Request for variant subtag fr 16th-c 17th-c RESUBMISSION

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Fri Jan 26 23:11:39 CET 2007

>CE Whitehead wrote:
>Well actually the goal was ...
>... to allow the page creator to determine whether the French was modern
>enough to be considered modern French for his/her audience or needed to be
>labelled as Middle French because of problems reading it.  (this is
>important to students/persons learning French in particular, or to persons
>who are not completely literate)...
>Another reason for my request is that there are not too many differences in
>readability between the more standardized late 16th century texts and the
>less standardized 17th century texts I am dealing with, and I realized that
>in many ways texts from these two periods (outside of the texts created in
>the 17th century salon environment) can be treated as a  unit with the 17th
>century texts less standardized...
>I am hoping the tags will provide a way to indicate whether texts in these
>historical varieties are left in the original language (how I prefer to get
>my texts) or translated into modern French (the translations are quite
>common online).
> >>
>IMO, the first para above shows how the choice between "frm" and "fr" (for 
>common subtag) is principled, and not left to the "whim of the author".  As
>I read it, it is based on a distinction between text which is intelligible
>to the speaker of Modern French and text which is not (and this distinction
>is made both for the 16th and the 17th centuries).  I think it is
>over-stretching things to describe this as taking the distinction out of 
>text itself and making it relative to the audience.
>But I am struggling to see how the currently proposed (single-prefix) tags
>will help with these objectives.  They are "frm-1606Nict" or 
>"fr-1694acad" or "fr-17siecle"; and plain old "frm" and "fr".
>How would the tag for a text, which is 16th century but modernizing, show
>that it has something in common with Modern French? (your 1st para above)
Primarily in the use of the past participle form ending in e (with the 
accent ecout which I have not transcribed!)!  Which is completely modern.

Also in the loss of other elements of 15th century French.  (See Villon's 
texts online for examples of 15th century French!)

>How would the tag for a text, which is 17th century but archaising, show
>that it has something in common with Medieval French? (your 1st para above)
Primarily in the use of the fro-like forms ending in s/z in the nominative 
(uns isles for modern French "une ile; note that the gender of the 
indefinite article is not the same in the 17th century text that it is in 
modern French! )

>How would the tags show that these two groups of texts, or parts of them,
>have something in common with each other? (your 2nd para above)

Primarily in the occurrence in both of some frm orthography (& pronunciation 
too) including the replacement of say modern "lui" with "luy" (and other 
similar replacements of modern i with with y); "estre" for modern French 
"etre" (and other similar cases where modern "et" ? "est"); "estoit" for 
modern French "etait" (and other similar cases where modern"ait" or "aient" 
 > "oit," "oient").
>How would you tag the difference between an archaising 17th century text 
>its translation into Modern French?  How would you tag the difference (or
>lack of it) between a modernising 16th century text and its translation 
>Modern French? (your 3rd para above).

Hope modern French is fr; the century the original was drafted should be 
listed somewhere other than in the language tag!
Probably need to add such a comment!

-C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

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