French language starting to change to gender neutral

Why pronounce the t on the end of the River Lot, when you don’t pronounce it on the end of “lot” which sounds like “l’eau” and deeply confused me in the supermarket at the checkout when she was waving a bunch of two at me and I wondered why she was asking about water. :grin:


The old favourites in Norfolk include

Costessey = Cossey
Happisburgh = Haisbro
Wymondham = Windom

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We’ve noted here how the French mostly bite the end of the word off - except when they don’t. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

We don’t at all down my way, there’s usually an extra syllable (compared to spoken French outside the south) when said “properly”: tout de suite (3 almost 4), évidemment (4), maintenant (3) etc. oh and un pneu is two syllables when said “properly” (pe-neu) :wink: :rofl::rofl::rofl:


I have on occasion been bitched at a bit for not speaking like a local here in the southwest (since although I am from the Côte d’Azur I haven’t got an accent du sud and apparently that can be seen as offensive). I remember when I was tiny my mother mocking me for saying pe-neu in the way most small children do. I just roll my eyes inwardly.
Tout de suite has 2.5 syllables, évidemment has 4, maintenant has 2.5 :rofl:


Do they think you’re some posh tart from the North then Vero? Instead of just well educated, a model for your pupils (and us here on SF) and elocuting correctly? :slight_smile:

Deffo a weird traitor to southern-ness(by which they mean southwestness) who obv has a problem because she doesn’t call a pain au chocolat (or pain choc) a chocolatine (5 syllables). :cry::cry:

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Oups, still can’t spell syllable correctly :man_facepalming: There’s no right or wrong accent, just different accents. Perso, it’s just a throw back from studying socio-linguistics (and you have to be pretty wierd to spend time on that!) that makes me sit up and listen. Add to that the day-in-day-out local accents in the shop and at home and I can’t get away from it, so as soon as somebody talks with a different accent it gets noticed, when I’m listening, that is! :rofl:

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Never mind France, I remember as a teenager in the former West Riding of Yorkshire being asked by a passing motorist if he was on the right road to Slaithewaite, “Ah, you mean Sloughit” I replied with a probably insufferable adolescent air of superiority.

Nowadays I try to use local Occitan pronounciation when shopping on the market and much more difficult ‘proper’ French everywhere else. But I love words like trente, quarante and cinquante where locally you wrap your mouth around the word and then put an extravagant flourish on the last syllable rather than suppressing it.

Re gender neutrality, we have a middle-aged gay couple in the village, but I can’t imagine them bothering about it. Incidentality, the next hamlet up the river used to have a hetero resident whose surname was le Gaye whom (after the running gag in Little Britain) his English neighbours referred to as ‘the only gay in the village’. I think when it’s out in the open many problems disappear (though I’m generally not a fan of camp or polari).


Belgian french has septante,70, and nanante,90.

Tha can tell a Yorshireman, but tha can’t tell 'im much. :wink:

My wife is currently working through DuoLingo. She came out to me in the kitchen thus evening and asked what I thought the word being said might be? “Unghh!” apparently was non.

I love the French accent (honest) but I’ve a feeling it will be a challenge to learn some words in some regions.

If you haven’t previously seen it, you might enjoy this:-

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Ha ha, sometimes I use nonante in the shop just to see the reaction :rofl:


And chêne, chien, chienne, chaine. No end of misunderstandings…

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I visit an English friend who refuses to grasp any French . He repeats things the way he thinks he hears them. For example he lives in a village called Consenvoye but calls it Kosovo and the dechetterie is dysentery. He’s got a million of them. Crazy thing is his OH is French but she spent so long in England her French is little better and they ask for help when dealing with officialdom.

This is not my opinion but it’s one that, for me, instinctively, best explains the overuse of the word ‘like’. And this was written three years ago!

‘Why is the word like’ so overused?

Words, just like news stories, YouTube videos, blogs and other media, go viral.

The younger members of the human race are the progenitors of viral actions. They ‘share’ ideas more than the older folk and they have been sharing like this since the dawning of our species. Any fashion, trendy gadgets, hang-outs etc. are indeed contagion with the young. It’s possibly a Darwinian tactic.

The word ‘like’ is a catch all phrase that requires very little thought energy. Young people want to speak to each other as quickly as possible and ‘like’ allows a lot of speedy topic transitions with very little thinking involved.

So, combine the ideas of those two paragraphs and voila; we have the word ‘like’ viral-ling out of control amongst the young. They spread it to each other and just when one of them has seemingly got over it, back it comes like a bad cold.

Perhaps we can find a cure. Perhaps we’re doomed to endure it. One thing is sure, age and education seriously prevent it!

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Can I recommend Guy Deutscher’s book The Unfolding of Language?
It explains many aspects of language change - including the complaint of older educated people that the language is in decline (always, in every age).

It also explains some fascinating aspects of the history of French and English (along with many other comparisons) - such as how from virtually the same medieval negative the English ended up with ‘not’ and the French with ‘pas’.

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Thanks Geof, nice Christmas present for OH. :slight_smile:

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@Geof_Cox Always interesting ideas!

Dictionaries are surely first prescriptive (this is what this word means) and only later descriptive (telling us how the language is used and has changed).

A descriptive use of grammar may be interesting for grammarians, but surely the key point about grammar in the real world is that it tells us how to say things clearly and comprehensibly.

That’s an example of what people like the writer often complain of: the retooling of one part of speech (here, an adverb/adjective) as a verb.