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 what language did marie antoinette speak? 
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Louis-Charles wrote:
Yes she taught Italian when she was young, in Austria.
All the historians agree on this point :D


Her teacher was the great writer and poet Metastasio: I've read that she was very interested in studying Italian, and she did very quick progresses :wink: :wink:

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Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:49 am
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It is true that after a certain amount of years spent outside one's native country, you tend to forget some amount of your mother tongue, and you become fluent in your adopted tongue. You even start to think and dream in that language. So it is certain that Marie-Antoinette became so fluent in french that she forgot some of her native german. But as it was said earlier on this thread by Pimprenelle, in very important moments in one's life, the mother tongue comes back with a vengeance as depicted in 'L'Autrichienne' : Marie-Antoinette prays in german in her cell after being told that she was going to be executed that very same day. In those dire moments I believe that you seek solace in your mother tongue, and without a doubt Marie-Antoinette would have done that.


Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:34 pm
Post MA and Italian
Austria was deeply enmeshed in Italian affairs for a very long time so it is not a big surprise that she learned some Italian. For example, Napoleon's second wife was the Archduchess Marie Louise. She was given Parma after the Napoleonic wars.

The Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini wrote an opera about the evil Austrians in 1829, Guillaume Tell. Rossini was in Paris when he wrote it. Italy was yet to be unified in 1829, a big step occurring when Franco-Sardinian forces defeated guess who's forces at Magenta in 1859.

HiO Silver!


Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:01 am
Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
She supposedly stopped speaking Austrian when she became the Dauphine, so a majority of her life she spoke French.


Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:24 pm
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
Mme. Campan says:

"Her facility of learning was inconceivable, and if all her teachers had been as well informed and as faithful to their duty as the Abbe Metastasio, who taught her Italian, she would have attained as great a superiority in the other branches of her education. The Queen spoke that language with grace and ease, and translated the most difficult poets. She did not write French correctly, but she spoke it with the greatest fluency, and even affected to say that she had lost German. In fact she attempted in 1787 to learn her mother-tongue, and took lessons assiduously for six weeks; she was obliged to relinquish them, finding all the difficulties which a Frenchwoman, who should take up the study too late, would have to encounter. In the same manner she gave up English, which I had taught her for some time, and in which she made rapid progress."

So it seems that MA did know Italian very well and in fact did partially if not entirely forget German by the time of Revolution.

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Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:27 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
She knew Italian so well that she even proposed Fersen to use that language for the secret political correspondence.

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Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:35 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
skikttn wrote:
She supposedly stopped speaking Austrian when she became the Dauphine, so a majority of her life she spoke French.


Yes, there is an anecdote which tells of her asking an official of a city she visited on her bridal journey not to speak German to her, she only wanted to hear French. Yet she must have retained a fairly basic knowledge of German to attempt to speak it on the way back from Varennes.

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Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:37 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
This story happened on her way to France, as you said. Of course, Antonia said it to please the French public.

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Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:12 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
Indeed, she was a woman determined to please everyone and endear herself to her new people. So charming! :D

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Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:40 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
Oh I want to see that movie 'La Autrichienne' (how rude!). Does it come with English subtitles? Where can I get it?
Thanks,
Ray

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Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:36 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
From what I've read, she would write to Georgiana Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire, in broken English. Her English must have been understandable, because Georgiana would write back.


Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:30 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
Thank you for this info, I haven't known about it so far. I'd completed this with the fact that Louis XVI learned English, and as I know, he spoke this language quite well. Maybe it was the king himself who helped Marie Antoinette to formulate her letters.

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Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:12 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
aparently french, and german.maybe she learned italian? :help:

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Sat May 02, 2009 1:02 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
I would think that she also spoke some Spanish due to the Habsburg rule of Spain.


Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:56 am
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Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
Carolly Erickson says that "Bad French was rife at the Viennese court, but good French very rare", so she probably learned it with an accent from the start.
http://books.google.com/books?id=IbHx0d ... e%22+spoke

The Era Magazine:
Quote:
Marie Antoinette spoke with unequal imperfection, French, German, Italian and Latin, the latter being the prescribed medium of learning at the time.

http://books.google.com/books?id=9n1MAA ... e%22+spoke

The Irish Monthly:
Quote:
Abbe Metastasio, her teacher of Italian, was really faithful to his duties, and Marie Antoinette spoke the language with fluency,although she was unable to write it. She also became fairly proficient in French, though of German, her own tongue, she was woefully ignorant.

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA153& ... oAAAAAYAAJ

Zweig says she had "long since forgotten her mother tongue" and had to have it translated.
http://books.google.com/books?id=UqqcOU ... e%22+spoke

However, one wonders if she did not - as Mme Campan says - rather claim to have forgotten German (a sensitive point given her much noted foreigness) whether or not that was true:
http://books.google.com/books?id=J9IQXV ... e%22+spoke

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Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:03 am
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