Courses available in French




French 201: History of the French Language


Ayres-Bennett, Wendy (1996) A History of the French Language through Texts, London-New York: Routledge.

Course Description:

Where did French, and its idiosyncratic spelling rules and infamous grammar exceptions, come from? How might its history continue to influence French as it is spoken, written, and taught today?  In this course, we will explore the evolution of the French language from its medieval beginnings to its contemporary use in modern France and the Francophone world, and investigate how understanding the origins, controversies, and standardizations of French as we know it today can enhance the study of French literature and culture.  Through readings of historical texts from a variety of genres, student presentations, and in-class discussions, we will consider what it means for a language to change and be changed.  (Experience in linguistics not required.)  Course taught in French.


French 102 or consent of instructor.

Additional information:

This course satisfies one “Culture” or one “Elective” requirement in the French major. Course also satisfies one Historical Period Requirement in French Major.  Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Social and Behavioral Sciences or Historical Studies.


Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes