Questions tagged [french]

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

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How to pronounce 'Il est bel et bon' (Passereau) [migrated]

My choir is singing a jolly french song: 'Il est bel et bon', by Pierre Passereau. It was published in 1534 in Paris. The words are: Il est bel et bon commère mon mary Il estoient deux femmes toutes ...
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What is a “Phonetic Language”?

Once I've spoke with a friend of mine and I've asked him why in the french language there are so many discrepancies (or incongruities, inconformities...) between the written and the spoken words and ...
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Latin jūs and sūcus, and the words in Romance languages

Why is French jus said to be from Latin jūs or iūs, while Spanish jugo is said to be from the Latin sūcus? I don't know if there's a link between sūcus and jūs, but jus and jugo look like they are ...
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In X Bar Theory where can “ne” and “pas” be found?

I have read past papers on French negation and it says that it is accepted that the NegP in French is null, and "pas" is specifier to NegP. So what would "ne" be then? I haven't been able to find ...
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81 views

Some “LINGUISTIQUE formulas” to translate French texts into English?

I am not sure is it correct to ask my question here or not! I've asked this question here (in MathStackExchange) before! Maybe it is better to see the question there, because it was written ...
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2answers
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How to know when to use a direct and indirect object pronoun [closed]

Il faut les rendre actifs - we have to make them active Nous devons leur donner le choix - We have to give them the choice Please can someone explain why the second sentence takes an indirect object ...
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How is French written in telegraphy and other settings in which diacritics are not possible?

The French alphabet has 5 diacritics and 2 orthographic ligatures, to make 16 extra letters. In Latin scripts, letters with diacritics like ä, å or à, ñ, ö, and ü can be transcribed as ae, aa, gn, oe, ...
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Is it unusual that English uses possessive for past tense?

When learning some basic French, I was somewhat surprised to learn that phrases of the form "I have found the cat" generally translate almost word-for-word from English (J'ai trouvé le chat). To me, ...
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1answer
87 views

What are the title capitalization rules in some languages?

Specifically, for song titles. I know that in English all words are capitalized, except for short function words like “of”, “for” etc. and in Russian only the first word is capitalized, plus proper ...
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How to synthesize French vowels

I am trying to synthesize the French vowels [o] and [ɔ] for running a perception experiment. I have been using the Praat Vocal Toolkit and got pretty nice results with the following formant values: F1(...
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Examples of languages with complex “formules de politesse”

French uses complex word arrangements to say "best regards" and "yours sincerely" to finish well written letters, i.e.: Nous vous prions d’agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de nos sentiments respectueux ...
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On an apparent “ masstermization” phenomenon in contemporary informal French: “ il y a de la jolie nana par ici”

I have noticed a tendency to " masstermize" nouns in contemporary informal French, I mean to use nouns as mass terms ( uncountable), though they cannot be strictly used in this way. What I call " ...
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106 views

What is the French equivalent of the English linguistic term “reflex” (the descendant sound of a sound in a proto-language)?

I looked it up in different dictionaries but could not find anything. Thank you in advance.
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165 views

Why do French words tend to become so much more intense in English?

My knowledge of French is very rudimentary, but one common theme I noticed in English words borrowed from French is that their meaning becomes so much more intense. To give just a few examples, ...
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Why is the English name for Bruges the same as the French despite that it's a Flemish city?

My question is about the name of Bruges, Belgium. In Flemish, Bruges is called "Brugge", and in French, it's called "Bruges". Despite the city being part of the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium, we ...
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60 views

Is “bien décidés” an adjectival phrase?

Mais il me faut quelques volontaires bien décidés. in that sentence, décidés is considered as an adjective right? So does the phrase bien décidés an adjectival phrase or adverbial phrase?
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137 views

What type of stress does French have

So I know that there are on the one hand pitch-accent languages (like South-Slavic languages, Greek, Norwegian, etc.) where the accentuated syllable is indicated by a particular pitch contour/tone ...
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Free variation in French

In French, some speakers differentiate between the pronunciation of maître /mɛ:tʁ/ and mettre /mɛtʁ/ - that is, in the first case the /ɛ/ is long and in the second it's short, but that ...
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Why is there an x in French deux?

The Latin from which French evolved has duo, duorum/duarum, duos, and so on, while the contemporary French pronunciation also omits the 'x'. Why did Middle French spell deux with an x?
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144 views

Textbook suggestions for French phonology

I need to write a paper on French phonology for my Phonology class so I was wondering if you could give me some advice on where to start? I'm mainly looking for textbooks either in English or in ...
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1answer
255 views

Stark differences in French and German

Both the German and French languages, along with English, evolved from the same roots. This is reflected in some of their words and grammatical structures. So then why are the pronunciations of both ...
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66 views

Pronunciation of Fermat in Gascon/Occitan

A math professor mentioned that the final segment of Fermat's name would probably have been pronounced [t] because of "where he was from." She didn't clarify further but I looked up where he's from ...
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118 views

Language in England during 1066

For how many years after 1066 did we speak French in England? I tried looking this up on many sites, but I couldn’t find anything. I'm hoping someone knows their history and can tell me when people ...
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463 views

Does the English “Garden” come from the French “Jardin” or the German “Garten”?

I always assumed that the English word "Garden" was similar to the German "Garten" due to the Germanic roots of English. But according to Wikipedia, "Garden" in English is related to the French "...
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179 views

Does “Je n’ai jamais vu personne” truly have triple negatives? Isn't 'ne' the only negative?

John McWhorter PhD Linguistics (Stanford). The Power of Babel (2003).   Left to its own devices, Standard English would most likely allow double negation as an emphatic strategy, along the lines ...
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287 views

French - when is 'r' pronounced as /x/ and when is it pronounced /ʁ/?

