Questions tagged [french]

Romance language, official in 29 states, including France, Belgium and Côte d'Ivoire. For non-linguistic questions about the French language, visit our sister site French Language Stack Exchange.

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891 views

Does French retain more Celtic words than English does?

English has very few words left from the Ancient British. I am wondering if the language of the Gauls suffered much the same fate, or whether there are significantly more Celtic substrate words ...
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1 answer
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Reason for silent letters in languages

Why are there silent letters in languages? I understand that there may be not any reply to this question. But if there is one, I am curious. Like in French: Je ne parle pas français. Why is it not ...
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3 votes
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Why French Adjectives Uses BAGS

In French, most adjectives are positioned behind the noun e.g. vache bleue médecin étrange orange énevrant But sometimes you have an adjective following BAGS -- the adjective describes beauty, age, ...
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Is it useful to render French /i y u/ and /j ɥ w/ as allophones?

Because /i y u/ behave so differently to the other French vowels /ɛ ɑ œ ɔ/, which all have tense and nasal variants, while also being symmetrical to the semivowels /j ɥ w/, it is attractive to render ...
4 votes
0 answers
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French language : is it possible to use a possessive adjective earlier than the name it refers to? [closed]

I have posted the same question on the French language Stackexchange, and I have been referred to post it here too. A phrase said by Mireille left me dumbfounded: Bénédicte et ses filles ont ...
-1 votes
3 answers
130 views

Some languages take more words to say the same thing. Is there a reliable source for this?

I am working on a way for scientists in my field (archaeology) to evaluate how many words they have published per days they have spent doing fieldwork. Some people do lots of fieldwork, then don't ...
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French V-to-T movement and modifier

I am struggling with this question that concerns the location of a modifier in a French sentence. How would you account for the last sentence? Thank you in advance.
2 votes
0 answers
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Are there any more optimal tactile alphabets than Braille?

Sorry if this is the wrong stackexchange to ask this. Consider how QWERTY was the first keyboard layout, but isn't nearly optimal (e.g. Dvorak is much better and used overwhelmingly by top speed-...
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Why did the Latin word marmor became French marbre (which is in present day English marble)?

I would like to know what process suffered the Latin word marmor when it was borrowed in French and became marbre. I know that the process from French marbre to English marble is dissimilation, i.e. ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Do we have evidence of the transition from -mentum to -ment?

Several English words end in -ment: augment, document, movement, moment, segment, etc. According to several dictionaries, the English -ment suffix is in many cases traced to the French -ment, which in ...
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2 answers
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French & Spanish Accusative & Dative cases like German [closed]

I started learning French a couple of months back. My German proficiency is at B2 level (CEFRL). I wanted to know if French also has the different Accusative & Dative forms for Personal Pronouns, ...
2 votes
1 answer
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About phonological history of Middle French

Schwa in hiatus dwindled in French a few centuries ago. Compare the example "saputum > sëu > su" at Wikipedia/History of French Does anyone know WHEN this sound change occurred? I ...
1 vote
1 answer
342 views

Why does the Portuguese language sound similar to French language to me?

I thought Portuguese would sound very close to Spanish. However, to me, it sounds more like French? Why is that?
10 votes
5 answers
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Which language is more complex, English or French? Is it even possible to objectively measure a language's complexity?

OK, so I'm a native English speaker who learned French as a teenager and I have a friend who is French and learned English as a teenager (so the opposite). The other day he was telling me how easy ...
-1 votes
1 answer
197 views

is my Pronounciation of [ɤ] and french nasal vowels and [ɲ] correct?

Right now I'm trying to learn how to pronounce different vowel sounds in IPA and i wonder if I'm Pronouncing [ɤ] right. ɤ I've been trying to learning French for a long time and I wonder if my ...
1 vote
0 answers
47 views

Second Opinion on Syntax Tree [closed]

I made a syntax tree and I wanted to know if it was well done. The sentence is in French, "Rosa apportera chez le marchand d'art deux toiles de Frida Kahlo". To let you know my logic behind ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Deviation in colloquial speech of nasal vowels in French

Since coming to France I have noted a deviation of the nasal vowels pronunciation among native speakers from what IPA chart suggests. For example -en and -em are pronounced more akin to the nasal ...
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2 votes
4 answers
256 views

Why words in many romance languages don't have more than one part of speech, unlike words in English

I have recently just realized that in English, sometimes the same word will have different part of speech depends on the way you pronounce it. For example, record can be a noun or a verb depends on ...
5 votes
1 answer
781 views

Why do object pronouns precede the predicate in French, while R-expressions follow it?

How to explain the situation in French where an object pronoun needs to precede the predicate, while an object R-expression stands to the right of the predicate? Here is an example: a. Il le regarde. (...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Why are French nouns in -eur feminine when their latin origin in -or is masculine?

The suffix -eur in modern French typically gives feminine nouns: erreur, ferveur, torpeur, fureur. (Confusingly there's also -(a)teur which gives masculine nouns, but it seems etymologically separate)....
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1 vote
2 answers
217 views

In English the suffix sometimes changes the stress pattern of the rest of the word. Is English the only language with this system?

TELephone, telePHONic, teLEphony. PHOTograph, photoGRAphic,photOgraphy. biOLogy, bioLOGical. The suffix changes the stress pattern of the rest of the word. Is English the only language with this ...
0 votes
1 answer
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Where can I find a corpus of sentence with the resulting emotion in french?

I'm working on a sentiment analysis program and I need to validate it using a corpus of sentence with the linked emotions. I need to perform this task on a french corpus and I can't find any on the ...
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1 answer
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How long were Old Frankish dialects spoken in modern France?

How long were the Germanic dialects commonly subsumed under the term "Frankish" spoken by Frankish people in Northern Gaul, and how long did it take until they were completely supplanted by ...
1 vote
1 answer
204 views

Why are native English speakers convinced that English language is a Romance language? [closed]

Most people I've know so far in the USA are always saying that learning Latin would be really easy because, since English comes from Latin, it cannot be a hard thing to do, and they really get shocked ...
2 votes
0 answers
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Origin of English's phrasal possessive

This site claimed that the phrasal possessive in English came from French influence, while the synthetic possessive is Germanic. Germanic Pattern: the king’s son - cf. German "des Königs Sohn&...
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Adoption of another language by a community

I am interested in conditions under which a community adopts (or does not adopt) another language, even though this community is sufficiently isolated to be able to continue the use of its previous ...
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0 answers
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Just how silent is the French e muet?

I know the e muet is usually considered silent. That being said, it is still often pronounced in songs and poetry (famously, in the Marseillaise). This is completely contrary to the situation in ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is it possible to produce a list of syntactic rules for a language?

I recently started a new job as an applied linguist engineer and one of the first tasks I was ask to do was to provide a list of syntactic rules that can produce French sentences (for an ...
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Evidence that ø and œ are separate phonemes in French?

Are there any minimal pairs between ø and œ or other evidence that these are separate phonemes? I have been studying French, and so far it seems like ø is found in open syllables and œ is found in ...
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1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
257 views

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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
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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 ...
2 votes
5 answers
9k 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
5 votes
2 answers
236 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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1 vote
3 answers
7k 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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0 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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3 answers
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Some “linguistic 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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2 answers
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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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
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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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30 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
223 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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2 votes
3 answers
124 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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1 answer
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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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3 votes
2 answers
580 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
64 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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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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