josette et Béatrice Le Beau-Beusa. 1991. La réforme de l'orthographe au banc d'essai du Robert. Dictionnaire Le Robert. Paris.

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B. Lexicon

Essay: 'The methods used to create new words are no different today from these used in the Middle Ages.' Discuss.

 

References:

Ayres-Bennett, W. and J. Carruthers with R. Temple. 2001. Studies in the Modern French Language: Problems and Perspectives. Longman. London. Chapter 12.

Chaurand, J. Introduction à l'histoire du vocabulaire français (1977)

Hagège, C. 1987. Le Français et les siècles. Jacob. Paris.

Mitterand, H. 1963. Les Mots français.PUF (que sais-je). Paris.

Picoche, J & C. Marchello-Nizia. 1989. Histoire de la langue française . Nathan. Paris. chap. 10, "Le lexique", pp. 321-365 (recommended)

Wise, H. 1997. The Vocabulary of Modern French: Origins, Structure and Function. Routledge. London-New York:

For fun reading, check out all the books by Henriette Walter (they have been translated in English).

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C. Word Order

Discuss (keeping in mind the structure of written and spoken French):

Until the 12th-c, the general structure of the sentence was 'communicative' (in French 'informationnelle', see Marchello-Nizia 1999, p 47), i.e. of the type 'topic-comment'. From the 13th-c. onwards, the structure evolved towards a 'syntactic structure', where the word order was determined by grammatical functions.

 

References:

Ashby, W. J. 1988. 'The Syntax, Pragmatics, and Sociolinguistics of Left- and Right-Dislocations in French'. Lingua. 75, p 203-29.

Ayres-Bennett, W. and J. Carruthers with R. Temple. 2001. Studies in the Modern French Language: Problems and Perspectives. Longman. London. Chapter 9.

Buridant, Claude. 2000. Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien français. Sedes. Paris. "L’ordre des constituants" (chap. 29, p 741-756)

Harris, M. 1985 'Word Order in Contemporary French:A Functional View', Working Papers in Fonctional Gramar, 1:1-16.

Harris, M. 1978 . The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. Longman. London and New York. chap. 2.

Jones, M.A. 1996. Foundations of French Syntax, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

Lambrecht, K. 1987. 'On the Status of SVO Sentences in French Discourse', in Tomlin, R.S. (ed.). Coherence and Grounding in Discourse: Typological Studies in Language, Amsterdam: Benjamins, vol II. p. 217-61.

Lambrecht, Knud. 1984. 'A pragmatic constraint on lexical subjects in spoken French.' Papers from the regional meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society. 20:239-56.

Lambrecht, Knud. 1981. Topic, antitopic, and verb agreement in non-standard French. Amsterdam : Philadelphia, Pa : J. Benjamins.

Marchello-Nizia, C. 1999. Le français en diachronie : douze siècles d'évolution. Ophrys. Gap. p 35-59. (Recommended)

Marchello-Nizia, C. 1995 . L'Evolution du français . Ordre des mots. démonstratifs. accent tonique. Armand Colin. Paris. Chapters 2 and 3 (More difficult than Marchello-Nizia 1999).

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London. chap 20.

Travaux de Linguistique 14/15. 1987.

Langue française 111. 1996.

 

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D. The Old French Case System

'The Disappearance of the declension system imposed on the French language a rigidity from which it is only now beginning to free itself.' Discuss (making sure that you know how the Old French Case system operated, how it disappeared and what its relationship to word order was).

 

References:

Anglade, J. 1965. Grammaire élémentaire de l’ancien français. A. Colin. Paris. pp 75-85.

Buridant, Claude. 2000. Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien français. Sedes. Paris. Le substantif (includes declension), p 59-104

Einhorn, E. 1974. Old French : A concise handbook. CUP. Cambridge. pp. 14-19

Foulet, L. Petite syntaxe de l’ancien français. Champion. Paris. pp. 3-44.

Harris, M. 1978. The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. Longman. London and New York. chap. 1-3.

Marchello-Nizia, C. 1999. Le français en diachronie : douze siècles d'évolution. Ophrys. Gap. pp 35-59.

Marchello-Nizia, C. 1995 . L'Evolution du français . Ordre des mots. démonstratifs. accent tonique. Armand Colin. Paris. Chapters 2 and 3 (More difficult than Marchello-Nizia 1999).

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London. chap 20.

Schøsler, Lene. 2013. ‘The Development of the Declension System’. In Deborah Arteaga (ed.) Research on Old French: The State of the Art. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 167-186.

 

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E. Pronouns

Classical Latin

Librum lego. (Book / I read) I read the book.

Quis librum legit? (Who/ book/ reads?) Who does read the book?

- Ego librum lego. - I / book / I read) - It is I who read the book.

 

Old French

Et qui i sera ? - Jo.

Translation: Et qui y sera? - Moi

 

Old French (11th-c. St. Alexis)

'Or sui jo vedve, sire' dist la pulcela,

'Jamais ledece n'avrai, ...

