French

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The People

The French are the people who live in France. What exactly one means by "France" can vary quite a bit depending on what year it is and who's talking.

Language

French is the language that developed in northern France, and parts of Belgium and Switzerland and derived from a mixture of Latin, Frankish and Gaulish.

The earliest extant French text is The Oath of Strasbourg, from 842 CE. The dialects of Old French are called collectively langue d'oil. Middle French developed around the end of the 13th century, and saw the end of the declension system.

Latin was still used as the official court language of France until King Francis I passed the Ordinance of Villers-Cotter�ts in 1539.

French is now a widely-used language in Western Europe and is one of the five official languages of the European Union.

See Also