In English, I can say both 'year of birth' and 'birth year', so can I feel free to swap related words in French deleting 'de', for example, from 'année de naissance' to 'naissance an'?

  • 1
    AFAIK, you can't, that kind of formulation doesn't exist in French.
    – Laurent S.
    Jul 16 '15 at 13:48
  • 1
    as @LaurentS. said, you can't. When a French learns English, he learns the rule saying that in english, you swap adjective and noun, because it doesn't exist in french.
    – Random
    Jul 16 '15 at 13:52
  • 1
    @Random, In this case there is no adjective. And actually sometimes, that kind of inversion happens in French too ('une jolie maison' but 'un chat noir').
    – vc 74
    Jul 16 '15 at 13:56
  • @vc74 The rule is not the same, in English class we swap adjective and noun compared to French. The correct form in French (without exceptions for short adjectives and the "apposition") is noun + adjective while in English it is adjective + noun.
    – Yohann V.
    Jul 17 '15 at 7:26
  • @YohannV. Yes, that's the base rule but sometimes adjective/noun is used in French too: 'il a une jolie maison' for instance
    – vc 74
    Jul 17 '15 at 7:29

You can't do that in French. Année de naissance is the only option.


The first point is that naissance is a noun, so obviously, it cannot be used as an adjective.

Secondly, the idiom to translate birth year is "année de naissance" so it is what you have to use as @vc74 says.

Finally, if you really want to have an adjective related to birth, even if it has not this meaning, it would be "native".
So the closest litteral translation of birth year could be "année native".

  • If you say “année native” in France, you'll get a puzzled look. Jul 17 '15 at 21:56
  • @Gilles It is exactly what I said, I am just answering about the "hey I need a birth adjective". I clearly state that the idiom is "Année de naissance"
    – Yohann V.
    Jul 18 '15 at 8:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.