The Rhetoric of Revolution
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This paper examines the external and internal changes that occurred in the French language as a result of the French Revolution. In terms of external changes, it examines the perception and overall regulation of the language that resulted directly from the social and political upheaval of French society in the late eighteenth century. While most external changes that were attempted did not come to fruition during the Revolution itself, many aspects of the French language of the early twenty-first century can trace their heritage back to the ideals of the movement. Internally, changes were manifested primarily in the French lexicon, which are examined in the context of two fiery discourses that were delivered at critical historical junctures of the Revolution. Taken together, the external and internal language changes that occurred during the eighteenth century continue to influence the French language and form an indispensible component of the French national identity.