I am very new to Linguistics, so please, let me know if my question is not worded correctly!!

I'm fluent in (Canadian) French, and œ has always been a little weird to me. It's found every now and then, in words like sœur (sister) and œuf (egg). I do know that it has origins in Latin. Around what time did œ start being used in French?

  • Do you mean the letter or the sound?
    – Draconis
    May 12 at 23:10
  • Letter, very sorry for the confusion!
    – nai
    May 12 at 23:28
  • 4
    Given that the transition from Vulgar Latin to (Old) French was gradual, and that manuscripts from those times generally employ an awful lot of abbreviations – including, but by no means limited to, joining up letter sequences like oe and ae into œ and æ – I’m not sure if there’s any way to say exactly when œ started being used in French. Probably it was there from the beginning. The difference is that at some point, the orthography was codified, and œ gained letter status, rather than just being an optional ligature used in manuscript writing. May 13 at 8:22
  • As for me, such œ, eux, œu, etc. are prettiness of the French spelling )
    – T1nts
    May 15 at 18:28


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