Romance language, official in 29 states, including France, Belgium and Côte d'Ivoire.

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Is 'identity' a grammatical term?

Originally purposed for this ELL question, the following from this thread claims that which I've greyed. I ask about such a claim for English and French. [User 'RuthP' dated 2012 Dec 26:] That ...
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0answers
44 views

French letter closings in English?

When I first learned about the Closing Formula for French business letters, I had found them affected and foreign, especially since I haven't seen them in modern English (though I'm unversed in ...
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17 views

Position of 'notwithstanding' and « nonobstant »?

Hereafter, I ask only about English vs French (Alas, these two already trouble me enough!) Based on the etymology, I guess that notwithstanding and « nonobstant » are cognates? Am I right? If so, ...
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3answers
127 views

The French of Shakespeare — why does it seem so modern?

In Henry V, Shakesperean English is difficult to understand (even for modern native English speakers -- at least for me) without a good amount of help. However, there are a few scenes conducted ...
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3answers
109 views

Participle agreement in French

Phrases in French like la photo que j'ai prise (instead of que j'ai pris) have always struck me as unnatural. I've heard a lot of French people fail to follow this rule when speaking spontaneously, ...
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1answer
87 views

Was there s-mobile in the PIE root for dog?

I have noticed a striking similarity between the French word chien meaning dog and Russian word щенок "puppy", the both words pronounced exactly the same way except the deminutive suffix -ок in the ...
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2answers
108 views

How to work with an IPA chart?

I am trying to learn French vowel sounds using this IPA chart. My question is about this chart. I use it for the first time and I am interested how comprehensive it is. Does a position at this chart ...
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1answer
128 views

Meaning of the root “ject”

What does the root "ject" mean? It occurs in words such as "subject", "object", "project", "injection", "surjection", "bijection". As far as I know these words came to English from French and, in ...
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2answers
213 views

Why has Paris French mostly lost the distinction between /e/ and /ɛ/?

Why has Paris French mostly lost the distinction between /e/ and /ɛ/? As in, the difference between 'Je le ferai' and 'Je le ferais', 'poignée' and 'poignet', or more simply between the é sound and ...
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1answer
887 views

List of French minimal pairs

I recently asked a general question about minimal pairs (i.e. words that differ by one phoneme) and got a link to a website that provides a comprehensive list of English minimal pairs. Is there a ...
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1answer
99 views

Why do Spanish and other Romance Languages use the preposition “a” for culinary styles?

I've looked in the Real Academia Española dictionary and I can't find any information regarding why Spanish uses the preposition a for cooking styles, and I've noticed French and Italian do it too. I ...
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2answers
87 views

German help regarding the origin of a last name

We are trying to find the origin of our family name. Ending with "AU" I thought it might be maybe of german decent. Our last name is "Arsenau". Any word in german that sounds like "arsen" ? That last ...
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1answer
145 views

Language transfer for second language learners (French-English)

How does language transfer occur from French to English within native french speakers' mind? Can we observe this phenomenon ?
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1answer
205 views

Universals and emphatic pronouns

In (spoken) English, the object pronouns "me/you/her/him/us/them" are, in some sense, the "unmarked" pronouns. (I only claim native knowledge of English as it is spoken in parts of the US). By this I ...
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1answer
110 views

What is the postfix that makes “figurine” diminutive of “figure”?

"figurine" means "little figure". From etymonline: figurine (n.) [Look up figurine at Dictionary.com] 1854, from French figurine (16c.), from Italian figurina, diminutive of figura, from ...
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2answers
157 views

What part of speech is the French “à la mode”?

What is "à la mode" in French? I am thinking it must be an adjective but wondering how this might be represented in an arbre syntagmatique. I am new to linguistics and just trying to get a solid ...
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2answers
301 views

What is the etymological relationship between French “feu”, Lao “ເຝີ” (feu), and Vietnamese “phở”?

In both Lao cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine there exists a noodle dish with a similar name. Lao ເຝີ (feu) and Vietnamese phở. Each Wikipedia article discusses the possibility of the dish/word being ...
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4answers
2k views

Why did England not maintain French as a spoken language?

In many countries around the world, especially in Africa, the people natively speak both an indigenous language and French due to French colonization. The Norman conquest of England left us with ...
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422 views

What are the differences between the French and English [i] and how does it affect the perception?

I'm rephrasing my question after (very helpful) comments to my initial version: What are the differences between the [i] produced by French speakers (in French) and English speakers (in English)? ...
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2answers
163 views

How are these rolled “r”s pronounced?

I recently came upon a viral/funny Quebecois video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InMJopurNTE In it, the guy is pronouncing his "r"s (e.g. in gros, bras) very oddly. I can't reproduce this sound, ...
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3answers
387 views

Similarity between Salut in French and Salaam in Arabic

I noticed a similarity between the word Salut in French and the word سلام in Arabic which is pronounced Salaam and they both mean "safety and well-being" and are both used as a general greeting to ...
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3answers
2k views

Why don't the French pronounce consonants at the ends of words?

I am curious what could have caused the shift in pronunciation. I presume it must have occurred after the spelling of words was standardized. According to the History of French wikipedia article, this ...
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2answers
181 views

How does the sound change from L. “benedictionem” to O.Fr. “beneiçon” happen?

benison c.1300, "blessing, beatitude," from O.Fr. beneiçon "blessing, benediction," from L. benedictionem (see benediction). Similarly, the word malison comes in the exact way described above. ...
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1answer
118 views

Are there ways to infer the ending of the French past participle? [closed]

The French past participle (participe passé) is easily inferable with regard to first and second group verbs: manger -> mangé finir -> fini I would like to know if there is any way to infer ...
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273 views

What is the present tense expressing future?

Perhaps this question has been asked before, I may have looked for the wrong terms then because I haven't found the answer. I would like to know more about the usage of the present tense in sentences ...
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5answers
648 views

Plural “you” in different language families connoting respect

I recently found out that French has two different words for "you." From here: Tu is the familiar "you," which demonstrates a certain closeness and informality. ... Vous is the formal "you." It ...
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3answers
634 views

Regarding the th sound

Why some languages don't have the "th" sound? (voiced and voiceless dental fricatives) They say languages such as French, Turkish etc don't have the "th" sound as in "thin" and "then". I sometimes ...
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4answers
1k views

When and how did French become a non-null-subject language?

First of all, what does "null-subject" mean? Taken from the Wikipedia page for "Null-subject languages": […] a null-subject language is a language whose grammar permits an independent clause to ...
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3answers
612 views

How can adjective-noun order in French be explained by parameter theory?

I just finished reading The Atoms of Language. The gist is that languages have parameters, one of which will tell you which side of a phrase to add a new word. But in some languages, like French and ...
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3answers
748 views

French conjugation, spoken vs written

French verbs are conjugated depending on the subject's person and number (ex. je parle, tu parles, il parle, etc.) However in spoken language most of these sound the same anyway because the end part ...