Translation: 'Maintenant je suis veuve, sire, dit la jeune fille / Jamais je n'aurai de joie, ...

 

Old French (11th-c, Song of Roland)

Jo ne vos pois tenser ne garir

Translation: Je ne peux vous défendre ou vous sauver.

 

Modern Spoken French

Moi je sais pas il est Bernard.

On the base of the above examples, describe how the difference between Modern French "je" and "moi" was expressed in Latin, how it was expressed in Old French and how (and why) it evolved to the final example in Modern Spoken French. While answering this question, pay attention to the distinction between stressed and unstressed pronouns, conjunctive and disjunctive pronouns.

 

References:

Harris, M. 1978. The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. London and New York: Longman. chap. 5

Buridant, Claude. 2000. Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien français. Sedes. Paris. "Le pronom personnel", chapter 11. p 407-469.

Lambrecht, Knud. 1981. Topic, antitopic, and verb agreement in non-standard French. Amsterdam : Philadelphia, Pa : J. Benjamins. Chapter 2.

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London. 11.1 - 11.6

Schwegler, A. 1990 . Analyticity and Syntheticity. A diachronic Perspective with Special Reference to Romance Languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Chap. 4

Michael Zimmermann, 2014. Expletive and referential pronouns in Medieval French. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (available online via Solo)

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F. Negation

Describe the chronology of the loss of ne from Latin to Contemporary French and the explanations that have been given for this change. Pay attention to the type of data used by linguists for their specific theories.

 

References:

Armstrong, Nigel & Alan Smith. 2002. "The influence of linguistic and social factors on the recent decline of French ne". Journal of French Language Studies. 12.1. (available online via Solo)

Ashby, W.J. 2001. "Un nouveau regard sur la chute du ne en français parlé tourangeau: s'agit-il d'un changement en cours?". Journal of French Language Studies. 11:1-22. (available online via Solo)Recommended

Ashby, W.J. 1991. 'When Does Variation Indicate Linguistic Change in Progress', Journal of French Language Studies. 1:1-19. (available online via Solo)

Ashby, W.J. 1981. 'The Loss of the Negative Particle ne in French: A Syntactic Change in Progress', Language. 57:674-87.

Ashby, W.J. 1976. 'The Loss of the Negative Morpheme, ne in Parisian French', Lingua 39:119-37.

Ayres-Bennett, W. and J. Carruthers with R. Temple. 2001. Studies in the Modern French Language: Problems and Perspectives. Longman. London. Chapter 11 Recommended

Ayres-Bennett, W. 1994. 'Negative Evidence: Or Another Look at the Non-Use of Negative ne in Seventeenth-Century French', French Studies. 48:63-85. Recommended

Buridant, Claude. 2000. Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien français. Sedes. Paris. "La négation", p 699-724.

Coveney, A. 1998. 'Awareness of Linguistic Constraints on Variable ne Omission', Journal of French Language Studies. 8:159-87. (available online via Solo)

Coveney, A. 1996. Variability in Spoken French: A Sociolinguistic Study of interrogation and Negation. Elm Bank. Exeter.

Gregory, S. 1997. 'Negative particles in French prose id the twelfth century'. In Gregory, S. & D. A. Trotter (eds). De mot en mot, Aspects of medieval Linguistics. Essays in honour of William Rothwell. University of Wales Press. Cardiff. pp 37-51.

Larrivée, Pierre and Richard Ingham (eds). 2011. The Evolution of Negation: Beyond the Jespersen Cycle. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (available online via solo)

Mosegaard Hansen, Maj-Britt  and Jacqueline Visconti (eds). 2014. The Diachrony of Negation. (Studies in Language Companion Series, 160.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 258 pp.

Pohl, J. 1968. 'Ne dans le français parlé contemporain: les modalités de son abandon', in Quilis, A. (ed). Actas del XI Congreso Internacional de Linguistica y filologia románicas, vol. 3, Madrid: n.p., pp.1343-58.

Pohl, J. 1975. 'L'Omission de ne dans le français contemporain', Le Français dans le monde 111:17-23.

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London

Price, G. 1997. 'Negative particles in French'. In Gregory, S. & D. A. Trotter (eds). De mot en mot, Aspects of medieval Linguistics. Essays in honour of William Rothwell. University of Wales Press. Cardiff. pp 173-90

Willis, David W. E. ; Lucas, Christopher  and Anne Breitbarth (eds.) 2013. The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. (available online via solo)

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G. Notions of "Analogy", "Simplification", "Reinforcement

Define and illustrate the notions of simplification, analogy and reinforcement with examples taken from the history of French syntax and morphology.

References:

Harris, M. 1978 . The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. Longman. London and New York. chap. 1 + description of the evolution of negation.

Trask, R. L. 1996. Historical Linguistics. Arnold. Edward Arnold. London. pp 102-159.

