There are some similarities between the two languages. However, one must first note that the two languages belong to different sub-groups of Indo-European languages, that is Lower Germanic (English) and Romance (French).

You’re Not Starting From Scratch!

English and French share a common alphabet and a large portion of vocabulary. In fact, English has more in common lexically with French than any other Romance language (which include the likes of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian).

The Norman invasion of England in 1066 had a major impact not only on the country, but also on the English language. William the Conqueror brought Norman French, which became the language of the court, government and the upper class for the next three centuries. 

It is calculated that English and French share up to 27% of their words or lexical similarity (similarity in both form and meaning). Different sources estimate that 45% of words in English are of French origin, even though the similarity isn’t as obvious. Keep in mind though that the lexical similarity between German and English is 60%! Quite a bit more in common.

Here are a few examples of French words used in English:

  • déjà-vu

  • á la mode

  • cul-de-sac

  • RSVP

  • film noir

  • femme fatale

  • avant garde

  • faux pa

ATTENTION! When French words look like English words, they really ought to mean the same thing, oughtn’t they? Often they do, fortunately, but some words don’t play fair. And those are the faux amis, which literally translates to false friends.

Here is a list of the most commun:

1. Ancien/Ancient
2. Attendre/Attend
3. Bras/Bras
4. Brasserie/Brassiere
5. Blessé/Blessed
6. Monnaie/Money
7. Envie/Envy
8. Journée/Journey
9. Location/Location
10. Affair/ Affaire
And remember...

❝Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.❞ ‒ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#learnFrench #French #English #France #England
4 views0 comments