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58

This is what's called a "Sprachbund" feature: it's a trait shared by a bunch of languages in an area, even ones that aren't genetically related. In particular, this one is a feature of the "Standard Average European" Sprachbund, a group of languages centered in Western Europe, and it's one of the features that was originally used to define that Sprachbund in ...


16

Word final consonants in French are pronounced, but only under certain conditions that has to do with group- or phrase phonology; they are usually not pronounced at the end of a phrase or a word uttered in isolation. Descriptions of late 17th century French suggest a stage where most consonants were (still) pronounced, but some were elided mainly before ...


15

After the Norman Conquest in 1066 French quickly replaced English in all domains associated with power. French was used at the royal court, by the clergy, the aristocracy, in law courts. But the vast majority of the population continued to speak English. Had the aristocracy and clergy miraculously vanished in 1100 English would have taken over right away. In ...


15

The Trésor de la langue française has most the answer to your question in the etymology section for femme: From Classical Latin femina “female”, then “woman, wife” which competed against the Latin words mulier “woman” which no longer survives in French (contrast with Italian moglie, Spanish mujer) except in the archaic form moillier “wife, woman” (which ...


13

The Norman conquest was hardly a case of 'French' colonization. France barely existed at the time. The Normans were fervently not French in their self-identity and can't even really be said to have spoken 'French'- rather they spoke a dialect of the Latin-based languages spoken across the old Roman world, the Parisian dialect of which would later develop ...


13

I don't think the question of "are these two words, or one word with two forms" is particularly interesting linguistically, at least, not if you're basing the answer on the intuitions of illiterate people. If they're illiterate, they might not even have a well-defined concept of "what is a word" (even linguists don't agree entirely). To give an example from ...


13

Very unlikely! While the phonetic similarities are real, the old Norse name of the weekday etymologically goes back to Frig's day, and not Freyja's day. The actual form of the Norse word is somewhat blurred by a possible early loan from Old Saxon (or some other such west Germanic language) into the attested Norse frjádagʀ. This form is very likely from ...


12

There is no common conventions in French for replacing letters with diacritics by digraphs. In contexts where the diacritics are not available, the usage is just to omit them. This is still common on uppercase letters, and was very common in the early days of Internet when programs were not 8-bit clean and accented letters were causing problems. The ...


11

Generally this process is called prothesis when it occurs at the start of a word (epenthesis occurs between two sounds). This process did indeed involve the addition of a vowel to the start of words with these clusters. History of the prothetic vowel insertion From what I see here, your source only says that this happened in Vulgar Latin; it is silent on ...


11

According to CRNTL1 and the RAE2: Proto-Germanic *steuraz + *burdą Old English stēorbord Middle English sterbord English starboard Classic Dutch stierboord (1588) Old French destribort (1550)9 / destribord (1677)7, 8 Old French destrebort (1484) (GARCIE, Le Grant routier, Rouen ds Fr. mod. t. 26 1958, p. 58) Old French estribord (1601)6 Early Modern ...


11

First of all, a warning: all these etymologies are to some extent hypothetical. Especially when it gets back to Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European, there's no actual proof of how the language worked; it's all reconstructed by linguists. But these reconstructions are generally quite informative, even if we can never be 100% sure they're right. ...


10

It's your third point: Written modern French reflects a much older version of the spoken language than the analogous situation for English. Different languages have different orthographic depth, i.e. different degrees of letter-sound-correspondences: while no language has a percent 1:1 correspondence, some get closer to that than others. The reason for an ...


10

It is normal that you find this rule1 "unnatural". It is entirely artificial and has no logic. It is considered artificial by most grammarians of the French language nowadays (including Grevisse). The agreement with the preceding past participle with avoir was introduced into French in the 16th century (by Clement Marot) a French Renaissance poet, ...


10

The "one negator" interpretation would be a "historical" way of looking at it. There are a couple of problems with using that analysis for present-day French. "J'ai jamais vu personne" does not actually mean "I have ever seen a person". It would be understood as meaning "I have never seen anyone", because "ne" is optional in non-formal spoken French. "...


9

Update: I have cleaned up and organized this list significantly, and it is now available here. I had the same question as you, and ended up throwing together some perl scripts to scrape Wikipedia's list of the 10,000 most used French words, pipe them through eSpeak to get their IPA pronunciations, then do a simple (completely non-phonetic) comparison to ...


