Léon Bollack and La Langue française en l’an 2003
This paper tests the predictions of Bollack’s 1903 article against the now known reality of twenty-first-century French. While many of his claims are undoubtedly naïve, Bollack often proves an astute observer of spoken French, who merely underestimates resistance to change in the written language. Moreover, he identifies themes which were to dominate the mainstream linguistic agenda, and sets out principles of change which would influence commentators throughout the twentieth century. However, Bollack’s article must also be seen in the context of his ambitions for Bolak, his own invented language, the underlying principles of which are seen — often wrongly — to drive change in natural languages.