The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How did the French language originate?  (Read 10645 times)

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« on: 09/12/2008 12:45:45 »
I have often wondered about this and I hope someone here may be able to shed some light on it for me.

Specifically, I'm referring to vowel sounds in French. They are unlike any other language that I know of. I speak several languages and they all have common vowel sounds. Admittedly, some have extra sounds such as the German Ü or Nordic Ø; but the basic sound of the unmodified vowel is very similar in most European languages.

Take the countries that border France. In Italy and Spain the vowel sounds are heavily influenced by Latin - hardly surprising. German & Nordic vowels are derived from the Indo-European languages that preceded Latin. But French vowel sounds are unique. As far as I am aware it is the only language that has the nasal vowel sounds. They don't seem to have anything in common with the languages of its neighbours.

Look at the history of France and it has been under Gallic, Roman and English rule. None of the languages of those races has the vowel sounds of modern French. That implies it is neither a relic of antiquity nor conquest.

So, how did their vowel sounds come into being?
« Last Edit: 09/12/2008 12:49:25 by DoctorBeaver »


 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #1 on: 09/12/2008 12:52:40 »
Here's a book that may help....and some of its contents
« Last Edit: 09/12/2008 12:55:01 by dentstudent »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #2 on: 09/12/2008 12:54:32 »
I've already seen info like that. The ones I've seen don't explain the origin of the vowel sounds, just the linguistics.
 

lyner

  • Guest
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #3 on: 09/12/2008 23:31:20 »
I could suggest that the 'French pronunciation' with which we are familiar, is based on a minority of highly 'effected' speakers in Paris society in the past; posh club talk.
French, out in the provinces, tends to sound much more like other European languages - they put in the 's's on the end of many words and they don't muck about with the  nasal 'n's etc..
Take Schoolboy pronunciation with you to the South and the locals will genuinely  have problems understanding you. (And larf, too)
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #4 on: 09/12/2008 23:43:08 »
I've spoken with people from Paris, Bordeaux (strange dialect!) & Normandy & I've found the vowel sounds to be nasal in all of their dialects. The South may well be different.

I'm not convinced of the effête theory. It has certainly not happened in English, so why would it in French?
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #5 on: 10/12/2008 00:23:54 »
I think that effected pronunciation has occurred in English, or at least in England.  At the moment, the current affectation seems to be a slightly Australian style raising of pitch at the end of sentences, making the sentence sound like a question.  Going a bit further back, I remember a time when 'droney' pronunciation seemed to be popular.  None of these have lasted very long though.

Any idea where the American accent came from?
 

Offline Bikerman

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 119
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #6 on: 10/12/2008 02:28:27 »
Any idea where the American accent came from?
Hmm...one of the main differences is in the pronunciation of r after vowels. Most American dialects are rhotic (they pronounce the r), with exception of Bostonese and a few others. Most English dialects are non-rhotic (we drop the r after vowels). It seems that this change to non-rhotic pronunciation took place in London a couple of centuries ago and spread out gradually - with the exception of some parts of the South-West and East Anglia.
Obviously this was after America was colonised, and this accounts for that particular difference. In this sense, then, it is us that have changed...
(Obviously there are other differences but this one is, I think, quite interesting).
 

lyner

  • Guest
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #7 on: 10/12/2008 07:52:08 »
Quote
I'm not convinced of the effête theory. It has certainly not happened in English, so why would it in French?
Are you sure, Dr.B? Have you seen a British film from the past and observed the 'efite' speech? What about the latest way of speech bro', innit?
Both very false and taken up by the population. The more attractive, the longer the style can be expected to last.

The 'American Accent' still has no norm, despite the media. There are clear Jewish and Italian influences / vocab in most areas, though.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #8 on: 10/12/2008 08:39:48 »
SC - yes, I've seen those films and I can't think of a single person I've ever heard who talks like that; although the royals - and especially Charlie - come close at times.

