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french words in English Options
Gordon Freeman
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 5:41:44 AM

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There is a lot of French words in English. Not just of the French origin, or transliterations like vodka or kopeika, but actual

French words with the spelling and pronunciation preserved.

I wonder, why is that? I don't even know how to type those French accents, do you?

Strictly speaking, are they English words at all?

Because if they are not, why are they used without quote marks, with articles and so on?

From the standpoint of formal writing, if I should leave out an accent say in resume , would it be considered an error?
rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:13:34 AM

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The spelling resume may be ambiguous as it will be read as the verb to resume.
The normal spelling for summary is résumé.
Roughly 25 percent of the English vocabulary is French based and a lot of people speak French
or have a knowledge of French. So not every common French word has to be written with quotation
marks, especially when this word is in the English dictionary.
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:14:54 AM

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English has taken many words from French for centuries. This is hardly surprising when you consider that the ruling class spoke Norman French from 1066 until the end of the 15th century. French continued to be used in legal documents in England for another three centuries.

Over the years, many of the French words in English were anglicised in pronunciation and, sometimes, in spelling. Words and expressions that have come into the language in more recent times have retained a pronunciation similar to that of the word used by speakers of French. Expressions such as déjà vu, which is still seen as a French expression, though accepted in English, are generally given the accents by people who write them. Words such as café and résumé are now seen as English words, and many people write them without accents.
peaty
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:21:41 AM
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France is the nearest neighbour country to Britain, and French was once the universal language of diplomacy in Europe (the lingua franca). Much of English is also inherited from the Normans, who invaded in 1066. So it is natural that there is a lot of crossover between French and English. Words from one language used in another are called loan words.

There are several ways to enter accented characters in Windows. Using the Character Map tool is one, and using the Alt key plus numeric codes is another; see the Alt codes reference sheet. In Linux, you can use KCharSelect.

Most readers of English will understand common French words if the accents are missing, though.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:45:16 AM

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English speakers are au fait with a lot of French words, which they may use in lieu of good old Anglo-Saxon on occasion. Being hidebound by English letters is so passé.
(Now that is enough of that!). Shame on you
But it does show that sometimes you have to use the accent, or it looks very strange.

Words like née, fiancé , fiancée, blond, blonde, entrée, mêlée, are all perfectly normal English words, as far as I am concerned - loan words that have entered the language, and for some people still have their accents, while for other people the accents are dropped.
They also preserve the gender endings.

In the same way that encyclopædia and onomatopœa can be perfectly normal English words if you feel so inclined, in my opinion!Whistle

If you ask me, you can even sneak in a þ and ð if you feel like it, no foul. Don't let the new words have all the fun Whistle
ChrisKC
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:49:46 AM

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What is so fascinating about this subject is that many English native speakers are unaware that many words they think are "original" English are actually French, though we often say that English is a Germanic language.
In truth English is a hotchpotch of a few languages.
Wordscrafter
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:13:35 AM
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Words from french origin used in English shouldn't have any accents; forget about them. Also keep in mind that some of them have lost their initial meaning along the way (like debonnaire), or even do not exist in french even if they sound french (cause celebre, which is unknown in french, even writtent with accents "cause célèbre" doesn't exist at all!).

Anyway, England and France relationships have been a (quabbling) family story since Guillaume / William / Whillelm the Conqueror paid a visit to the Island. A nice read on this is "1000years of annoying the French", hilarious!

Enjoy! Cheers, au plaisir!
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:20:59 AM

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Wordscrafter wrote:
Words from french origin used in English shouldn't have any accents;

I'm afraid that some people still consider the dropping of accents to be substandard. I advise my learners not to worry too much if they accidentally omit accents, but I would not give them the advice you have. I would also tell them that the word French needs to begin with a capital letter.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:39:37 AM

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I agree.

Some French words (with accents omitted) would look too much like mis-spelled English words.

It is true that the occasional city-centre lout says "cayfe" for café - but my spell-check program still rejects 'cafe'.

I thought the British (from Great Britain and Brittany) were squabbling with the 'continentals' since Rollo Rognvaldsson's time, when he moved in and claimed Normandy and then the rest of France.
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:55:08 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
my spell-check program still rejects 'cafe'.

That's interesting. I have just typed 'cafe' in a Word document, and it has appeared with an accent. I hadn't noticed this until you mentioned it.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:37:15 PM
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Drago,

I would agree with you that English/French rivalries didn't start with William the Bastard. (In England we don't bother with all the Guillaume/Whillelm stuff).

