French language | vocabulary

Vocabulary

The majority of French words derive from Vulgar Latin or were constructed from Latin or Greek roots. In many cases a single etymological root appears in French in a "popular" or native form, inherited from Vulgar Latin, and a learned form, borrowed later from Classical Latin. The following pairs consist of a native noun and a learned adjective:

However, a historical tendency to gallicise Latin roots can be identified, whereas English conversely leans towards a more direct incorporation of the Latin:

There are also noun-noun and adjective-adjective pairs:

It can be difficult to identify the Latin source of native French words, because in the evolution from Vulgar Latin, unstressed syllables were severely reduced and the remaining vowels and consonants underwent significant modifications.

More recently the linguistic policy of the French language academies of France and Quebec has been to provide French equivalents to (mainly English) imported words, either by using existing vocabulary, extending its meaning or deriving a new word according to French morphological rules. The result is often two (or more) co-existing terms for describing the same phenomenon.

Root languages of loanwords[93]

  English (25.10%)
  Italian (16.83%)
  Germanic languages (13.10%)
  Arabic (5.12%)
  German (3.91%)
  Celtic languages (3.81%)
  Spanish (3.81%)
  Dutch (3.64%)
  Persian and Sanskrit (2.67%)
  Various Asian languages (2.12%)
  Slavic and Baltic languages (1.31%)
  Basque (0.24%)
  Other languages (3.43%)
  • mercatique / marketing
  • finance fantôme / shadow banking
  • bloc-notes / notepad
  • ailière / wingsuit
  • tiers-lieu / coworking

It is estimated that 12% (4,200) of common French words found in a typical dictionary such as the Petit Larousse or Micro-Robert Plus (35,000 words) are of foreign origin (where Greek and Latin learned words are not seen as foreign). About 25% (1,054) of these foreign words come from English and are fairly recent borrowings. The others are some 707 words from Italian, 550 from ancient Germanic languages, 481 from other Gallo-Romance languages, 215 from Arabic, 164 from German, 160 from Celtic languages, 159 from Spanish, 153 from Dutch, 112 from Persian and Sanskrit, 101 from Native American languages, 89 from other Asian languages, 56 from other Afro-Asiatic languages, 55 from Slavic languages and Baltic languages, 10 from Basque and 144 (about 3%) from other languages.[93]

One study analyzing the degree of differentiation of Romance languages in comparison to Latin estimated that among the languages analyzed French has the greatest distance from Latin.[94] Lexical similarity is 89% with Italian, 80% with Sardinian, 78% with Rhaeto-Romance, and 75% with Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese.[95][96][95]

Numerals

The French counting system is partially vigesimal: twenty (vingt) is used as a base number in the names of numbers from 80 to 99. The French word for 80 is quatre-vingts, literally "four twenties", and the word for 75 is soixante-quinze, literally "sixty-fifteen". This reform arose after the French Revolution to unify the different counting systems (mostly vigesimal near the coast, because of Celtic (via Breton) and Viking influences). This system is comparable to the archaic English use of score, as in "fourscore and seven" (87), or "threescore and ten" (70).

In Old French (during the Middle Ages), all numbers from 30 to 99 could be said in either base 10 or base 20, e.g. vint et doze (twenty and twelve) for 32, dous vinz et diz (two twenties and ten) for 50, uitante for 80, or nonante for 90.[97]

Belgian French, Swiss French, Aostan French[98] and the French used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi are different in this respect. In the French spoken in these places, 70 and 90 are septante and nonante. In Switzerland, depending on the local dialect, 80 can be quatre-vingts (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura) or huitante (Vaud, Valais, Fribourg). Octante had been used in Switzerland in the past, but is now considered archaic,[99] while in the Aosta Valley 80 is huitante.[98] In Belgium and in its former African colonies, however, quatre-vingts is universally used.

French, like most European languages, uses a space to separate thousands.[100] The comma is used in French numbers as a decimal point, i.e. "2,5" instead of "2.5".

