The French language reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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French language

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French is the language spoken in France, Southern Belgium, Luxembourg (As well as German and Leitzburgisch) and western Switzerland. It has been spread to Africa, South east asia and parts of the new world by the French Empire. French is a romantic language, that means that it comes from Latin.

History

In the ancient the Celtic people lived in France today. In those day the land was called Gallia or Gaul. Romans spreaded their power to Gallia and made Gallia their provinces. Since Romans spoke Latin, the local people learned Latin and began to speak it. Their own language, Gaullic tended not to be spoken, although the languages having Celtic origin are spoken until today in some areas like Bretagne.

Latin language was changing and in medieval France it changed into two accents or languages: langue d'oc and langue d'oil. They mean "language of oc" and "language of oil". Those distinction came from the word meaning "yes" in each language. The northern people like in Paris spoke langue d'oil, and the southern people like in Toulouse spoke langue d'oc. For example in langue d'oc Toulouse is called Tolosa. The French language today comes from langue d'oil, exactly one accent of it, the accent of Ils de France.


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