But I would place them even further back than 811 C.E. I think you'll find that even during the time the Romans governed both countries there were stories about cross-channel rivalry.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:18:54 PM

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Yeah - I remember now, that Asterix took the mickey out of the Brits with their afternoon hot-water break.
NeuroticHellFem
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:26:01 PM

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English is comprised of not only French words. We adopt words from all languages. Musical terms are always in Italian. Kindergarten is German. Assassin, algebra, coffee, jasmine & sugar all come from Arabic. Lots of words were adopted from Arabic as a result of the Crusades. We take words from any source if we don't already have a precise word for a new item. They don't always do this in other languages, which is why the English language has so many more words than any other language (to my knowledge).
NeuroticHellFem
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:27:41 PM

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peaty wrote:
France is the nearest neighbour country to Britain, and French was once the universal language of diplomacy in Europe (the lingua franca). Much of English is also inherited from the Normans, who invaded in 1066. So it is natural that there is a lot of crossover between French and English. Words from one language used in another are called loan words.

There are several ways to enter accented characters in Windows. Using the Character Map tool is one, and using the Alt key plus numeric codes is another; see the Alt codes reference sheet. In Linux, you can use KCharSelect.

Most readers of English will understand common French words if the accents are missing, though.



Thank you peaty! I've always wondered how to do this!
Dancing
NeuroticHellFem
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:29:37 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:

Yeah - I remember now, that Asterix took the mickey out of the Brits with their afternoon hot-water break.



Ha ha! 'Afternoon hot-water break' I hadn't heard it put like that! Applause
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:31:59 PM

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That was before the magic herb had been imported, of course.

It was hot water with a drop of milk.



[image not available]
NeuroticHellFem
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:47:48 PM

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[quote=Drag0nspeaker]
That was before the magic herb had been imported, of course.

It was hot water with a drop of milk.

LOL! I'm saving that pic! :D
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:45:33 PM
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Gawd! It's years since I read that but I remember the hot water bit and the thing about the lawns vividly!
Alice M Toaster
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:36:15 AM

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peaty, thank you for the Alt Codes Reference Sheet. I've been trying to find something like that for quite some time.

DragO & Romany, would one or both of you explain the "Asterix took the mickey out of the Brits with their afternoon hot-water break"? I'm aware of the comics series, so what I mean to ask is whether or not there is an actual historical reference to it. Thanks.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:58:29 AM

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Hi Alice.

It is all a joke by Goscinny and Humberto the cartoonists.

The only truth is that around that time (from 100 to 800), the people of Brittany in France and of the south of England and Wales were related.

The very basic story is:

They were all Britons. This was before the Saxons, then Angles and Jutes arrived in England and the Franks arrived in France (The "Rollo" I mentioned was the Viking who attacked and settled in Normandy, eventually being the ancestor of the Frankish kings and the Norman kings of England). The "Anglish" drove the Britons into Cornwall and Wales, and the Franks pushed the Britons into Brittany.

So Asterix really would be 'cousin' to the people he met when he sailed across the English Channel.

The story "Asterix in Britain" makes many jokes about the English which do not really relate to the Britons. (The afternoon 'tea-break', warm beer, "excessive" formality and politeness and so on). The anachronism adds to the humour.
IMcRout
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:28:12 AM
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Viola!
J-P
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:45:13 AM

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The French use thousands of English words. They even invent pseudo-english words such as "tennisman" for tennis player. That being said, we use words of many origins. In the following sentence, for instance :« Un dilettante en redingote noie son spleen dans un bistro. » "dilettante" is Italian; "redingote" comes from the English "riding-coat", "spleen" is English and "bistro" is Russian.
The "expert" level of the Spelling Bee has a lot of French words — bonhomie, chandelle, nacelle, vermeil, fauteuil, cabriolet, chaise…
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 3:30:55 AM

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Bonjour J-P!

I would love to hear how the American 'voice' of the 'spelling bee' pronounces 'fauteuil'.

"-euil" is one of the most difficult combinations for any non-Frenchman to get right!
Almost as bad as "oeil"!



[image not available]


I like Frapar - he was a great cartoonist.
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 3:57:32 AM

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http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fauteuil

I would never have recognised that word from the pronunciation.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 5:31:40 AM

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Wow! - I'd probably spell that "fotil" or "photil" - mind you the English pronunciation at the top is no better. The lady sounds like she chokes - "fort you <choke> ill".
thar
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 5:38:39 AM

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For the top one I hear 'fortulo' - that well-known Italian word.

I do hear 'trompe l'oeil' occasionally trampled on in English language TV shows. But at least it is closer than that pronunciation of 'fotil'. That is new to me!
J-P
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 5:41:28 AM

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Bonjour, DragOnspeaker!

Yes, you're right: "fauteuil" does sound strange to a native speaker of French when pronounced by the American voice of the Spelling Bee. So does the adjective "vermeil" which rhymes with "merveille" in French, but sounds like "vermal" in English:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vermeil

As for the "euil" ending of "fauteuil", we find it in some place names in France, such as "Breteuil" and "Auteuil" — the part of Paris where the French tennis Open is played every year during the last week or May and the first week of June.
Alice M Toaster
Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 8:55:37 AM

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Drago, thank you so much!
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