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 what language did marie antoinette speak? 
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:42 am
Posts: 653
Location: Paris
Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
Madame Amelia wrote:
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.

Actually, Marie-Anne Victoire of Bavaria made the exact same statement on her first steps in France. She was the wife of the "Grand Dauphin", Louis XIV's son, and thus dauphine. Although this sentence was pronounced a great deal earlier, Simone Bertière assumes with much ground that it was suggested to young Marie-Antoinette, who meekly repeated it. On other occasions did she make out to have forgotten her native language for instance when a she was spoken to in German in the Tuileries, or earlier, marvelling on the beauty of German language. On the return from Varennes she was still able to exchange a few words in German with Bouillé...

" Perfection is not achieved when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:21 pm

Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 8:13 am
Posts: 34
Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
I have read that she spoke both German and French. But she obviously spoke French for the majority of her life.

Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:42 am

Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:30 am
Posts: 36
Post Re: what language did marie antoinette speak?
She spoke German, French and Italian for sure. In Antonia Fraser's biography of the queen, she mentions that "In Vienna the people spoke three languages -- German, French, and Italian." The French that Marie-Antoinette learned in her childhood was not perfect French, it was full of German phrases and other such things. Whenever marriage negotiations began between her and the Dauphin, the court at Versailles was appalled to hear that two French actors had been hired to give Marie-Antoinette French lessons. So they sent Abbé Vermond to help in that matter, and over time her French became more pure and the German phrases were lost. Only in France did I think she perfected the language and became fluent-- it was only after she was no longer hearing German and Italian.

"I could not of done more for my own daughter."
"Yes sire, but you could of done more for your niece."
- Louis XIV and Marie Louis d'Orléans, regarding her marriage match to the King of Spain.

Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:09 am
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