From Latin > French: Pertinent Information?

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
French is a weird, and I'd be tempted to say, very corrupt language. But — and perhaps even by this very fact — it doesn't look like a deliberate creation. It's obviously the natural product of linguistic (d)evolution.
Exhibit A: the month of August. It's a fairly substantial word in Latin, with three syllables, four consonants, two simple vowels and a luxury diphthong to crown it all. It's not difficult to see how augustus could turn into agosto or agost or even gustar; one could imagine any number of other changes, such as the G turning into a Dutch-style voiced guttural, or the S dropping out – S drops out a lot. But it's impossible to imagine that by any natural process francophones would have decided to drop everything from the word and turn it into nothing more than an exclamation. Mind you, they did the same with aqua, but there was less to drop. There are dark forces at work here.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Lol, yes, such spectacular reducings make you wonder how it's possible.
 

Ealdboc Aethelheall

Civis Illustris
I don't think so... French is too "natural" to us, rooted in us since childhood... Maybe it would work a bit if we went abroad and didn't listen to any French for years, just maybe...
All you need to do is watch Le gendarme de Saint Tropez.

Completely off-topic: I remember one day discovering my grandmother understood French when she translated a phrase from one of the Gendarme films for us even though she couldn't see the film herself (she was mostly blind). The reason why this was unexpected was that, when she grew up, it was hardly common for girls to receive an elaborate education. Later I learned that she was a middle class girl who'd married a working class lad - i.e., my grandfather. :)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Ealdboc Aethelheall

Civis Illustris
The character played by Louis de Funes often speaks in an exaggerated manner that many people in the Netherlands, at least, associate with the French language in general.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
Exhibit B: the myriad of homophones in the forms of the verb (there are sodding homophones everywhere, but let's just do the verbs now). Il parle. Ils parlent. Il est resté. Elle est restée. This eventually reaches the giddy heights of J'ai envoyé les resultats, je les ai envoyés, J'ai envoyé les lettres, je les ai envoyées. This is beyond unnatural. It exists solely so that French people can enjoy the exquisite pleasure of correcting foreigners, and probably each other.
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
There is also le verre vert (the green glass) and les verres verts (the green glasses)
 

Imperfacundus

Reprobatissimus
There is also le verre vert (the green glass) and les verres verts (the green glasses)
that does actually sound different though

Exhibit B: the myriad of homophones in the forms of the verb (there are sodding homophones everywhere, but let's just do the verbs now). Il parle. Ils parlent. Il est resté. Elle est restée. This eventually reaches the giddy heights of J'ai envoyé les resultats, je les ai envoyés, J'ai envoyé les lettres, je les ai envoyées. This is beyond unnatural. It exists solely so that French people can enjoy the exquisite pleasure of correcting foreigners, and probably each other.
Th
e ghost of Medieval French lives on to torment the English.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Il est resté. Elle est restée.
As I said in another thread, these actually sound slightly different in Belgian French.
This eventually reaches the giddy heights of J'ai envoyé les resultats, je les ai envoyés, J'ai envoyé les lettres, je les ai envoyées. This is beyond unnatural.
Yes, that is utterly illogical.
and probably each other.
Sure. Many people get all that wrong. Also, one of the most common mistakes is confusing the past participle and - er infinitives, as they sound the same too.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
As I said in another thread, these actually sound slightly different in Belgian French.
Presumably this was hashed out during negotiations leading up to the formation of Belgium, when the francophones agreed to stop turning numbers above 69 into mental arithmetic exercises, and the Phlegms agreed to moderate their G, which in Dutch results in the liberal sharing of the contents of your throat with your interlocutor.
 

Ealdboc Aethelheall

Civis Illustris
@ Etaoin - sorry if this is going to be a disappointment, but the 'soft g' is used by millions of Dutch speakers in the Netherlands, including nearly all of the population of Brabant and Limburg, much of the population of Zeeland, and part of the population of Gelderland.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
There's not much point in my making the effort to write complete codswallop if people are going to ruin it with pesky facts.
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
There's also this:

Il a été l'été. It was summer.

Note that in French, été can be a compound past form of "to be" or "summer."
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
No one would say that. We'd say "c'était l'été".
It was a joke. C'était l'été is more common (and était and été are homophones).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
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