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 Why exactly was Marie Antoinette hated among the French? 
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Pimprenelle wrote:
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She even forgot how to speak German

I have always considered this with the greatest suspicion... How could you forget your mother tongue ? :roll: I think that Marie Antoinette pretended to have forgotten about German to seem more assimilated and accepted by those French who did not want her for queen...



Pim, there are people who are separated from their families as children/ teenagers who do forget their native tongue. They may know a few words, but are never really fluent again. There were cases of Americans captured by the Indians on the frontier who forgot how to speak English. Especially considering how Antoinette was not allowed to speak German on a daily basis, having been thoroughly indoctrinated. She could not even write to her mother in German.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:52 pm
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My own grandmother forgot her native tongue, after being raised by Americans, she forgot her Spanish.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:54 pm
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Marie Antoinette had a conversation in German that night in Varennes. In my view, she never forgot German... and she did not want to ! As she wrote to princess de Hesse Darmstadt, she was proud to be born German. This pride she sucked with her first milk.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:57 pm
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Post French more natural
and wasn't French around in Vienna just as much, since much of the writing was in French and the elite spoke French? MA grew with both around, but from 14, she was using one and not the other.
question: do we have evidence what she spoke with her visitors from Austria - Joseph in 1777 and her other visitors? that may help. If there was an occasion she might speak German, it's with those visitors in private.


Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:58 pm
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But de Batz is asking about a change, the increase of hostility to the French. Do we have evidence MA ever had real respect to the French as a people? we have evidence that from the beginning she saw them as frivolous, fickle and untrustworthy. she didn't need the revolution to see the french in a negative light; and her lack of respect for them may have been one of the reasons for hostility to her: a proud people like the French, who saw themselves as culturally superior, would not be happy about being negatively compared to germans. and Marie Antoinette was not, as Therese pointed out, prone to hiding her feelings...


Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:02 pm
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All I am saying is that it is possible for someone to lose their fluency in their native tongue if they do not use it on a daily basis. If MA did not have the command of German as a woman that she had as a child, that would not be surprising. It is not a matter of whether she wanted to or not. She was not able to use German every day. If she still knew enough to get by when she was at Varennes, then wonderful. But I can also understand how she said she had problems following rapid German; she was no longer used to hearing it.

I saw this with my grandma; sometimes she understood Spanish and sometimes she didn't. She could'nt speak it perfectly anymore but she retained a Spanish accent and had Spanish pronunciation, rolling her "r's, " and such.

Yes, MA was always a daughter of the Caesars. That could never be erased.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:09 pm
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and wasn't French around in Vienna just as much, since much of the writing was in French and the elite spoke French? MA grew with both around, but from 14, she was using one and not the other.

Indeed, the court spoke French in Vienna... and not so bad ! But Marie Antoinette was raised by her ayas. Thus, in German. I mean, the language of tenderness, for her, was German.
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question: do we have evidence what she spoke with her visitors from Austria - Joseph in 1777 and her other visitors? that may help. If there was an occasion she might speak German, it's with those visitors in private.

I don't know... and it is something I often wondered about. All that was a minimum official was in French, her correspondence with her family in Vienna is in French.

But in private ? And with Fersen, who was Swede, and spoke a language closer to German than to French... and knew German... ?

In one of her letters she sent to him during the revolution, she proposed to use Italian as a code. That meant that she remembered Italian she had learnt in her youth. How could she forget German she spoke till 14 ?

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:11 pm
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I know a Cuban man who left Cuba when he was thirteen and he is now fifty and can hardly speak Spanish anymore. It is possible for this to happen to people.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:17 pm
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Yes, MA was always a daughter of the Caesars. That could never be erased.

In the movie "l'Autrichienne", they had this idea of making her saying her last prayer in German. Of course, it is pure speculation, we don't know... But this moved me deeply. And this sounded right to me.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:18 pm
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Quote:
It is possible for this to happen to people

Indeed... But she suddenly remembered her German once in Varennes ! :lol:

Frankly, I think that, reporting how Marie Antoinette forgot German, Mme Campan once more tried to show how she had become French, in order to rehabilitate her.

It is possible that Marie Antoinette pretended to have forgotten her mother tongue... as some kind of pause, or self defence system in front of those French.

But, once in difficulty, as she was in Varennes, and having to use German for communicating urgently, she was completely able to do so !

No... Definitely, I don't think that Marie Antoinette ever forgot German. Furthermore, she was good at languages.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:24 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
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Yes, MA was always a daughter of the Caesars. That could never be erased.

In the movie "l'Autrichienne", they had this idea of making her saying her last prayer in German. Of course, it is pure speculation, we don't know... But this moved me deeply. And this sounded right to me.


I can certainly see someone reverting to their native tongue at a moment of stress. I have heard of this many times, people reverting to the language of childhood when near death. The German never left her subconscious mind. How could it?

Language is one of those unpredictable things.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:25 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
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It is possible for this to happen to people

Indeed... But she suddenly remembered her German once in Varennes ! :lol:

Frankly, I think that, reporting how Marie Antoinette forgot German, Mme Campan once more tried to show how she had become French, in order to rehabilitate her.

It is possible that Marie Antoinette pretended to have forgotten her mother tongue... as some kind of pause, or self defence system in front of those French.

But, once in difficulty, as she was in Varennes, and having to use German for communicating urgently, she was completely able to do so !

No... Definitely, I don't think that Marie Antoinette ever forgot German. Furthermore, she was good at languages.


I don't think she pretended; I think she sincerely no longer had the fluency she once had.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:28 pm
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I can certainly see someone reverting to their native tongue at a moment of stress. I have heard of this many times, people reverting to the language of childhood when near death. The German never left her subconscious mind. How could it?

Following Suetonius, Iulius Caesar said "kai su teknon ?" (you too, child ?) to Brutus while dying. He said this in Greek because this was the language of his nourrices.

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I don't think she pretended; I think she sincerely no longer had the fluency she once had.

Of course, this could be possible too... But I think Marie Antoinette could pretend while necessary... :wink:

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:34 pm
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She was an actress.

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:39 pm
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I shal get back to this in more detail when I have more time. I think it is totally implausible to consider that MA had ever forgotten her German. This was the language of her formative years and her mother tongue. Not only would she not have forgotten her German, neither would she have forgotten her German customs and traditions, so entrenched in Austrian life, such as Christmas (the famous St Nicholas painting with her with her new doll and the less well behaved brother holding the twigs) I know the particular strong customs of Austria well having lived in Vienna and Salzburg for over a year without a break. Believe me she had forgotten nothing...was there not some correspondence between her and her mother in German. Les "Générales" certainly comes from the Austro-German General "Krottendorf' or dirty village, and that stayed with her all her life!! I am glad to see some of you share my view on this foreigner issue. I shall translate the citations as soon as possible for the member requesting this. Does anyone know of a good book on MA's first fifteen years?

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:56 pm
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