Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2006


Though formal and informal forms of any language always diverge to some degree, the particular political and social influences on French have created a marked difference between the textbook and colloquial varieties of the language. For non-native speakers who are proficient in the textbook variety, sudden immersion into the vernacular French culture can be a shock and can create misunderstandings between native and non-native speakers. This paper will provide the potential traveler with a historical understanding of how the two threads of the language evolved. It will also look at political and social influences on modern French and introduce the reader to situations for which formal French education may not prepare.