As for

Quote
the latest way of speech bro'

that has nothing to do with vowel sounds; they are still the same as in "standard" English.

The American accent varies from place to place. If you compare Bronx, Chicago & Alabama you would hear a lot of difference. Take the word "school" - Bronx, skoowol: Chicago skoowl: Alabama skooyiawl (or something like that  :D ). The same is true of different parts of England (in East Anglia people don't queue, they koo). Northern & Southern Germany also have different accents, noticably in the CH sound which varies from a gutteral sound akin to the CH in Scottish "loch" to a SH.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2008 08:50:11 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #9 on: 10/12/2008 08:45:35 »
SC - yes, I've seen those films and I can't think of a single person I've met who talks like that.


That's because we've never met, old boy! Whatto!
 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #10 on: 10/12/2008 09:05:11 »
Northern & Southern Germany also have different accents, noticably in the CH sound which varies from a gutteral sound akin to the CH in Scottish "loch" to a SH.

Obviously, I'm going to say something here. There is a change in accents over a much more local basis too. In the village we were in, "ich" was pronounced "ish", similar to what you were saying above. In Freiburg, perhaps 20 miles away, it is the "ch" as in "loch".

However, it should also be noted that many Germans use 2 forms of German: colloquial and "high" (Hoch Deutsche). The first is akin to the regional dialect. The second is akin to the Queens English. The case in England would be as if someone from Somerset for example would use (stereotyped for effect) both the "Pirate" speak and also then alter to BBC english.

Other inputs are the physcological effects of borders, for example in Carlisle, there is a northern english accent (as you would expect) but only a few miles north in Gretna, it is very much Scottish. This, I think, is more to do with identity than with a gentle overlapping of accents.
 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #11 on: 10/12/2008 09:47:33 »
Get a huge variety of Ed Hardy clothing, Nike, Adidas, Christian Audigiey and a lot more brands at a discount price and with worldwide free shipping so visit www.raininghollywood.com and start ordering today.
They can't even think up decent forum names now! Look out for "qwerty", at a spam shop near you!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #12 on: 10/12/2008 10:57:20 »
Stuart - I'm aware that accents are more localised that I stated. I was merely quoting an example.
 

Offline dentstudent

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3146
  • FOGger to the unsuspecting
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #13 on: 10/12/2008 11:13:32 »
Yes, I know you know. Just echoing and adding.....
 

lyner

  • Guest
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #14 on: 10/12/2008 15:57:49 »
Quote
I can't think of a single person I've ever heard who talks like that
You obviously don't spend yer time wiv toffs like wot I duz.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #15 on: 10/12/2008 16:07:21 »
Whadja talkin''bout? I's a toff meself!
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #16 on: 10/12/2008 19:01:36 »
Thanks for the background info Bikerman.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8667
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #17 on: 10/12/2008 19:40:41 »
I'm not convinced of the effête theory. It has certainly not happened in English, so why would it in French?
Doest thou really think that?
Knowest thou not that the original first person singular in English dies out because of the Norman French influence. The locals heard the French refering to eachother as (the old equivalents of) "Tu" and "Vous"  and thought that the new "fashionable" way to address someone politely was in the plural. They stopped using "thou" and started using "you" (things like thee and thine went the same way).

Up in the North the influence of the French speaking court was much smaller and so the original Thee and Thou are often retained.
There are other influences too. Names of animals are often from the old English root  but, once they are cooked and served at the table, they suddenly turn French.
Swine become Porc, cows become boeuf and sheep become mouton.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #18 on: 10/12/2008 19:46:20 »
BC - you're talking about vocabulary. That's a totally different matter.
 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11993
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #19 on: 12/12/2008 13:34:53 »
How about Basque?
Do they have those nasal vowel sounds?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
How did the French language originate?
« Reply #20 on: 12/12/2008 13:54:31 »
How about Basque?
Do they have those nasal vowel sounds?

Not as far as I know.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How did the French language originate?
« Reply #20 on: 12/12/2008 13:54:31 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums