Linguistics: Historical approach to French in Romance languages

lrom1222  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Linguistics: Historical approach to French in Romance languages
5.00 credits
45.0 h + 7.5 h
LFIAL1530, LROM1221

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
This course aims to describe the main linguistic changes that have marked the development of French from the Latin period to the present day, as well as to understand the mechanisms that underlie these changes and the factors of various kinds that influence them. This development will be juxtaposed with those elements of the historical context that can illuminate the changes that have appeared in French usage. The situation of French in the different periods studied will be compared with that of other Romance languages, in particular with Spanish and Italian, at the level of formal properties and sociolinguistic characteristics (status, diffusion, standardisation, vitality, etc.).
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

By the end of the course students will be able to:
' reflect on the main mechanisms of the development of French and on linguistic change in general;
' analyse old forms of French and outline their development; 
' have a good knowledge  of the history and of the sociolinguistic and political situation of Romance languages in general and French in particular;
' understand and use the concepts and methods of historical linguistics;
' understand the genetic and typological connections between Romance languages.
The course will begin with a general introduction on the mechanisms of linguistic development, the links between linguistic variation and change, and the methods of historical linguistics.
We will then examine the main phonological changes that affected the passage from Latin to Modern French, by systematically locating them in their historical context. This chronological examination will be performed in parallel with a description of sociolinguistic change in French, which will itself be compared to that of other Romance languages. This chronological journey will be complemented throughout the course by the analysis of specific cases that make it possible to illustrate the phenomena studied and to identify the main phonological and lexical characteristics of French in relation to other Romance languages.
The exercises linked to the course aim at systematising the analytical procedures presented in the course and at giving students practice in applying them.
Evaluation methods
For the fist exam session (June), the course assessment is based, for one part, on a written examination consisting of two parts: reference to notes is not allowed in the first but is allowed in the second. This examination will account for 15 marks of the final mark (/20). In the second part, an preliminary exam, accounting for 3 marks, will be organized around course week 7. Finally, students will be required to carry out a research assignment in groups in the course of the semester, and this will account for 2 marks out of 20. In the september exam session, the whole mark will be based upon the written exam.
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Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Minor in Linguistics

Bachelor in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Minor in French Studies

Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General