Questions tagged [french]

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

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0
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1answer
602 views

Is there a French IPA translator for free?

I am looking for a completely free French IPA translator as I'm currently attempting to learn the language and need help understanding the pronunciation. Looking for a text translator, audio optional
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1answer
102 views

Why the French 'noir' has perspired in so many languages?

Having a look at wiki's page about Nordic noir genre, I realised that this same word 'noir' is used in many other languages (even in for ex. Farsi with نوآر). Someone has an idea why this word has ...
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1answer
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Is h↓ the correct IPA representation of the ingressive “fast gasp”, meaning “uh-huh”, in French?

Spoken French has two ingressive forms of "yes". One is "ouais" [wɛ↓], equivalent to "yep" in English. The other is a "pure" ingressive sound, described ...
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0answers
102 views

Term for non-homograph homophone synonyms?

In Japanese, 熱い and 暑い are both read atsui and both mean 'hot'. The former pertains to an object (e.g. hot coffee) and the latter to weather. In French 'cuissot' and 'cuisseau' have the same ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
169 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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2answers
170 views

Adjective position in Provençal (Occitan)

Can anyone tell me the rules for adjective position in Provençal? I know that, like most other Romance languages, most adjectives go after the noun, with some exceptions. But I can't find the exact ...
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1answer
224 views

Why do many French and Spanish noun cognates have opposing grammatical gender?

While most French/Spanish noun cognates share the same gender (both descending from the same vulgar latin root), there are many exceptions having opposing genders (e.g. la couleur / el color; la ...
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1answer
114 views

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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4answers
14k 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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3answers
2k views

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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1answer
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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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2answers
474 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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3answers
95 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
116 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 ...
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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, ...
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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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4answers
4k views

Online etymology dictionaries for French, beyond CNTRL?

Are there etymology dictionaries for French available on the Internet? To wit, what's a French equivalent of http://etymonline.com/? I already know about TLF informatisé (TLFi), but often, it does ...
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1answer
100 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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4answers
8k views

Why there are no grammatical cases in the French language?

As far as I know, the French language is considered as a Romance language, which is derived, in its turn, from the Latin language. The last one has a rich grammatical cases system. I am interested to ...
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0answers
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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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3answers
204 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
111 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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3answers
203 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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2answers
303 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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2answers
4k 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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2answers
256 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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1answer
236 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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4answers
515 views

How do illiterate French people learn which pronunciation to use in different sentences?

Are there any studies on language acquisition for illiterate French people? Are they aware of the spelling of French words on a subconscious level to be able to pronounce them correctly in different ...
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2answers
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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1answer
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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
298 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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2answers
151 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
184 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
346 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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2answers
977 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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1answer
4k views

Was the change in spelling from “cw” to “qu” in English associated with any difference in pronunciation?

I always thought that "cw" in Old English represented /kw/, and the same for modern English "qu", and that the change from one to the other was purely orthographic, since the "qu" digraph was more ...
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1answer
121 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
602 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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6answers
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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 many,...
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1answer
313 views

Latin's excrescent e- in English and French

Etymonline's entry on 'estate' broaches the excrescent e-. Is this excrescence called epenthesis? the later Romans evidently found words beginning insc-, sp-, st-difficult or unpleasant to ...
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1answer
476 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
94 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
261 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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2answers
502 views

Why is 'be' sometimes the auxiliary verb for the present perfect?

1. Why do these 16 verbs require être as the auxiliary verb, to form the passé composé in French? 2. Abbreviated as DMPRRS, these 6 (of the 16) are ambitransitive. When transitive, their auxiliary ...
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1answer
119 views

How to learn more about contradictory or superfluous affixes efficiently?

Instead of questioning each word's prefixes, how can I learn more productively? E.g. I was researching the etymology of the French verb 'accabler': [I quoted Wiktionary in French; the English ...
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0answers
155 views

Why were prefixes repeated as postverbal prepositions?

French: s'abstenir de    Spanish: abstenerse de    English: abstain [from] (v.) [<--] late 14c., "to withhold oneself," from Old French abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (...
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3answers
539 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
311 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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0answers
51 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 ...