In this comprehensive introduction, Henriette Walter provides the reader with a panoramic view of the development of the French language in the past, present and future. She takes the reader on a rapid and lively journey through the historical development of the language from its Latin origins to the present day. She goes on to set the language in its linguistic context by surveying its surviving and vanished dialects and regional variations of the language within France. Widening her focus, Walter examines French throughout the world, giving examples of the pronunciation and vocabulary of each region or nation. Finally she looks at French today: its structure, the effects of social change on the language, and its future in an increasingly English dominated world. This stimulating and entertaining account offers students of French a clear and accessible introduction to the language. The wealth of information it provides is reflected in the extensive bibliography, four indices and numerous world lists, maps and diagrams.