Dictionaries of French language

Before the modern French language came into existence, Old French was the language spoken in the region where the modern French Republic and its neighboring counties stand. The older dictionaries, written by the scholars like Jean-Baptiste de La Curne de Sainte-Palaye and F. Godefroy, covered several words of the Old French dialect from the ninth century onwards, a period when Old French was common between the people of France. There are at least twenty-four such ancient dictionaries of Old French that have been preserved by the “Grand Corpus Des Dictionaries” in France. These dictionaries collectively have over 900,000 entries, which is considered by scholars as the largest collection of words in French language.

History of French Language

According to the history of the dictionaries of the French language, the one written by Jean-Baptiste de La Curne de Sainte-Palaye can be considered as the first of its kind, even though it was published comparatively later, during the second half of the nineteenth century. La Curne was born in the last decade of the seventeenth century and had actually written the dictionary on French with the title, The Historical Dictionary of Old French, in the eighteenth century. He wrote about numerous words that included adverbs, words that were used very rarely and proverbs. These words were extracted mainly from French literature, history and studies from the eleventh century to the seventeenth century. The book comprised an extensive collection of 60,000 words. This dictionary of Old French was published for the reference of common people only in the year 1875 by Leopold Favre.

Composer of the other Old French Dictionary

The other dictionary of Old French was composed by the French language scholar F.Godefroy. He was a teacher of language in France and had an interest in the history of the language. Godefroy contributed enormously to French literature, and in the nineteenth century he also wrote The Dictionary of Old French language and all its dialects from the 9th to the 15th centuries that comprised more than 150,000 entries. His dictionary of
French language included words that were taken from works of over 300,000 authors. These extracts were from the literature that was created over a stretch of more than five centuries.

In modern times, one can find several French dictionaries published on the internet. These dictionaries can not only provide information on words from Standard French dialect but also of diverse French dialects spoken around the world.

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