The course is an exploration of the development of the French language which is shared today by some 220 million speakers worldwide. We take a sociolinguistic and historical approach to the story of French as both a means of communication and a multi-faceted cultural phenomenon.
The semester is divided into three parts:
1. A chronological survey of the emergence and evolution of the language from the medieval period to the twentieth century. Here we examine linguistic change as well as the symbolic importance of French over a period of 1200 years.
2. A close-up look at language issues in France today including linguistic legislation, regional languages, and gender-neutral language.
3. A sociohistorical exploration of French outside of France; regions included in our survey this year will include Ivory Coast, Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Haiti, Martinique, Quebec and Louisiana.
Course is conducted in French.