MIDDLE FRENCH (French : _moyen français_) is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from the 14th to the early 17th centuries. It is a period of transition during which:
French language became clearly distinguished from the other
Oïl languages , which are sometimes subsumed within the
Old French (_ancien français_)
French language was imposed as the official language of the
* 1 History * 2 Literature * 3 Notes * 4 References * 5 External links
The most important change found in Middle French is the complete disappearance of the noun declension system (already underway for centuries). There is no longer a distinction between nominative and oblique forms of nouns, and plurals are indicated simply with an _s_. This transformation necessitates an increased reliance on the order of words in the sentence, which becomes more or less the syntax of modern French (although there is a continued reliance on the verb in the second position of a sentence, or "verb-second structure ", until the 16th century).
Among the elites,
The fascination with classical texts led to numerous borrowings from
The French wars in
There were also some borrowings from Spanish (_casque_) and German (_reître_) and from the Americas (_cacao_, _hamac_, _maïs_).
The influence of the Anglo-Norman language on English had left words of French and Norman origin in England. Some words of Romance origin now found their way back into French as doublets through war and trading contacts.
Also, the meaning and usage of many words from Old French were transformed.
Spelling and punctuation in this period are extremely variable. The introduction of printing in 1470 highlighted the need for reform in spelling . One proposed reform came from Jacques Peletier du Mans , who developed a phonetic spelling system and introduced new typographic signs (1550); but this attempt at spelling reform was not followed.
At the beginning of the 17th century, French would see the continued
unification of French, the suppression of certain forms, and the
prescription of rules, leading to
The affirmation and glorification of French finds its greatest
manifestation in the "Defense and Illustration of the French Language"
(1549) by the poet
Joachim du Bellay , which maintained that French
(like the Tuscan of
Petrarch and Dante ) was a worthy language for
literary expression and which promulgated a program of linguistic
production and purification (including the imitation of
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Middle French". _ Glottolog 2.7 _. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ Larousse, v. * ^ Larousse, xxvi. * ^ Larousse, vi, xiii-xiv, xvii; Bonnard, pp. 113–114. * ^ Wartburg, p. 160; Bonnard, p. 114. * ^ Bonnard, p. 114.
* _Larousse dictionnaire du moyen français._ Paris: Larousse , 1992. * H. Bonnard. _Notions de style, de versificiation et d'histoire de la langue française._ Paris: SUDEL, 1953. * W. von Wartburg. _Évolution et structure de la langue française._ Berne (Switzerland): Francke A.G., 1946.