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Do you have an example, or several ones, of words that are pronounced the same (or very very close), in English and in French?

  • Are you asking about loan-words, such as petits pois? – Mick Dec 20 '16 at 14:07
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    Welcome to ELL, Perce-Neige. Please provide a little more information about what you want: do the words have to mean the same, be spelt the same or just sound the same? Maybe it would help if you explained why you want these words. – JavaLatte Dec 20 '16 at 14:09
  • Both. Loan and not loan. Is "Petit pois" pronounced like in French? pəti pwa? – Quidam Dec 20 '16 at 14:10
  • Not meaning the same, not spelled the same, only close in the pronounciation. I'm only curious about pronounciations. – Quidam Dec 20 '16 at 14:11
  • Please do a Google search on "French words commonly used in English." You'll find dozens to hundreds of examples scattered among several sites. (Caution: the Wikipedia list includes many words and phrases that I've never heard used in common American English speech, which may be indicative of our ignorance and parochialism.) – Mark Hubbard Dec 20 '16 at 14:24
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Yes, there are many words where we use the French pronunciation (although you might cringe at how we actually pronounce the words). For example, there are the "borrowed" words like deja vu, denoument, blasé, laissez-faire and so on, which are often recognizably from French.

But there are many other words which are part of common "parlance". Brunette for example, pronounced much the same as the French do. Also clique, cliché, concierge, cinema, malaise, melee, motif, mousse, panache, prairie, boutique, raconteur ... anyway the list is very long.

But to take a few that are a good examples of what you are asking: "rapport" is pronounced with a silent "t", "rap-por" not "rap-port". Similar is "debut", pronounced "de-bew" (or "day-bew") not "de-butt". The American word "résumé" (a document describing your work and educational history, called a CV -- curriculum vitae -- in other places) is pronounced "re-zoo-may" not "ree-soom".

Even more fundamental is the way English pronounces the "-tion" suffix as "-shun", in words like action, friction, attention, nutrition and so on. If I understand correctly, most of these words come from the Old French, which is why some of the English words like vacation are now different in Modern French but still retain the French pronunciation.

  • @MarkHubbard for some people, yes. Pronounciation can vary widely. I personally pronounce it with a short "e" sound, but in other parts of the country (like the American South) they are more likely to pronounce it more like the long "a" sound. And I think the British pronounce it with a short "e" and even more of an accent on the second syllable. – Andrew Dec 20 '16 at 14:54
  • @MarkHubbard I removed my previous comment where I poked fun at Southerners, but you are right. If I recall, folks in Louisiana don't always consider themselves fully part of the rest of the American South, though, especially where it comes to food. – Andrew Dec 20 '16 at 15:00
  • Right! And in other ways as well. I think every other state in the union has a Corpus Juris based on English common law, while Louisiana has a "Civil Code" based on Napoleonic law (with further influence from the Spanish). It makes it difficult for lawyers from other states to pass the bar in Louisiana or to practice there, for instance. – Mark Hubbard Dec 20 '16 at 15:19
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    Even if a word may, in principle, be phonetically the same, for example /ræpˈɔːr/, there will still be differences in the allophones used to represent a particular phoneme. For example, BrE and AmE r's are different, but they look pretty similar when compared to the guttural french r.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guttural_R. – JavaLatte Dec 20 '16 at 16:56
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    "Clique" is pronounced as in the French ("kleek") by British people, but not by Americans, who say "click". – David Richerby Dec 20 '16 at 21:33

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