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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About much more than simply the French language, 29 Oct. 2007
This book is about much more than one might assume from its title plus what is written on the back cover. It is true that it does describe the evolution of the French language from long ago to the present day but it also talks about the promotion of the language and its spread, initially in the area of Western Europe that is now France but also globally during the last 300 years.

Most interestingly, it gives a good insight to the use of language to spread influence and cultural ideas. For example, France was devastated by the Second World War but and at the end of that war found its global influence much diminished. However, through the promotion of French the Frence government saw a way of spreading French culture and influence aborad without any hope of doing so in other traditional ways. This policy of using "soft power" has been relatively successful too with French cinema being far more developed than say that of the British, and the Alliance Francaise being an institution much better known than the British Council (which I, as a Brit had not heard of until I read this book).

The book is written in a readable style and does not become involved in detailed discussion of grammar but focuses far more on the bigger picture. Also it is a book written by French-Canadians and is therefore much more global in perspective than "France-centric".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant breadth and analysis, 25 Dec. 2008
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P. JOHNSON "easyreader" (Tonbridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is fantastic, both for the story of French and the history around it. I attempted the book by Graham Robb and gave up, this book I couldn't put down. Quite simply this is the best book I'm likely to read on this subject. Five+ stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frankly French!, 21 July 2009
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This review is from: The Story of French (Paperback)
Very interesting attempt to clarify the formative years of the french language. LOADS OF very interesting facts emerge making the Tome readable throughout at once as a sourcebook and as a secular entertainment. It adds considerable perspective for all french language enthusiasts. Enjoyable throughout!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plus ca Change, 6 Dec. 2009
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Alan Purslow "APurslow" (Buckinghamshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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An excellent and informative book which gives a fair and accurate history of the French language and its former, and present, place in the linguistic and political world. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in French, or even with an interest in language generally. I am sure it is a book that I shall return to many times in future.
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Story Of French
Story Of French by Julie Barlow (Paperback - 14 Oct. 2010)
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