Last modified on 22 August 2013, at 12:49

Appendix:Old French verbs

The Old French language is an extinct Romance language spoken from roughly 824 - 1400. It derived from Vulgar and Medieval Latin. Much like modern French and other modern Romance languages, the four principal Latin conjugations became three. Old French was a series of dialects and varied much more from region to region than modern French does, so the rules given here are very general, as it would be impractical to try to include all the regional variations in one appendix.

First conjugationEdit

First conjugation verbs mainly are derived from Latin first conjugation ones. The -are ending of Latin infinitives becomes -er as it does in modern French.


  • This verb conjugates like other verbs ending in -er. The forms that would normally end in *-ts, *-tt are modified to z, t. Old French conjugation varies significantly by date and by region. The following conjugation should be treated as a guide.

Second conjugationEdit

Second conjugation verbs mainly are descended from the fourth conjugation in Latin. The -ire ending of Latin infinitives becomes -ir, as it does in modern French, as well as many other Romance languages.

  • Old French conjugation varies significantly by date and by region. The following conjugation should be treated as a guide.

Third conjugationEdit

The third conjugation, as in modern French, is made up of all the verbs that do not fit into the first and second conjugation. Therefore, there is no consistent conjugation.

InfinitivesEdit

Old French often has more than one infinitive for the same verb. That is, more than one infinitive with the same conjugation. For first conjugation verbs, this often means -er and -ier forms being interchangeable, such as aprocher or aprochier, or cuider or cuidier. There are a few instances of third conjugation verbs with varying infinitives:

Agreement of the past participleEdit

Unlike in modern French, the past participle can agree even when it comes after the direct object:

  • (Modern French) Elle dit « Ami, Kaherdin arrive. J'ai vu son bateau sur la mer. »
  • (English) She says, "Friend, Kaherdin is coming. I have seen her boat on the sea."

veüe is the feminine singular form of the past participle of veoir. In modern French, vu does not agree with bateau (or nef, which still exists but is archaic).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Petite Grammaire de l’ancien français, XIIe - XIIIe siècles - Ed Faral, Éditions Hachette (1943), ISBN 2.01.002541.5
  • Histoire de la langue française, Jacques Leclerc, available on the website of the Laval University, Quebec.