Questions tagged [french]

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

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12
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
350 views

What explains the sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- ?

abridge (v.) [...] from Old French abregier "abridge, diminish, shorten," from Late Latin abbreviare "make short" (see abbreviate). The sound development from Latin -vi- to French -dg- is ...
13
votes
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
485 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 ...
17
votes
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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
394 views

Is this natural: gender concord of direct objects with the past participle 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 who fail to follow this rule when speaking spontaneously,...
10
votes
3answers
444 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
374 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

How to trace Proto-language roots towards English and French?

TL;DR: What resources tie Proto-language roots (eg Proto-Indo-European), to English and French, especially if spelling has changed? I always heed linguistic pitfalls, but I always try to find some ...
7
votes
1answer
340 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,...
6
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
483 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. In ...
1
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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 ...