https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Les Portraits - A short story in French and research on French.

Story

Je marche dans la forêt, seul et apeuré . La nuit est sombre, et il n'y a personne pour m'aider. Mais je continue à marcher, en espérant trouver un endroit pour me reposer. Bientôt, je vois une lumière. Je vais vers la lumière et bientôt, je vois une cabine. Je frappe à la porte, mais personne n'ouvre. Je tente d'ouvrir la porte, et je découvre qu'elle n'est pas fermée. J'entre et je vois une petite chambre sale. Fatigué et affamé, je saute sur le seul lit.

Tout à coup, je vois d'énormes portraits avec des visages effrayants en train de me regarder. Même si ça me fait un peu peur, je m'endors. Le lendemain matin, je vois que ce ne sont pas des portraits mais d'immenses fenêtres.


Random French Facts

  1. The English Language Is 30% French

  2. Until the 19th century, French was spoken more widely in Holland and Germany than in some parts of France

  3. In French the word “you” can be formal or friendly. Generally one should use the “vous” term but if you know someone well you can use “tu”.

  4. In the US, half of foreign films watched, and 30% of foreign books read are in French.

  5. French is the main foreign language taught in Britain and remains a popular foreign language in most English speaking countries.


Statistics

French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese (over a billion speakers), English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic. There are currently over 220 million French speakers worldwide, including 72 million so-called partial French speakers. Europe accounts for 39.87% of the French-speaking population, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean for 36.03%, North Africa and the Middle East for 15.28%, America and the Caribbean for 7.66% and Asia/Oceania for 1.16%


History

The History and Origins of the French Language

The history of the development of the French language is one of invasions, wars, and the integration of peoples of other cultures. The Celts, Romans, Franks, and Vikings all contributed to the evolution of French, shaping a language that now has international reach.

French is now spoken not only in its mother country, but also in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Quebec, and in large parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.

Latin Influence

As a Romance language, French shares a common ancestor with Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, and Spanish. Latin, the language of the Roman Empire, is the mutual origin of this linguistic family, and the prehistory of French begins with the colonization of Gaul by the Romans in the first century BC. The Romans brought Latin with them, and it became a fundamental building block of French, rapidly becoming the language of politics, administration, and education.

During the course of the next five centuries the native Gaulish was gradually replaced by Latin. However, this was not a one-way relationship, and the syntax, morphology, and sounds of Latin were influenced by Gaulish; the language of the invaders started to diverge profoundly from the way it was spoken in Rome. Gaulish was not entirely eradicated, however, and traces of the Celtic language still survive in French, especially in words related to rural activities and features of the landscape.

The Germans

The Germanic hordes who invaded Gaul from the third century onwards also had a great impact on the evolution of the French language. A variety of Germanic tribal peoples made incursions into France at this time, including the Visigoths in the south west, the Burgundians in the Rhône Valley, and the Franks in the north and north east of the country. These groups brought many Germanic words to France, adding a second major linguistic building block to that of Latin, and Frankish in particular did much to shape the language. In the ninth century France was again invaded, this time by Viking raiders. Settling in present-day Normandy, they did not leave a lasting mark on the language, although they did influence many of the place names that exist to this day.

Further Evolution of the French Language

By the mid-ninth century the language spoken in France had diverged considerably from spoken Latin and had developed into a form latterly referred to as Old French. The Serments de Strasbourg (The Oaths of Strasbourg – several treaties between rulers Louis the German and Charles the Bald), written around 842, are usually seen as the starting point of the French language – it is the oldest document written in Old French and, indeed, in any Romance language.

However, the diversity of the French language was assured by the lack of political unification of the country, and a variety of dialects were spoken across France. With the Germanic influence very strong in the north of France, a linguistic frontier was created between north and south. The langue d'oc was the language group of the south of France and northern Spain, and included Gascon, Provençal and Catalan. These languages had very few Frankish influences, while the langue d'oïl of the north, which included the Picard and Francien dialects, were heavily informed by the Germanic tongue of the old Frankish invaders.

As a growing sense of nationhood emerged, the French language became more homogeneous. The way the language was spoken in Ile-de-France, the cultural and political center of the country, came to dominate and became 'standard' French. François I played an important role in this process when he signed the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts in 1539 – a piece of legislation establishing Parisian French as the language of law and administration, and prohibiting the use of Latin in these contexts. With the Renaissance and the advent of printing, regional dialects and the traces of the languages of the old invaders were increasingly replaced by standardized French, although at the same time many Latin and Greek words were borrowed in order to keep up with scientific and technical advances. In 1635 the process of standardization of the language was reinforced by the founding of the Académie française, which aimed to both purify and preserve the French language. The Académie published its first dictionary in 1694, setting a new standard for French.

All these efforts succeeded in making Parisian French the standard language of the country, but it did not mean the complete disappearance of French dialects. To this day Alsatian, Basque, Breton, and Catalan, among many others, are still spoken in France. Moreover, through extensive French colonial expansion from the seventeenth century onwards, the standard language was exported to America, Africa, and Asia, becoming a global language that was subject to the influence of local tongues. Today French is still far from being a wholly homogeneous language, and its history is still being written by the people who speak it.

August 9, 2016

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Je marche dans la forêt, seul et apeuré . La nuit est sombre, et il n'y a personne pour m'aider. Mais je continue à marcher, en espérant trouver un endroit pour me reposer. Bientôt, je vois une lumière. Je vais vers la lumière [no comma before "et"] et bientôt, je vois une cabine. Je frappe à la porte, mais personne n'ouvre. Je tente d'ouvrir la porte, et je découvre qu'elle n'est pas fermée. J'entre [no comma before "et"] et je vois une petite chambre sale. Fatigué et affamé, je saute sur le seul lit.

Tout à coup, je vois d'énormes portraits avec des visages effrayants en train de me regarder. Même si ça me fait un peu peur, je m'endors. Le lendemain matin, je vois que ce ne sont pas des portraits mais d'immenses fenêtres.

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Thank you for taking the time out to point out my mistakes. :)

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Nobody987123

Nice story! This is a fun way to practice French too. I had look up a few words, but I was able to translate a lot of it on my own.

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Thanks Aqua! :)

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Nobody987123

You're welcome!

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Dokw_

really good!!!!! Nice ending too. :)

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Thanks! I made this story long time back. :)

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Solarad

Tres bon histoire!

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Très bonne histoire !

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Merci! :)

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Toxicgamer213

lol I know that show on abc3 (shima_francy)

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/w1ndh0ek

Nice, liked it!

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Thanks!

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/FinoForever

Nice!

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Thanks!

August 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TemporaryMan

Awesome! I love it whenever people post writing stuff on Duolingo.

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

Thanks! :) This was for a contest.

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TemporaryMan

Might I ask which contest?

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TheInfinitesimaI

This one: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16892997 I'm not sure if they're still looking for members though.

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/liv402536

wow.

August 14, 2016
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