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I understand the meaning of accord in French but I don't understand the presence of d' in the expression “d'accord”.

Why does d' appear in “d'accord”?

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    You could say it's like the "in" in "I'm in agreement with you."
    – Luke Sawczak
    Mar 1, 2018 at 11:58
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    @LukeSawczak - considering that's the most helpful answer to this question, maybe flesh it out in an answer? :D (sorry, I just happened to poke my head in and as a French student from long ago, it seems strange that no one is explaining that it's short for "of"... as in "I am of the same mind"... and the closest anyone gets is your comment. :D )
    – Catija
    May 25 at 14:03

3 Answers 3

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I cannot understand your question. If your question concerns d of d'accord then a brief explanation is as follows:

D' is an elision of the preposition de that happens before words that start with vowels or h muet.

  • être d'accord; elle vient d'une famille riche, etc.

The so-called h muet is another story...Some useful links

wiki: être d'accord

the French h


Initially, my response concerned the final letter (d) of the word. Instead of completely erasing it, I reversed the order of my reply. Maybe you or someone else find useful the following.

Accorder, the verb, gives-nom déverbal or deverbative noun- the noun accord.

Accorder comes from basic Latin accordare composed by ad+cor+cordis+are.

Other nouns that come from verbs include:

  • écart from écarter
  • retard from retarder

The consonant at the end of the noun usually is not pronounced. However, there are a few exceptions of the final consonant rule. The most classic one is cauchemar which means nightmare. The corresponding verb is cauchemarder. One other word of the same family is cauchemardesque. One sees that cauchemar does not keep the final d, despite its presence in other words of the same family. Cauchemar was once written cauchemare where mare signifies phantom or ghost. Note the very presence of mare in the English counterpart nightmare.

Reference: Marie-France Claerebout, Optimiser son score à la Certification Voltaire, Presses Universitaires de France, 2013.

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    I rather think the OP wants to understand what d' means in the phrase d'accord (not the final d in the word accord).
    – Greg
    Mar 1, 2018 at 11:53
  • Thanks. I was not quite sure anyway. Should I erase my answer ?
    – Dimitris
    Mar 1, 2018 at 11:59
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    @dimitris Unfortunately I think the first part probably would confuse someone expecting to find a different answer in it. If you want to keep it, you could reverse the order and put a note: "At first I thought you were asking about the final d, not the first one. Here's my explanation for that." Or something.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Mar 1, 2018 at 12:27
  • @LukeSawczak Thanks. I follow your suggestion.
    – Dimitris
    Mar 1, 2018 at 12:38
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It is shortened if the word starts with a vowel. Such as: d'accord = of agreement

but if it doesn't start with a vowel, then you use du for masculine or de for feminine. Such as: Banque du Canada or femme de Aquitaine

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Why d'?

In this phrase d' denotes the removal of e from a full form de. D'accord replaces de accord, following general elision rules explained below. The reason is a following e in de accord creates a hiatus.

Why de?

Elided or not, de is used in this case to build a (fr) locution adverbiale, i.e. a phrase which can be seen as an (fr) adverbe. Such phrases are conventional constructions by nature, and the exact mechanism for using de (rather than e.g. en) is difficult to pinpoint, de having so many meanings.

Among the hundred of uses for de, the one pertaining to d'accord, is listed in CNRTL article (section I.C.4):

I.De prend une valeur sémantique en corrélation avec celle du mot subséquent. C.De marque une circonstance qui précise (et parfois conditionne) une modalité d'existence ou d'action. 4. − La modalité est une manière d'être ou de se comporter.

[Le compl. de + subst. ou pron. est souvent indéterminé, notamment dans des loc. verbales ou adv. au fig.; il correspond à un adv. ou au gérondif, p. ex. accepter de bon cœur « volontiers, en étant d'accord, avec joie »]

In the sentence je suis d'accord, de (elided in d') is used to introduce accord, to make it a description of the subject current mindset, exactly like in accepter de bon cœur, the CNRTL example above.

(Additional details about elision follow if you're interested.)



Hiatus

Two consecutive vowels, or a vowel followed by h form a (fr) hiatus, e.g. entre amis (between friends), la houle (swell) and rer (air) are hiatus still existing today. A short break must be inserted in-between the two vowels. In contrary, many other hiatus have been smoothed using one of the techniques listed in the Wikipedia article.

One of these surprising techniques is to change the gender, e.g. ma âme (my soul) becoming mon âme to clear the hiatus, resulting in the gender of mon (m.) and âme (f.) not agreeing.

Elision of e

A frequent form of hiatus relates to words ending in e, e.g. le, de, me, etc. This ending e is cancelled to ease pronunciation, using (fr) élision. Elision is marked by an apostrophe where e would be located: l', d', m'. The elision results in making the liaison between the two words, pronouncing a single syllable (d'accord' is pronounced /d‿a.kɔʁ/ (listen).

Constructions like de habitude, de évidence, de ici, de origine, de urgent, etc are replaced by d'habitude, d'évidence, d'ici, d'origine, d'urgent, and so for de accord.

Beyond elision: Removal of apostrophe

With time apostrophe can even be removed and the two words merged into a single one, e.g. in dorénavant (from now on), the contraction of d'or (itself from de or: à partir de maintenant) and en avant (en regardant vers l'avenir).

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