40% Of English Words Come From French

Votre vocabulaire est déjà large

Bonne nouvelle! L’influence de français sur l’anglais est considérable. Les linguistes estiment qu’a peu près 40 % des mots utilisés en anglais sont issus d’un mot français. Alors votre vocabulaire est déjà plus riche que vous pensez !

Good news! If you speak French, your vocabulary may be much larger than you ever imagined.

Roughly 25% of English words have a French origin. Plus another 20% have a latin origin so they are very familiar to French speakers.

If we add all that up a French speaker should be able to recognize 45% of English words. This means that you already know thousands of words.

You have the foundation of a very large vocabulary.

French is the largest source for borrowed words in English. The exchange started around 1100 and it has continued for nine hundred years. As English has developed more French words have been incorporated.

1. French words are particularly common in law (e.g.jury), military (e.g. camouflage), art (e.g. cabaret), and cooking (e.g. pork).

2. Many borrowed words end with certain suffixes (the ending of a word), like information, boutique, and cassette.

3. You will sound extremely intelligent in English.

French words are considered a more elevated in style in English, while words of Anglo-Saxon origin are considered more casual.

For example, in English we have the word goal and the word objective. They have similar meanings.

Objective (noun): A thing that is aimed at or desired
The program has met its objective.

Goal (noun): an aim or desired result
Learning English has become Renaud’s most important goal in life.

The connotation of objective is more official or formal in English. On the other hand, goal is more informal or everyday.So, the word objective is more formal, better suited, to business writing.

No, you just need to work on how to pronounce them. Don’t forget to watch out for false friends!

Here is a list of 20 words that you probably already know if you speak French:

  • Adventure
  • Bigot
  • Change
  • Chart
  • Chef (the title for someone who cooks for a living)
  • Clique
  • Courage
  • Chart
  • Devout (dévoué)
  • Dignity
  • Ennui
  • Enamour (enamouré)
  • Feign (feindre)
  • Grotesque
  • Harangue
  • Mediocre
  • Niche
  • Regard
  • Special
  • Splendid

Foodies! If you like to talk about food as much as I do, here are 10 words to get you started:

  1. Biscuit
  2. Cafe
  3. Fruit
  4. Gourmet
  5. Grill
  6. Marinade
  7. Omelet
  8. Sauce
  9. Saute
  10. Zest

Had you realized that you could use these words in English too?

Try to use some of the words mentioned in the comments section below, and I will give you feedback.

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