fon* variants

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Fri Dec 15 19:52:34 CET 2006

Hi, Frank:
"In that sense "frm" is "better" than "fr-moyen", if you
define "better" = more widely used / supported.  If you
define "better" as "I want that as proper subset of 'fr'",
then "fr-moyen" would be better."

I think so too; I wish that fr-moyen were widely used and supported as what 
is really important to me is for both machines and people to be able to 
treat moyen francais as a subset of francais (fr, french) and not as a 
completely separate language.

> > very accessible to modern French speakers.
>With my school French I'd be lost, like I was lost with
>Michael's example (Spenser's poem).  My personal limit
>is prose by Dickens, I can read it (without spending most
>of the time looking up yon, hither, tither, durst, etc.)

{You can probably at least go back to Jane Austen; she's not much farther 
back than Dickens;
her writing is not difficult; I have not read Emma in a while and do not 
remember it so well; Pride and Prejudice is generally considered her best 
(in it she has enormous fun with a younger sister's chasing men before the 
elder ones were properly married off)
but there is an amazing piece of criticism of Emma that I really like 
(Trilling, "Regulated Hatred," anthologized in 20th Century Literary 
Criticism:  A Reader, ed. D. Lodge--you might enjoy it; I do not know)
but you can probably even get back to Swift,

(for me, I find in English and French that from the 18th century on the 
language differs very little from the modern version we speak).}

Before that there are differences, though the differences from modern French 
found in the 16th and 17th century French are much more spelling differences 
(of course the different spellings mean some difference in pronunciation 
too; but it's minor; there are also a few vocabulary differences; many are 
new world words no longer spelled the same way):

[Vowel] tre > [Vowel] stre
(you also stick an extra s in ile so it is isle, reminiscent of English; and 
in cote ; and in words with e accent ecout followed by t such as etait [I 
did not reproduce the accent; sorry] which becomes estoit--see notes below 
on ait and oit)

ui > uy  (lui becomes luy)

ait > oit
aient > oient

also the participle form of verbs that ends in e with an accent ecout is 
written as ez

there are no real syntactic differences from Modern French except for the 
fact that sometimes the nominative plural is without an s and the nominative 
singular is with a final s (this is a carry-over from Old French; but it's 
not always done; spelling is irregular).

These differences are strongest in the 16th century; there is a gradual 
decline in these sorts of spellings and such during the 17th but the New 
World words are plentiful and can give one a headache sorting out the 

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

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