0

I've learned French for more than 2 years and I've realized that many words in English match words in French but have a different pronunciation, for example, introduction, culture...

Therefore, I'd like to know if there is a list of words sharing both their spelling and pronunciation between French & English.

1
  • 3
    No word, even spelt the same will have exactly the same pronunciation in French & in English. What are you exactly looking for, a list of words that "have same pronunciation in English and French"? a list of "similar words in French but different pronunciations" or just a list of words that are spelt the same in French and in English? There are hundreds of words spelt the same in French & in English (not necessarily having the same meaning though), some lists can be found on the internet but it'll never be a complete list. See also.
    – None
    Jan 11 at 14:07

2 Answers 2

1

A quick and dirty check based on publicly available list of words shows that on 370k English words, 15.8k are present in a list of 125k French words.

That means that 4.27% of English words are listed in French and 12.63% of French words are listed in English. Both languages borrowed on each other, and some words did a round-trip.

As already stated, the number of words written and pronounced the same in both languages is very close to zero, if only because our vowels and stress are different although it depends on how strict you are when comparing.

Words like zoom are close if you only consider phonemes: /zum/ vs /zu:m/ but actual phonetics will show a difference large enough for French ears to detect a native English speaker, and reciprocally. Another similar word would be ski: /ski/ vs /ski:/

The letters S and Z are pronounced the same /ɛs/ and /zɛd/ (British/Canadian English pronunciation for the latter.)

2
  • Incidentally, there's some fun research I heard mentioned by Gretchen McCulloch to the effect that Canadians mostly pronounce it 'zee' before about the age of 20. They are media-saturated and unconsciously reproduce the majority usage, I think the hypothesis was, but when they get older they reinforce their cultural identification with a smaller group (perhaps the beginning of conservatism with age?). I see this corroborated by my high school students, most of whom say 'zee', whereas my friends are mostly 'zed'. Me, I grew up saying 'zed' from day one for some reason...
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jan 12 at 4:16
  • @LukeSawczak I was taught the 'zed' pronunciation at school and was unaware that another one existed for many years. I first heard 'zee' attending a technical training in the US when the teacher talk about component named "Z-buffer". I initially thought it was some sort of a joke, or pun I was missing, perhaps related to the rock band ZZ-top also using that strange 'zee'. I was eventually surprised to discover it was nothing but the standard pronunciation there.
    – jlliagre
    Jan 12 at 13:48
0

Listen to a native French speaker that learned English as an adult.

Effectively every word they say when they speak English will sound different from how a native English speaker would say it. It's called "having a French accent"

The same thing happens when you speak French. A native French speaker will immediately recognize that your French has an English accent. They might even be able to tell whether it is British, American, Australian, etc.

(One's accent is largely a result of how one's muscle memory and phonemic awareness developed as one grew up, and it is very difficult to eliminate. If you find yourself saying "it hurts my mouth when I speak French too much", that means you're on the right track.)

So, regardless of how the words are spelled or what they mean, there are no words that are properly pronounced in French exactly as they would be properly pronounced in English.

4
  • 1
    La question ne porte pas sur les accents.
    – Toto
    Jan 11 at 15:09
  • 1
    @Toto Parce que tu as compris sur quoi porte la question? Il y a une contradiction au sein même de la question. Et comprends-tu toi ce à quoi se rapporte such (counterexample) words in French & English dans la question?
    – None
    Jan 11 at 15:57
  • @None: Bien sûr que la question n'est pas claire, néanmoins le titre indique « same pronunciation in English and French. » Il n'est pas mentionné d'accent français ou anglais.
    – Toto
    Jan 11 at 17:06
  • @Toto L'accent de la langue maternelle influe sur la prononciation de la L2, donc parler de l'accent n'est pas plus hors sujet qu'autre chose.
    – None
    Jan 11 at 17:42

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