reading

3. The Story of French

Still working my way through the 2020 Christmas stack! I don’t have too much to say about this one; it was a very fun read about a topic I am not at all informed on. I feel both expanded and entertained by the material. The book covers not just French-in-France but French worldwide, with its long history of accretion and dispersal via diplomacy, colonization, and post-colonial exchanges.

From the fall of Rome to the rise of cable TV covers a lot of ground, and the book is necessarily light. It is also, I should mention, not a linguistics book, so if that’s your main interest, this will not suit you. There are a lot of examples of dialect drift, slangs, creoles, and ongoing evolution in how the language is used (as of the book’s 2006 publication), but they are included by way of illustrating the historical context, not as the main subject.

(I have been trying off and on for years now to learn French–not out of any particular utility, although I would like to visit the country some day, but a sense that one really ought to speak at least two languages. As with most efforts I undertake, I am making slow progress.)

Highly recommended for the casual reader.

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