Questions tagged [french]

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

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0answers
97 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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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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150 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 " ...
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3answers
93 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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134 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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2answers
142 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
55 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
98 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
214 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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60 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
134 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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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
165 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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55 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
100 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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372 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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3answers
154 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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1answer
150 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
74 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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204 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. ...
4
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3answers
338 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
452 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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1answer
194 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
151 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
79 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
138 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
236 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
304 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
196 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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1answer
116 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
153 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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2answers
1k 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
584 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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69 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
240 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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1answer
522 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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397 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
148 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
315 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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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
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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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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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337 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
219 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 ...
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1answer
3k views

How and why did so many French letters become silent?

It would seem that much ease of use must have been lost when a lot of French letters came to be silent - I never fail to be amazed that "il parle" and "ils parlent" are homophones, and it's very easy ...
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2answers
358 views

About Subjunctive/Konjunctive

What is the reason for the difference between German dass-Sätze (which are in the indicative mood) and French que-sentences (which are in the subjunctive mood)? My German understanding is far better ...
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2answers
237 views

Historical development of English pronunciation(s) of “hygiene”

I have a two-part question about the pronunciation of hygiene in English. The usual pronunciation, as shown by a variety of online dictionaries accessible from OneLook Dictionary Search, is /...
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358 views

Past participle agreement in French

Background (skip if you know French) In French, to generate the past tense, you use the past participle of the verb, attaching in front a conjugated form of avoir or être. For example: J'ai mangé. ...