15 January 2010

French: The Language of the Elite

As someone who finds languages to be fascinating and one of a proper gentleman's many important tools, I thought this article would be very appropriate for our English speakers who are considering (or should be considering) learning a second (or third) language. The ability to speak to someone in their native tongue, whether they can communicate with you in yours or not, is often crucial in giving you the charm that will set you apart as a proper gentleman. Any good dandy or aristocrat will be well learned in the world's languages. The French language should be top priority for you, especially if you want to rub elbows with Europe's finest.

The French language is the language of the elite. It was used by royalty, aristocracy, and, of course, dandies. Even Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly's "Dandyism", widely considered to be a dandy's handbook, was originally written in French. Many dandies were themselves French, but even English dandies would do well to know French, visiting France often not only to obtain proper attire but also as a place to lay low when funds had dried up.

Between the 17th and 20th centuries, thanks to the Enlightenment and French colonisation, France became the leading power in Europe and spread the language even further across the globe between the 17th and 18th centuries. The French language quickly became the langua franca of diplomacy in Europe. French was also the language embraced by the royal courts of Europe, including the English court, the Russian court, the German court, the Italian court and even some overseas, including the Egyptian royal court in the 19th century. The imperial family of Russia held on to the French language until the bitter end; they were forced to stop speaking French amongst themselves when the communists held them prisoner so that the guards could understand them and they managed to smuggle correspondence to the outside world written in -you guessed it- French.

French is a fine language; one of the finest. I advocate learning it and using it as much as possible. It is a beautiful (and even sexy) language, so it will certainly give you a boost in the romance department. While French may no longer be crucial in the realm of diplomacy or business as it once was, it is certainly crucial for anyone hoping to participate in the wonderful snobbery of the upper class. As a side note, I also recommend Latin. While I am well aware that many schools today (especially in America) disregard Latin, it is important not only in the fields of religion, linguistics, history, medicine, and law, but also in establishing oneself as a well-educated gentleman.

À l'immortalité de la langue française!
En outre, bon anniversaire, R.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the link, here is another short blog entry for you...
    http://lefleurdelystoo.blogspot.com/2011/01/war-of-circumflex-accent.html

    ReplyDelete

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