I'm wondering why Old French is translated as "ancien français" and not "français ancien?" I thought that "ancien" before a noun translated to "former," while "ancien" after a noun translated to "ancient." Thanks in advance!


1 Answer 1


Former is certainly part of the meaning here. When preceding the noun it qualifies, ancien often means no longer in use, that existed before the current like ancien régime for monarchie, ancien franc (before the nouveau franc), Ancien Testament (Old Testament).

This usage might have also been influenced by the form vieux français.

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