Learning About The Nuances Of The French Language

Industry: Education

Many words used everyday in English - chase, catch, surf, challenge and staunch are some surprising examples - originate from French.

London, United Kingdom (PRUnderground) May 20th, 2010

The authors of The Story of French, Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow, cite that nearly half of the commonly used words in English have come to us via French, indicating that the influence of the French language is indeed far-reaching.

But where does everyday French come from? While its widely acknowledged that the “linguistic purity” of French has been guarded by the French Academy since the mid-seventeenth century, Nadeau and Barlow write that “in its four-hundred year history, the French Academy has had little impact on how French is actually used.” Anyone who has ever learned French will be aware that a gulf exists between spoken and written French, and The Story of French questions the very role of the French Academy in contemporary perceptions of the French language. The pair travels far and wide to investigate the notion that despite the natural development of French over time, “[in] the back of any francophone’s mind is the idea that an ideal, pure French exists somewhere.” A must-read for francophiles, The Story of French is an in-depth and compelling analysis of French as it is spoken around the world.

The insistence on linguistic propriety, which influences how French is currently taught, spoken and written, prompted Nadeau and Barlow to research the linguistic attitudes of French speakers from France to such places as Canada, Senegal and Israel (where there are more French-speaking people than there are in Louisiana) for the language has certainly had a long and colorful history and its origins, spread, adaptation and change are all linked to global political factors such as colonialism, trade, war, industry, culture and science.

French is spoken officially in 33 countries by an estimated 175 million francophones and 100 million “occasional” speakers of French. There are additionally thought to be around 100 million French students, and it’s the only language other than English to be taught in every country in the world. For students looking to maximize their French studies, there is no better way than to immerse themselves in a French-speaking culture, according to the Ecole Suisse de Langues, a French language school network based in France and Switzerland.

About ESL Schools: The Ecole Suisse de Langues (ESL) offers students a unique way to learn French, German, English or Italian. ESL specializes in summer language camps for teens in Switzerland, France and Germany, however ESL Schools also offer special programs throughout the year. From preparation courses for French exams to language courses France for learners aged 50+, ESL provides students of all ages the opportunity to realize their dreams of studying abroad.

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