So, since it is devoid of mimetic terms, it is not true that one can explain almost everything in this language with as much accuracy and liveliness as one would conceive. French also lacks compound words, and consequently the energy that they provide, because a language draws much of its force from the composition of words.
In Greek, Latin, and English, one can express with a single term that which could only be rendered in French by paraphrase. Similarly, there are as few diminutives in our language as compound words, and even the majority of those that we use today, such as cassette , tablette , no longer mean a diminutive of caisse and table because they do not mean a small case or a small table. Let us add that there are a large number of essential things that due to a false sense of delicacy, the French language does not dare express.
Whereas it names a goat, a sheep, a ewe, without debasing itself, it does not know how, in a slightly elevated style, to name without bringing shame upon itself a calf, a sow, a hog. They are similar to that which the Latin language received during the age of Augustus. Before the Romans applied themselves to the Arts and the speculative Sciences, the language of the conquerors of all nations as yet lacked a tremendous number of terms, which it obtained by the progress of the mind.
One sees that Virgil understood Agriculture, Astronomy, Music, and several other sciences; it is not that he presents details of them irrelevantly, quite the contrary; he does so with a brilliant, tactful and informative choices. The enlightenment produced by the centuries is always spread through the language of great geniuses.
In creating new ideas, they have employed the expressions most appropriate to inculcate them, and have limited ambiguous meanings. New knowledge, a new feeling, have been adorned with new terms, with new allusions: But its richness would be even greater if speculative or experiential knowledge extended to those people who can give it tone by their status and birth.
If such men were more enlightened, our language would be enriched with a thousand literal or figurative expressions that it lacks, and of which only the scholars who write feel the need. It is shameful that one does not dare today to confound correctly spoken French with the terms of the Arts and Sciences, and that a man of the court prevents himself from knowing that which would be useful and honorable for him. But to whom will one speak to be able to distinguish the expressions that are no longer risked? This will doubtless be in reflecting upon their necessity and on the genius of the language.
One can only express a discovery in an art, in a science, through a new word properly invented. One can only be touched by an action; thus all terms that would carry an image with them, would always be worthy of celebration; from there what riches would one not draw from the Arts, if they were more relatable?
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Let us admit the truth; the language of the courteous French is nothing but a weak, pleasant babble: If at least in preserving the genius of the French language , one enriched it with the truth of mimesis, this would render it suitable to give birth to the emotions to which we are susceptible, and to produce in the realm of our voices the degree of intensity possible in a language made by men more pleasant than sublime, more sensual than passionate, more superficial than profound.
The dictionary of the Academy is well known, whose new edition will be more worthy of this learned body. But this scholar did not always consult custom in his observations; and in his etymologies he did not always attach himself to the radical letters that are so suitable for unveiling the origin of words and their degrees of affinity. Vaugelas holds one of the first ranks among our authors of good taste, even if he was often mistaken in his remarks and decisions; it is because of this that we must read alongside him the observations of Corneille and P.
Bouhours, to whom our language has many obligations.
Jaucourt here compares great authors of his time to those of ancient Greece and Rome: Poetry in Translation, , accessed April 3, The full text is available on Google books. For more information, see the French About article on the silent e , and the Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia articles on elision. Jaucourt is making an observation on the duality and balance in Greek language and culture. The article on Inscription [Antiquity, Literature, Medals], also written by Jaucourt, describes the art of marble and brass engraving, as practiced by the different ancient peoples of the world.
The passage he refers to here is: The translation by Gregory Bringman reads: And you might add that, having a need to please, to be maintained, it does not admit the majestic simplicity of Greek and Latin. The French term, harmonie imitative , refers to sound repetition devices, such as alliteration and assonance, used to evoke an image or idea regarding the theme of the poem.
In French, diminutives are formed by adding a suffix, such as - ette.
French art salons and academies
As Jaucourt explains, this suffix originally meant simply a smaller version of the noun in question, in this instance case caisse or table table , but have by this time come to mean something different. After a printer who had managed to obtain the texts published them in , Boileau brought out an authenticated version March that he toned down considerably from the original. The following year he wrote one of the most successful of mock-heroic epics, Le Lutrin , dealing with a quarrel of two ecclesiastical dignitaries over where to place a lectern in a chapel.
At the time, the work was considered of great importance, the definitive handbook of Classical principles. It is now valued more for the insight it provides into the literary controversies of the period. Boileau resumed his disputatious role in , when the literary world found itself divided between the so-called Ancients and Moderns. Boileau did not create the rules of Classical drama and poetry, although it was long assumed that he had—a misunderstanding he did little to dispel.
They had already been formulated by previous French writers, but Boileau expressed them in striking and vigorous terms.
Académie royale de langue et de littérature françaises de Belgique : Philippe Jones
He also translated the Classical treatise On the Sublime , attributed to Longinus. Ironically, it became one of the key sources of the aesthetics of Romanticism. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.
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