FRE 273H1S

Introduction to the General History of the French Language


D. Kullmann


A discovery of a long and fascinating history, stretching from the spoken Latin of the Gauls to the many varieties of French found today all over the world via the investigation of the phonetic, social, political, and cultural causes of language change. Our focus will include topics such as the origin of the French language, medieval bilingualism, the gradual spread of the language of northern France, the role of reading and writing and the impact of print, the regulation of language through the Académie française and modern legislation, the political use of the French language (for example during the French Revolution), the influence of other languages on French (and vice-versa) including modern «franglais», the emergence of the Francophonie, and Canadian French.

Required text:

Le français. Une langue qui défie les siècles (2008), Alain Rey, Gallimard (Collection Découvertes Gallimard).

Assignments and evaluation:

Two in-class tests (50%) [25%+25%]; written take-home assignment on vocabulary (20%); oral presentation with a written component (group work) (20%); overall assessment, including preparedness and participation (10%).


FSL 221Y1 or, upon first FRE/FSL enrolment, equivalent as determined by the French Placement Test.

Recommended preparation:

FRE 272H1