Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Story of French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

"Ma patrie, c'est la langue francaise. (My country is the French language.)" -Algerian-born writer Albert Camus

The Story of French is not just a history of the language, but also a cultural and political history of places where French is spoken, and you don't have to know French to enjoy it.

As I read it I was compelled to stop and tell others about what I had just read, about the peculiarities of Jerriais, the "Norman" or "mispronounced" French spoken on the British Isle of Jersey; about the lingua franca of the Crusaders; about Alexandre Dumas's grandmother being a Haitian slave. And that's just the first chapter. If you're put off by its size, feel free to just read the parts that interest you.

Nadeau and Barlow also write about TV5, whose world news broadcasts you can watch by clicking here. It's the third-most watched international channel in the world (sadly, MTV outranks it).

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