Questions tagged [french]

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

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55 views

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 ...
4
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3answers
1k views

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, ...
29
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1answer
5k views

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
81 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 ...
7
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0answers
121 views

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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0answers
75 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
180 views

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 " ...
2
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3answers
103 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.
4
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1answer
152 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, ...
2
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2answers
200 views

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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2answers
58 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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1answer
113 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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3answers
233 views

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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0answers
76 views

Rhotic gutturalization in French

While reading my tutor's paper I came across a term which I would like to understand better. Uvular trill [R] appears in certain French dialects. That sound often changes into a voiced uvular ...
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2answers
142 views

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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3answers
132 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
212 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 ...
2
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0answers
63 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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1answer
110 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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3answers
424 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 "...
2
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3answers
166 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 ...
2
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1answer
189 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
79 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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3answers
226 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
412 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
611 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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0answers
50 views

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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1answer
209 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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48 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
164 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 ...
4
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1answer
82 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
149 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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2answers
244 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, ...
7
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1answer
318 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,...
2
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1answer
222 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 ...
5
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1answer
131 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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1answer
169 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? (...
6
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2answers
2k 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 ...
6
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3answers
723 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. ...
2
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0answers
74 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 ...
2
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1answer
255 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 ...
6
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1answer
550 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
464 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 ...
2
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1answer
162 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
345 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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0answers
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 ...
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1answer
92 views

In the context of proper nouns, are there any examples in French where they are used as appellatives? [closed]

There exists many examples of this in English, for example 'there are 3 Carolines in my class' or 'there are several Aberdeens in Scotland' (not true of course..just for example!). I was wondering if ...
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102 views

Relative Language Distances [closed]

Could someone compare the distance between Modern French and Middle French to Modern English and Middle English. In general which of these languages has diverged more over time?
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376 views

Why does French “cheveu(x)” have “eu” and not “eau”?

Many French words have lost etymological /l/. I have read that this occured due to a process of l-vocalization around the 10th-12th centuries which turned pre-consonantal l to u after any vowel aside ...
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2answers
245 views

Fronting of /u/ from Latin to French

When Latin evolved to French, the vowel /u/ fronted to become /y/... except in Latin "VRSVS" /ur.sus/ > French "ours" /uʁs/, in which the vowel /u/ was kept. I do not think that the /rs/ environment ...