French and Italian | Structure and Development of French
F401 | 5569 | Prof. Kevin Rottet

This course provides an introductory description of the structure of
present day French, a perspective on its historical development, and
an overview of some of the current language-related issues in the
French-speaking world. We will first consider the history of Modern
French from an external perspective, by examining some important
historical events in the history of the language, and from an
internal perspective, by looking at some of the specific ways the
language has changed over time. Then we will talk about variation in
French, or how French differs geographically (i.e. dialects
and regional varieties in France and in the French-speaking world),
how it differs socially (i.e. how social categories such as
socioeconomic class or sex are reflected in language use), and how
it differs situationally (i.e. how people change the ways
they speak depending on who they’re talking to, the formality of the
situation, etc.). Along the way we will look at spoken versus
written French, slang, and français populaire. Next we will
discuss directions for the future: how French creates new words
(neologisms), copes with English influence (Anglicisms), and issues
concerning the feminization of the names of occupations
traditionally practiced only by males. The textbook will be Walter's
(1988) Le français dans tous les sens. Other readings will be
on reserve at the Main Library.