Language Similarities: How Close are English and French?

Over 10,000 English words come from French. Many others come from Latin, the language from which French originated.

French and Latin words make up 58 % of modern English vocabulary today. On their own, purely French words make up 29% of English.

So, if you are learning English or French and if you are English or French, a big part of the job is already done! Good news!

Let’s talk about History

The origins of these two languages are not the same. English is a West Germanic language, while French is a Romance language from the Indo-European family.

But the two tongues seem to share many similarities as for example:

Cul-de-sac / Déjà-vu / Super / prêt-à-porter / Chic / Bon appétit / Avant-garde / Chauffeur / Bon voyage / Au pair / Savoir-faire / Étiquette / RSVP / Etc…

The language similarities we see today actually have a lot to do with cultural exchange and conquest. To English speakers, French has often been referred to as the “language of love”. It sounds romantic and appeals to English-speakers.

French was also the language of English aristocracy in the Middle Ages when Guillaume le Conquérant (William the Conqueror) became King of England in 1066.

Do you know what the motto of the Monarch of the United Kingdom outside Scotland is?

“Dieu et mon droit”, another French expression meaning: ”God and my right

Let’s talk a bit about grammar.

I bet if you are a language learner you are familiar with the expression ”False friends” right?

But have you already heard the expression “True friends”?

“True friends” is the opposite of “False friends” It is a word or expression that has a similar form to one in a person's native language, as the same meaning and we have them between French and English

For example:

ER = ATE: Créer = Create

LIE = LY : La technologie = Techonlogy

TÉ = TY : L’Université = University

IF = IVE: Créatif / Creative

ISME = ISM: l’impressionnisme = Impressionism

ABLE = ABLE: La table = Table

Let us know in the comments if you often use French / English expressions in your everyday conversation. If you don’t, please do, as is always cool and fun to use words in different languages.


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