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Accounting and the words to tell it: an historical perspective

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Abstract:

In the French language, the word comptabilite (accounting) first appeared in the middle of the eighteenth century. It was used in the Royal finances and its first meaning was that of accountability. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, or thereabouts, the uses of the word evolved gradually but in a somewhat confused manner. Once its meaning had become stabilised, the growing use of the word by an increasing population and the development of accounting activities created a need for adjectives to be added. Commercial, industrial and agricultural accounting, general and auxiliary accounting appeared, as well as the use of comptabilite to designate the accounting department. In this paper, we examine the evolution of words in the context of the development of accounting, seeking some help from amongst linguists.

Keywords: France; French language; accounting; nineteenth century; words

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585200902969260

Affiliations: Universite d'Orleans, France

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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