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H. Past Tenses: Passé Simple - Passé Composé

Classical Latin

Librum legisti.

(book/ you have read)

You have read a/the book.

 

In ea provincia pecunias magnas collocatas habent

(In that province / huge sums invested / they have)

They have huge sums invested in that province.

 

Late latin

Promissum habeo nihil sine eius consilio agere.

(Promised I have / nothing/ without of him advice / to do)

I have promised to do nothing without taking his advice.

 

Old French (12th-c)

A sa meson va li portiers;

L'enfant aporte volentiers,

Si l'a a la dame mostré;

Et ele l'a molt esgardé

Et dit que norrir le fera.

Translation: Le portier va dans sa maison./ Il apporte volontiers l'enfant./ Il l'a montré à la dame/ Et elle l'a beaucoup regardé / Et dit qu'elle le fera élever.

 

Etcherelli, Elise ou la vraie vie

En redescendant vers les Ternes, il me dit "Tu as froid", et nous entrâmes dans un établissement la terrasse était chauffée. Mais il préféra l'intérieur, choisit deux places et commanda deux thés.

 

On the base of the above examples, trace the evolution of the aspectual meaning of passé composé from Old French to Modern French and show its position with regard to present indicative on one hand and passé simple on the other hand. While answering this question, pay attention to the following subquestions:

1) Do tenses carry other values than temporality and if so, which ones?

2) What do these examples tell us about the formation of the passé composé from Latin to Modern French?

3) How do the Modern French passé composé verbs differ from the corresponding verbs in Old French?

4) If you transpose the Etcherelli's excerpt in passé composé, how does it affect the meaning of the text?

References:

Ayres-Bennett, W. and J. Carruthers with R. Temple. 2001. Studies in the Modern French Language: Problems and Perspectives. Longman. London. Chapters 5 & 6.

Buridant, Claude. 2000. Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien français. Sedes. Paris. "Les temps grammaticaux", p 361-385

Fleischman, S. 1990.Tense and Narrativity . From Medieval Performance to Modern Fiction. University of Texas Press. Austin.

Harris, M. 1978 . The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. Longman. London and New York. chap. 6

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London. 13.1  13.6, 15.3, 15.5, 17.1  17.7, 18.2

Schwegler, A. 1990 . Analyticity and Syntheticity. A diachronic Perspective with Special Reference to Romance Languages. Mouton de Gruyter. Berlin. New York. Chap. 5

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I. Mood and Modality: Subjunctive

Compare and contrast the use of the subjunctive in Old French and Modern French. (make sure to explain the concepts of mood and modality).

 

References:

Ayres-Bennett, W. and J. Carruthers with R. Temple. 2001. Studies in the Modern French Language: Problems and Perspectives. Longman. London. Chapter 7.

Cohen, M. 1965. Le subjonctif en français contemporain . Société d'édition de l'enseignement supérieur. Paris.

Foulet, Lucien. 1970. Petite syntaxe de l'ancien français. Paris. Champion. pp. 203-15.

Harris, M. 1978. The Evolution of French Syntax. A Comparative Approach. Longman. London and New York. chapt. 7.

Imbs, P. 1953. Le subjonctif en français moderne. Strasbourg.

Laurier, M. 1989. 'Le Subjonctif dans le parler franco-ontarien: un mode en voie de disparition?', in Mougeon, R. and E. Beniak (eds). Le Français canadien parlé hors du Québec: Aperçu sociolinguistique, Quebec: Presses de l'Université Laval, pp. 105-26.

Poplack, S. (1992). 'The Inherent Variability of the French Subjunctive', in Laeufer, C. and T.A. Morgan (eds). Theoretical Analyses in Romance Linguistics: Selected Papers from the Nineteenth Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL XIX), 21-23 April 1989, The Ohio State University, Amsterdam-Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp.235-63. (Photocopies available with Dr. Marnette).

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London.chapter 18, pp 241-251

Sand, J.U. (1983). 'Le Subjonctif en français oral', in Spore, J. and others (eds). Actes du VIIIe congrès des romanistes scandinaves, 17-21 August 1981, Odense, Odense: Odense University Press, pp.303-13.

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J. Sound Changes

Define and illustrate the following processes from the history of French: assimilation, nasalisation, palatalisation, diphtongisation.

 

References:

Ayres-Bennett, W. 1996. A History of the French Language through Texts. Routledge. London and New York.

Perret, M. Introduction à l'Histoire de la langue française. SEDES. Paris. pp 180-184

Picoche & Marchello-Nizia. 1989. Histoire de la langue française . Nathan. Paris.

Price, G. 1971 . The French Language . Present and Past. Edward Arnold. London.

M.K. Pope. 1934. From Latin to Modern French with especial consideration of Anglo-Norman Phonology and Morphology. Manchester University Press. Manchester.

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K. Text Commentary

Texts will be provided directly by Dr. Marnette. Click here to know what a linguistic commentary is.

 

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This page was last updated on 1 April 2016.