Notes

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Фрэнджыбзэ
адыгабзэ: Францыбзэ
Afrikaans: Frans
አማርኛ: ፈረንሳይኛ
Ænglisc: Frencisc sprǣc
العربية: لغة فرنسية
aragonés: Idioma francés
asturianu: Idioma francés
Avañe'ẽ: Hyãsiañe'ẽ
Aymar aru: Phransiya aru
azərbaycanca: Fransız dili
تۆرکجه: فرانسه دیلی
bamanankan: Faransekan
Bahasa Banjar: Bahasa Parancis
Bân-lâm-gú: Hoat-gí
башҡортса: Француз теле
беларуская: Французская мова
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Француская мова
Bikol Central: Tataramon na Pranses
български: Френски език
Boarisch: Franzesisch
bosanski: Francuski jezik
brezhoneg: Galleg
català: Francès
Чӑвашла: Франс чĕлхи
Cebuano: Prinanses
čeština: Francouzština
Cymraeg: Ffrangeg
davvisámegiella: Fránskkagiella
ދިވެހިބަސް: ފަރަންސޭސި
Diné bizaad: Dáághahii bizaad
dolnoserbski: Francojska rěc
Ελληνικά: Γαλλική γλώσσα
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Francés
español: Idioma francés
Esperanto: Franca lingvo
estremeñu: Luenga francesa
euskara: Frantses
eʋegbe: Fransegbe
Fiji Hindi: French bhasa
føroyskt: Franskt mál
français: Français
Frysk: Frânsk
Fulfulde: Faransinkoore
Gaeilge: An Fhraincis
Gaelg: Frangish
Gàidhlig: Fraingis
贛語: 法語
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Fap-ngî
한국어: 프랑스어
հայերեն: Ֆրանսերեն
hornjoserbsce: Francošćina
hrvatski: Francuski jezik
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: পর্তুগীজ ঠার
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Perancis
interlingua: Lingua francese
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᐅᐃᒍᐃᕐᒥᐅᖅ
isiZulu: IsiFulentshi
íslenska: Franska
italiano: Lingua francese
עברית: צרפתית
Basa Jawa: Basa Prancis
kalaallisut: Franskisut
Kapampangan: Amanung Pranses
къарачай-малкъар: Француз тил
ქართული: ფრანგული ენა
kaszëbsczi: Francësczi jãzëk
қазақша: Француз тілі
kernowek: Frenkek
Kinyarwanda: Igifaransa
Kiswahili: Kifaransa
Kongo: Kifalanse
Kreyòl ayisyen: Lang franse
Кыргызча: Француз тили
لۊری شومالی: زۊن فرانساٛیی
latviešu: Franču valoda
Lëtzebuergesch: Franséisch
lietuvių: Prancūzų kalba
Limburgs: Frans
lingála: Falansé
Livvinkarjala: Frantsien kieli
la .lojban.: fasybau
lumbaart: Lengua francesa
македонски: Француски јазик
Malagasy: Fiteny frantsay
Māori: Reo Wīwī
მარგალური: ფრანგული ნინა
مازِرونی: فرانسوی زوون
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Perancis
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Huák-ngṳ̄
монгол: Франц хэл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ပြင်သစ်ဘာသာစကား
Dorerin Naoero: Dorerin Prant
Nederlands: Frans
Nedersaksies: Fransk
Nēhiyawēwin / ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ: ᐱᔥᑎᑯᔮᐤ ᐊᔨᒧᐎᓐ
नेपाल भाषा: फ्रेञ्च भाषा
日本語: フランス語
Napulitano: Lengua franzese
Nordfriisk: Fransöösk spriak
Norfuk / Pitkern: French
norsk: Fransk
norsk nynorsk: Fransk
Nouormand: Fraunceis
Novial: Fransum
occitan: Francés
олык марий: Француз йылме
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Fransuz tili
Pangasinan: Salitan Français
Papiamentu: Frances
Patois: French
Перем Коми: Франсуз кыв
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសាបារាំង
Picard: Frinsé
Piemontèis: Lenga fransèisa
Tok Pisin: Tok Frens
Plattdüütsch: Franzöösche Spraak
português: Língua francesa
Qaraqalpaqsha: Frantsuz tili
qırımtatarca: Frenk tili
reo tahiti: Reo farāni
română: Limba franceză
rumantsch: Lingua franzosa
Runa Simi: Ransis simi
русиньскый: Французькый язык
саха тыла: Француз тыла
Gagana Samoa: Fa'afarani
संस्कृतम्: फ्रेञ्चभाषा
Sesotho: Sefora
Sesotho sa Leboa: Sefora
Setswana: Sefora
sicilianu: Lingua francisa
Simple English: French language
SiSwati: SíFulentji
slovenčina: Francúzština
slovenščina: Francoščina
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Франкїискъ ѩꙁꙑкъ
ślůnski: Francusko godka
Soomaaliga: Af-Faransiis
српски / srpski: Француски језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Francuski jezik
Basa Sunda: Basa Perancis
svenska: Franska
Taqbaylit: Tafrensist
tarandíne: Lènga frangese
татарча/tatarça: Француз теле
Türkçe: Fransızca
Türkmençe: Fransuz dili
удмурт: Француз кыл
українська: Французька мова
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ڧرانسۇز تىلى
Vahcuengh: Vah Fazgoz
vepsän kel’: Francijan kel'
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Pháp
Volapük: Fransänapük
文言: 法蘭西語
West-Vlams: Frans
Winaray: Frinanses
Wolof: Wu-faraas
吴语: 法文
ייִדיש: פראנצויזיש
Yorùbá: Èdè Faransé
粵語: 法文
Zazaki: Fransızki
Zeêuws: Frans
žemaitėška: Prancūzu kalba
中文: 法语
ГӀалгӀай: Ференгий мотт
Lingua Franca Nova: Franses (lingua)