First, there was a Celtic language known as Gaulish, which was spoken by the Gauls before the arrival of the Romans. The Gauls were the Celtic ancestors in France and are still popular today as a symbol of the French national identity. This is particularly expressed in the comics of Asterix, in France better known as Astérix le Gaulois, which directly refers to the Gaulish background.
Although the Gauls were represented as very brave people in the Asterix comics, they were actually, like many other nations, conquered by the Romans. The Romans quickly introduced the Latin language, as they did in all their conquered areas. This brought extreme linguistic changes to the region of Gaul, what we now know as France.
Later on, in the 3rd century, the Franks arrived. The Franks were a Germanic tribe and had a strong impact on what would later become Modern French. Furthermore, the arrival of tribes like the Burgundians, Visigoths and Alemanni led to drastic changes within the vowel system and syntax of the language.
During the 13th century, the unification of Normandy and the Kingdom of France took place, which also had a huge influence on the history of the French language. As a result, many Scandinavian words were added to Old French via the Norman language.
The Kingdom of France later declared Middle French as the official language, banishing Latin and other regional languages like Occitan and the langues d’oïl. By the 17th century, the rise of French literature put forward French bureaucracy. This, in turn, led to what is now known as Classical French, which later evolved into Modern French. Finally, Modern French became a lasting legacy of French colonialism.