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Introduction to French

Basic information about French language and linguistics

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If you've ever wondered where French came from and how it fits in with other languages, here is some basic information.

French is a Romance language, although that's not why it's called the language of love. In linguistic terms, "Romance" and "romantic" have nothing to do with love; they come from the word Roman and simply mean "from Latin."

The complete language family classification of French is as follows:

  • Indo-European --> Italic --> Romance
     
  • Indo-European is the largest language family in the world. It comprises most of the languages of Europe, the Americas, and Asia, including such varied languages as Latin, Greek, Russian, Persian, and Sanskrit.
     
  • Italic essentially refers to Latin.
Romance languages originally evolved in Western Europe, but colonialism help to spread some of them all over the world. Where is French spoken?

 

Even though French is a Romance language, which you now know means that it is based on Latin, French has a number of characteristics that set it apart from the other members of its linguistic family. Learn more: Development of French | Basic French Linguistics


Romance Languages

  1. Catalan
  2. French
  3. Italian
  4. Moldavian
  5. Portuguese
  6. Provençal
  7. Rhaeto-Romanic
  8. Rumanian
  9. Sardinian
  10. Spanish
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