What is it about?
In this article we demonstrate how fine-grained analysis of salient features of linguistic change over a relatively short, but significant period can help refine our notions of periodization. As our case study, we consider whether it is appropriate to distinguish a period called français préclassique (‘Pre-Classical French’), and if so, what its temporal limits are. As our contemporary informants we take, on the one hand, the comments of writers of remarks on the French language, who were highly conscious of language change, and on the other, usage in successive French translations of the same Latin source text which can be exploited to track and date the adoption of ‘modern’ linguistic variants. We find atypical patterns of change – and notably changes which move rapidly through Labov’s different stages – that contribute to the sense of discontinuity or periodization. However, this sense of ‘rupture’ does not coincide with the chronological boundaries hitherto suggested for français préclassique, thus throwing the validity of this period into question.
Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash
Why is it important?
We return to the question of the appropriate periodization for the history of French and ask whether it is appropriate to discuss a period of 'Pre-Classical French'.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Periodization, Translation, Prescription and the Emergence of Classical French, Transactions of the Philological Society, March 2016, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1467-968x.12081.
You can read the full text:
The following have contributed to this page