Overview of French

Historical French language

French is descended from Vulgar Latin, the vernacular Latin as distinguished from literary Latin of the Roman Empire, when ancient Gaul (now modern France) was conquered by the Romans in the 2d and 1st century B.C. its inhabitants spoke Gaulish, a Celtic language, which was rapidly supplanted by the Latin of the Roman overlords. Although modern French thus inherited several hundred words of Celtic origin and several hundred more from Germanic, it owes its structure and the greater part of its vocabulary to Latin.By the 9th century,the language spoken in what is now France was sufficiently different from Latin to be a distinct language. It is called Old French and was current from the 9th to the 13th cent Standardization of the French language has been aided in modern times by more widespread education and by the mass media.

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