When did Old French displace Frankish as the language spoken in the West-Frankish court, and who was the first natively "French" king?

  • 1
    language changes over time. Modern French were not spoken during this period
    – Louis Rhys
    Apr 4 '13 at 16:24
  • 4
    that's why I used early French and "French"....My question really is when did they switch from their original Germanic language (Frankish) to the language of the people (Romance language, whatever stage it was in at the moment)
    – user2125
    Apr 5 '13 at 16:38
  • 1
    Migrate to linguistics? May 3 '13 at 0:14
  • 4
    This happened very gradually. It wasn't like some king passed a law making Old French the official language of the court. May 3 '13 at 0:16

Like other commenters wrote, the transition from Latin and Old Frankish to the Langues d'oïl was progressive but, the first text considered to be written in Old French are the Oaths of Strasbourg (842).

So, even though the concepts of “French” and “France” were not defined at that time, you could say that Charles the Bald (823-877) was the first French-speaking king.

  • Note that they're not asking when Latin changed to Old French, but when Germanic Frankish was replaced by Latin/French.
    – Joe
    Jun 26 '13 at 1:00
  • As discussed in this topic, Old Frankish never was the language of the people which inhabited what is now France. Before there was Gaulish (which disappear after Cesar's conquest). The first official text considered to be written partly in French (and not in Old Frankish) are the Oaths of Strasbourg, therefore Charles the Bald (which was a “Germanic” king) spoke French (to be understood by its people).
    – Asche
    Jun 26 '13 at 7:03
  • 2
    @Asche Nice observation: the Oaths of Strasbourg are a good proxy of the "acceptance" of Old French at court. But they do not necessarily prove that Charles the Bald actually spoke Old French as his native language. I am also interested in knowing which King was the first to actually have Old French as his mother tongue. Is there any documentation?
    – user2125
    Jul 4 '13 at 13:29
  • 1
    @Asche: According to your link, Old Frankish was never the language of the common people; but the OP is asking about the language of the court.
    – ruakh
    May 26 '16 at 23:35
  • The Frankish courts were multilingual for a long time.
    – JRB
    Aug 26 '19 at 23:10

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