Article published in:Sociolinguistic Variation in Contemporary French
Edited by Kate Beeching, Nigel Armstrong and Françoise Gadet
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 26] 2009
► pp. 231–252
From ‘luck’ to ‘wealth’
The stylistic (re)distribution of fortuné in Modern French
This chapter examines the semantic development of fortuné in Modern French, charting its sociostylistic variation from the 18th to the 21st century. It focuses particularly on the increasing use of fortuné in its current sense of ‘rich/wealthy’, and the negative reception of this new sense in most lexicographical works up until the 20th century. The study aims to show how this semantic innovation produced a lexical stylistic division, opposing a traditional usage (considered standard) to a ‘neological’ one (considered non-standard). Having undergone a shift of meaning from ‘lucky/happy’ to ’wealthy’, fortuné is currently most commonly understood as a euphemism for ‘rich’.
Published online: 14 October 2009