9

Anglo-Norman French (or Anglo-Norman) was a dialect of Old French that died out as a spoken language by the beginning of the 13th century. It was used by by the ruling elite, which constituted no more than 2-5% of the total population (Upward and Davidson 2011). Norman Blake writes that English monasteries started receiving a lot of monks trained in France ...


9

L /kasˈtɛl.lʊm/ > VL /kasˈtɛl.lũ/ > OF /t͡ʃahˈtɛl/ > MF /ʃaˈtɛau/> F /ʃaˈto/ L /ˈwɛ.tʊ.lʊm/ > VL /ˈβɛ.lũ/ > /ˈvjɛ.lu/ > OF /vjɛl/ > MF /vjɛu/ > F /vjø/ L /kaˈpɪl.lʊm/ > VL /kaˈβel.lũ/ > OF /t͡ʃəˈvel/ > MF /ʃəˈvɛu/ > F /ʃəˈvø/ L /sɪˈɡɪl.lʊm/ > VL /se.ɣɛl.lũ/ > OF /səˈɛl/ > MF /sɛau/ > F ...


9

The etymology of vendredi is completely straightforward. It is from “Veneris dies” (the day of Venus), well attested in Roman texts as the name for one of the seven days of the “planetary” week.


9

It depends on who "we" are. French (or rather, Anglo-Norman French) was never the universal language of England, but it was the first language of the ruling class. The kings were first-language speakers of French, but Henry IV was the first king to take the oath in English. For the elite, French became a second language by the end of the 15th century. ...


9

That is not an example of free variation but loss of an opposition (a phonological merger). Free variation is a situation where two or more options are available and interchangeable. For example, pronouncing the English word species as /ˈspiːsiːz/ as opposed to /ˈspiːʃiːz/ or vice versa would not convey any difference in meaning, but almost all English ...


9

It's because of a generalized phenomenon where loans generally have a narrower, more specific meaning in their destination language than in their original language. The best example is in my opinion the inuktitut word ᐃᒡᓗ iglu which simply means "house", whereas english igloo means a special kind of house, made of ice, such as is made by inuit people. ...


9

The French word ‘noir’ means ‘black’ and it is used in the names of art genres which are characterized by their dark atmosphere. Historically, the first such genre to which ‘noir’ was applied was film noir. The term ‘film noir’ was coined in 1946 by Nino Frank, a French film critic and writer, in an article about a group of American drama films that were ...


9

There is an opposition between /ʒøn/ in "jeûne" and /ʒœn/ in "jeune" but the opposition between ø and œ is clearly not productive anymore. addendum #1: as you said, the opposition exists between closed syllables (/vœf/ "veuf") and open syllables (/vø/ "vœu") addendum #2 : by the way /œ/ is sometimes the way French ...


8

This is known as an ephelcystic s and is analogous to the ephelcystic t in "Parle-t-il français?". It's euphonic rather than etymological, used to avoid a hiatus between the imperative and the y/en. I believe that historically there would have been an elision instead ("retourn'y") but I don't have a source confirming this. When still considered incorrect, ...


8

The question does not accurately summarize the relevant sound changes. Latin short /u/ was not fronted to /y/. Only Latin long /uː/, as in dūrus /duːrus/, regularly developed to /y/ in French. (Of course, in learned words such as dubitatif, Latin U corresponds to /y/ regardless of its original length, but this does not represent a regular phonetic ...


8

sorry - no time to write, just posting a screenshot from Penny 2002:


8

The distinction between French open-mid and close-mid vowels is often neutralized or unstable in certain positions. The distribution of the sounds also varies in some cases between dialects, so it's a pretty complicated situation. You're right that in general, close-mid vowels, including ø, are associated with open syllables and open-mid vowels, such as œ, ...


7

The root is Latin iaciō (throw, cast), whose supine is iactum. Because of Latin ablaut (vowel change), prefixes like sub-, ob-, pro- trigger a vowel change to *-iectum.


7

The Ancient Greek word τρόπος meant originally "turn", hence various meanings like "way (to be), manner, style"... and even "way to sing/compose" like in Plato's Republic 424c μουσικῆς τρόποι "~ musical modes". The Latins created the (post classical) verb * tropare "~ invent, compose an air", lately "~ compose a poem" and finally "~ compose, invent". The ...


7

The derivation of trouver “to find” < *trobare < *tropare, supposedly meaning “to compose poetry” < tropos “rhetorical figure” can be found in many respectable etymological dictionaries, but it is semantically very difficult as far as the French meaning is concerned. Another possibility that has been considered (e.g. by Meyer-Lübke) is that trouver ...


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