Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Interesting. From what other language(s) have loanwords invaded
the purity of the French language?
Large-scale borrowing tends to occur at a prestige differential:
Vocabulary is taken from the prestige language into the less
prestigious one. Now, for much of the Middle Ages and a few centuries
after, France was THE most powerful, rich, and esteemed country in
Europe. Consequently, loans flowed from French into other languages.
You can find them from the Atlantic to the Urals and the Bosporus.
The English did this even more excessively than the rest of the
For more than singular loans into French, you need to look at what
languages held prestige over French, in France, at some time or
other. The obvious big one is Latin. French has continually
borrowed from Latin for as long as you could distinguish the two.
A less obvious candidate is Occitan aka Provençal. I think Italian
also enjoyed a brief period of prestige during the Renaissance.
Here's a cheap hint if you're hunting for loanwords: No natively
French word can have the sequence <ca>. It shifted without exception
to <cha> (sometimes the vowel was later modified due to secondary
developments) on the way to Old French. Every word with <ca> in
it is most likely a borrowing.
Obviously, French also picked up plenty of individual loans from
contact languages such as Dutch, German, Arabic, etc., but that's
not the kind of borrowing that sets people off about "purity".
Christian "naddy" Weisgerber ***@mips.inka.de