French Alphabet


The French alphabet is obviously used to write French. French is based on  The Latin alphabet 0041–007A . Originally French was a sort of spoken Latin that was mixed with Frankish, also known as Old Franconian. As a result the language got new sounds that needed to be noted.

The writers of that period did their best to convey the phonetics. The earliest surviving document written in Old French is “The Oaths of Strasbourg” (“Serments de Strasbourg”). They were a military pact made on the 14th of February, A.D. 842 by Charles the Bald and Louis the German against their older brother Lothair I, the designated heir of Louis the Pious, the successor of Charlemagne.

The Middle Ages are well-known for the numerous wars and changing borders. Every nation spoke their dialects. There were no norms.

The first standardization was developed in the 17th century only. Cardinal Richelieu officially established the French Academy (Académie Française) in 1635 to lay down the general rules of written and oral use of language. Unified writing system was considered as essential of the governmental authorities. Such a move was supposed to assert power through the executive order and acts and also to simplify the judicature, management and trading. The Académie publishes a dictionary of the French language, known as the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, which is regarded as official in France. The dictionary consisted of two volumes and became the only one gold standard.

The modern French alphabet is based on the 26 letters. All of them can be uppercase and lowercase.

French also uses diacritics. The diaeresis ¨ (tréma) indicates that two adjoining letters that would normally form a digraph and be pronounced as one are instead to be read as separate vowels in two syllables. The diaeresis indicates that a vowel should be pronounced apart from the letter that precedes it. The cedilla (cédille) is a hook or tail ¸ added under C to mark it is read as and not as . The circumflex ^ marks the former presence of a consonant (usually s) that was deleted and is no longer pronounced. The grave (accent grave) ˋ with the letter è makes it read as an open sound . It can be written above à and ù in functional words. The acute (accent aigu) ˊ can be written above e only to mark a closed sound .

French also has two ligatures Æ, Œ. For determining alphabetical order, these ligatures are treated like the sequences oe and ae.