I'm a Hebrew speaker, and in Modern Hebrew, there is a distinction between /ʁ ~ ɣ/ and /x/. When I hear French, I recognize that 'r' isn't always pronounced as /ʁ/ but in many times, as /x/. I tried ...
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1answer
86 views

How did « admettre » semantically generalize to signify 'confess'?

McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford). The Power of Babel (2003). p. 32 Bottom.   Semantic drift has an especially visible effect on combinations of roots and prefixes or suffixes, and this ...
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240 views

Gold in French, light in Hebrew

I am fascinated by questions of linguistic relation between Hebrew and the Romance Languages, but I feel here I may have stumbled on a false connection and would like to be properly put in my place. ...
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3answers
453 views

As French is a so-called Roman language, where are the cases? [duplicate]

French language is known to be a Roman language, just like Spanish, Italian, Swiss Roman… Those Roman languages are told to be originating from Latin language. When I learnt Latin, one of the first (...
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2answers
741 views

Does the French word for Friday, “vendredi”, come from the Latin “Veneris” or the old Norse “Vanadis”?

When looking up the etymology of the French vendredi online, I can only find the suggestion that it comes from the Latin Veneris (Venus). However, the English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and ...
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Looking for a thorough comparison of French and Spanish

Either in English, Spanish or French. I haven't found a comparative grammar but I got pretty excited with this monograph: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Portuguese_and_Spanish I'm ...
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233 views

What are the theories for Spanish and French/ Romance languages not coming from Latin?

I know Yves Cortez came up with theories suggesting that French and Spanish/ Romance languages came from old Italian instead of Latin. He argued that this is because Latin was only the written ...
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How much of a difference does vowel mergers make to perception of fluency?

Listening to some example French conversations between an experienced, fluent speaker and an inexperienced learner, I noticed by chance that the experienced speaker differentiates between similar ...
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2answers
169 views

How do we get from Greek τρόπος to French trouver?

The French verb trouver (to find/think) can trace its ancestry back to the Greek word τρόπος, which means a turn, manner, style, or figure of speech. Is there any logic to this seemingly disconnected ...
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1answer
86 views

Why use “être” with pronominal verbs in complex tenses in french?

While some verbs in french with intransitive sense use "être" for complex tenses (Je suis entré), other verbs with transitive sense use "avoir" to show subject-object relations: Je les ai vus. ("Je" - ...
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1answer
160 views

Why the writing and reading in English are different?

I do not encounter so big problems with the English language although I'm not a native English speaker. But I'm curious why some languages (like English or French) are written different from the way ...
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259 views

What came first: «starboard» or «estribor»?

In English, the right side of a ship (and everything beyond said side) is called «starboard». I know enough about sailing and about stars to know that stars can't have anything to do with that name, ...
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1answer
323 views

French dialects from west to east: no distinct breaks, blend into German?

A long time ago, I remember reading about a work that showed that there were no distinct breaks in the local dialects as one travelled from west to east across France, and how at the easternmost areas,...
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1answer
237 views

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
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135 views

Is there any case which we need to care about stative verbs in French grammar?

It seems that in context of French grammar (at least in traditional grammar) talking about stative and dynamic verbs is not relevant. because there is no real progressive aspect in french and there is ...
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182 views

Comparison between Ido, Esperanto and French

I read somewhere this assertion: Ido is a try to make Esperanto looking more like French. Can someone explain me in which extend Ido could be closer than French than Esperanto, in which fields? (...
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3k views

Substitution of w for g between certain words in French and English

A few words/names in French strongly resemble their English equivalents but with g substituted for w: Guillaume ~ William guêpe ~ wasp guerre ~ war I'm curious as to how this came about. Is there a ...
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3answers
828 views

Did Latin “cum” get replaced in French by “avec” because “con” sounded obscene?

While the words for "with" in most Romance languages seem to be direct descendents from Latin "cum" (e.g. Spanish/Italian "con", Portuguese "com", Romanian "cu") it got replaced by "avec" in French. ...
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75 views

graphical representation that exemplifies the different between stressed-timed and syllable-timed languages

A student asked why English and French have different rhythms. luckily, I had an answer on hand: English is a stressed-timed language - rhythmic beats align with stressed syllables French is a ...
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1answer
260 views

Different assimilation directions

Here's a question I posed to a prominent researcher in French phonology during my undergrad. We didn't spend a ton of time on it, but we couldn't come up with a satisfactory solution. Now that I've ...
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573 views

Derivatives of Latin *mulier* in French

It is well known that the derivatives of Latin mulier and fēmina competed in Romance languages as the main word for `woman'. For instance, the former remained as Spanish mujer and Portuguese mulher (...
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2answers
534 views

Are most dialect in Flanders influenced by French?

A year ago, I went to Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. Since I'm interested in languages, I did some research, so I could understand the differences between Dutch from The Netherlands and ...
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1answer
173 views

How does English 'lodge' come from Frankish *laubija by sound change?

lodge (etymonline) (n.) Middle English logge, mid-13c. in surnames and place names; late 13c. as "small building or hut," from Old French loge "arbor, covered walk; hut, cabin, grandstand at ...
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1answer
356 views

Earliest recognition that Romance languages are related

I don't know if this is a question for this Stack Exchange or for the History Stack Exchange, but I would like to know when people first understood that the Romance languages were related. I have ...
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59 views

French Auxiliary Selection. Theoretical explanations?

I've heard that Generative Approaches trying to explain Auxiliary Selection are mostly focused in Italian, because its a language which intransitive verbs respond pretty well to unaccusativity ...