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I was wondering when exactly the "subjonctif imparfait" (and passé simple) fell out of (spoken) use, since they are still very much alive in other Romance languages. I had a look through a few grammars but I have never seen any dates mentioned.

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Did some more research and found answers to my question:

Le passé simple n’est plus un temps de la langue parlée. Selon Meillet (1948 : 151) cette forme n’existe plus dans l’usage parlé depuis le début du 19e siècle.

  • subjonctif imparfait: the French Wikipedia article says the disappearance started in the 18th century and carried through to early 19th century:

Dès le XVIIIe siècle, le subjonctif imparfait tendait à disparaître dans la langue courante. [...] Cependant, son usage a considérablement reculé depuis le début du XIXe siècle

As for reasons, both articles mention phonetic shifts in the language itself and the homophony of certain forms (e.g. fut / fût, alla / allât etc.)

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