French words

Do228

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I'd like to know if native English speakers pronounce words with French roots Frenchly or Englishly.
For example: bourbon, croissant, entrepreneur, etc.
 

emsr2d2

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"Frenchly" and "Englishly" aren't words.
 

jutfrank

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It depends on the word, but often it's somewhere in between.
 

emsr2d2

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The pronunciation partly depends on whether the speaker has any knowledge of the pronunciation in the original language. I speak French and Spanish, and some Italian and Greek, so I'm aware of how the words are pronounced in the original. I certainly pronounce "croissant" the French way. "Entrepreneur" is a little different. For a start, I've been told in the past that the word isn't even used in French! Also, it's used in English so often that it generally just has an English pronunciation.

Foods are good examples of such words where it's easy to tell if someone knows how it "should" be pronounced. In Italian restaurants, I have to bite my tongue whenever I hear anyone order "spaghetti boll-uh-nays" (rather than "bol-o-nyaiz-ay") or "bruh-shetter" (rather than "bruce-ketter"). In a restaurant recently, I heard a diner at an adjoining table baffle the waiter by asking for "guh-no-chee". The waiter asked him three times what he wanted before eventually asking him to point to it on the menu. Only then did he realise the diner wanted gnocchi (pronounced "nyokee").

(Sorry, I don't do phonetic symbols!)
 

Rover_KE

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(Sorry, I don't do phonetic symbols!)
Don't apologise for that, ems. If you did, I wouldn't be able to make head or tail of it.

This thread could run and run.

One of my pet hates is the usual mispronunciation of lingerie. While commendably attempting the non-English nasal first syllable, most people pronounce the last as ray rather than ree.
 
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emsr2d2

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That drives me mad too! I hear it pronounced "long-zhuh-ray" all the time. ("Zhuh" is my attempt at the French "je".) It should be "lan-zhuh-ree".
 

probus

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I'd like to know if native English speakers pronounce words with French roots Frenchly or Englishly.
For example: bourbon, croissant, entrepreneur, etc.

I am a bilingual Canadian. We hear a good deal of French in English-speaking Canada, and therefore our pronunciation of your examples tends to sound more like the French than you'd likely hear in rhe US or UK.

My own rule in daily life is it depends on what language we are speaking. If we are speaking English, make them sound as Anglo as you like. If we are speaking French or a mix of languages, I prefer the French pronunciations.
 

Do228

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What does "DJ view" mean?
 

emsr2d2

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We've definitely discussed it before. I haven't been able to find the thread.

"DJ view" was a fine example of Piscean's sense of humour. The phrase he meant was "déja vu", which happens to be French. In view of the topic under discussion, he made that French phrase sound as if it was being said by an English speaker with no knowledge of French pronunciation.
 

Rover_KE

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Tough crowd.:roll:
 

Rover_KE

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San fairy Ann.
 
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GoesStation

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Coming back to your question, I've noticed that in general, British English speakers make less effort to pronounce French words à la française than American English speakers. This is particularly evident in syllabic emphasis, where the British nearly always emphasize the first syllable of two-syllable words, while Americans emphasize the second. Neither is correct in French, which uses syllabic emphasis within sentences but not regularly within words. Nevertheless, the BrE gattoe is, I think, more distant than the AmE gattoe from the original gâteau.
 

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Part of this depends, I think, one whether or not we consider a word that was originally French to be English now.

Agreed. This is a key point, I think. Nobody these days attempts to pronounce restaurant or menu in a French way.

I've noticed that in general, British English speakers make less effort to pronounce French words à la française than American English speakers. This is particularly evident in syllabic emphasis, where the British nearly always emphasize the first syllable of two-syllable words, while Americans emphasize the second.

Interesting. Can you think of any more examples?
 

GoesStation

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Agreed. This is a key point, I think. Nobody these days attempts to pronounce restaurant or menu in a French way.



Interesting. Can you think of any more examples?

Chapeau and chateau, following the same pattern as gateau, come to mind. I've noticed many others from time to time, but of course I can't think of any right now.

I actually remember, as a very little boy, changing my pronunciation of restaurant. My mother learned spoken English in post-war London, and had an English accent overlaid on her native Polish accent when she arrived in the United States. My father has lamented her loss of the English component over time, and I think I witnessed some of the last of that transition when she unsilenced the final consonants of that word.

I still occasionally hear Brits nasalize its last syllable but I think that pronunciation has largely faded.
 
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jutfrank

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I've noticed many others from time to time, but of course I can't think of any right now.

How about cliché? In BrE, most (I think) would put stress on the first syllable. How about AmE speakers?
 

emsr2d2

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If you listen to the 5 pronunciations of this French word but under the English language section of Forvo, you'll hear one inexplicably awful one, two with the stress on the first syllable and two with the stress on the second. I put the stress on the second.
 

jutfrank

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If you listen to the 5 pronunciations of this French word but under the English language section of Forvo, you'll hear one inexplicably awful one, two with the stress on the first syllable and two with the stress on the second. I put the stress on the second.

Which one is the inexplicably awful one?

When I listen to those five, only the second one seems to put the stress on the final syllable. The third one sounds quite balanced between the first and final syllables, and the others seem to be stressing the first.

When I'm speaking French I would naturally stress the second, but when speaking English, the first.
 

emsr2d2

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Weird! Maybe the page hadn't loaded properly when I first went to it. The first pronunciation was, when I first listened, almost incoherent and sounded as if he was saying either "cliclé" or "chiché". It sounds much more normal now. Sorry!
 
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