7. French/English similarities & synonyms.
One of the mental blocks to be overcome when learning French for the first time is the idea that it is a totally different language to English. It's not. Not by a long shot. Both languages, along with Spanish and Italian have the same Latin origins. Over the last several hundred years however, English has 'branched off' to a certain extent and has proven much more adaptable to the modern world in more ways than one. One major advantage of English is the simplicity of our everyday verbs. The majority of them only contain one syllable, run, walk, talk, eat, sleep, work, say, do, make, give, take, pull, push etc. etc. When we conjugate a verb in the present we just add an 's' when using He or She. He walks, She gives, She takes for eg. Even though French conjugates its verbs in the traditional way many of those verbs in their simplest or infinitive form are almost identical to English. These are a few examples from our first group in the mini-dictionary. Absorb Absorber Amuse Amuser Accelerate Accelerer Analyse Analyser Accept Accepter Appreciate Apprecier Accuse Accuser Authorise Authoriser Adapt Adapter Arrange Arranger Adopt Adopter Confirm Confirmer We can see quite clearly that the only difference in the written form is an 'r' or an 'er' at the end of the verb. There are hundreds more of these almost identical examples of everyday verbs in the mini-dictionary and further examples of verbs that are obvious synonyms or like words such as AIDER (aid) which is the French word for HELP. We already know how to take any one of these verbs and conjugate them, particularly when using them in the singular with Je, Tu, Il/Elle and On, our informal, verbal way of saying WE. We just lop the 'r' off the end of the verb and that's it. Job done. True, in some cases we need to add a silent 's' or 't' onto the end of some words in the written form but it makes no difference to the way they are pronounced. J'accept (ton offre d'aide) I accept (your offer of help) zhuk-sept ton offr’ d’ed Tu accept (les conditions?) You accept (the conditions?) tu uk-sept lay con’-di-si-on’ Il accept son apology? He/She accepts his apology il/el uk-sept son u-……. On accepte tout le monde ici. We accept everybody here. On uk-sept too le mond ee-see Je confirme que c'est vrai. I confirm that it/this is true. Zhe con’fairm k say vray Tu confirme ta place You confirm your place/spot/position. tu con’fairm tu plus Elle confirme son code She confirms her cod. El con’fairm son’ cod* *Remember our short and long vowels in English? When we add the letter 'e' to the word 'cod', a type of fish, we end up with 'code'. This is another facet of language that the poor frogs are deprived of. Hence, 'code' in French, exactly the same word, is pronounced the same way we pronounce the word 'cod'. On confirme We confirm on’ con’fairm Leaving the verbs for a moment here are a few more French words that you might recognise. Seconde, minute, heure, janvier, fevrier, mars, avril, mai, juin, juillet, aout, septembre, octobre, novembre, decembre, bleue, violet, route, village, montagne, millimetre, centimetre, metre, kilometre, gramme, kilogramme, tonne, enfant, parent, grandparent, to name a few. The point is that English and French have much more in common than many people realise.