51 votes
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Where did French's silent ending consonants come from?

This is a huge question. If someone has the time to give a more thorough overview, I invite them to, but here's a quick set of points to consider. Most of these end consonants are no mystery: they ...
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41 votes

What languages are perceived as classy or fancy to French speakers?

I'll add my two cents from a translation angle, even though I don't have a solid answer. This is an excellent question from the point of view of a translator, because it gets at an issue translators ...
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36 votes
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What languages are perceived as classy or fancy to French speakers?

I really don't think there's an equivalent. French has a particular status for other countries, but I can't see a language that would be the same for French. Not at the same level at least. Maybe ...
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21 votes

Where did French's silent ending consonants come from?

In addition to Luke's answer, here are some comments about each of your examples: Temps was often written tems, tens or even tans in Old French. When French spelling was standardized, the variant ...
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20 votes

What languages are perceived as classy or fancy to French speakers?

Probably Latin. Some examples of Latin words or phrases that a native French speaker could use to sound posh: ab abrupto instead of abruptement ad honores instead of pour l'honneur ergo instead ...
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18 votes

What languages are perceived as classy or fancy to French speakers?

There is no such language in France. I think we need to take a step back: Why is French perceived as "fancy" or "classy"? From the Wikipedia History of French: Modern French article: From the ...
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18 votes
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Why do we say “un seul M” and not “une seule M” even though M is a “consonne”?

The gender of letters is masculine nowadays but that wasn't always the case for some consonants, including m. TLFi Rem. Les noms désignant les lettres f, h, l, m, n, r, s sont traditionnellement ...
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15 votes

Is there a foundational writer or body of writing to the French language?

We often call the French language "la langue de Molière". Molière was a playwright and actor who lived in the 17th century, and he is well-known for his comedies such as "Tartuffe" or "L'Avare".
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14 votes
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Proper Middle French c. 1450 pronunciation for the "Le Roy Engloys" song

The most complete freely accessible source for the dating and chronology of sound changes in French is in my opinion the histolf site of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and especially its pages on ...
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12 votes
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Donc voilà pourquoi votre finale est muette ?

Personnellement il m'arrive de prononcer [dō] quand je parle de façon relâchée et que le mot donc n'est pas placé en finale de phrase et qu'il n'y a pas de liaison à faire. Par exemple : Tu viens ...
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12 votes
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Prétéqueuseuteu

Ce n'est pas du patois, c'est vraiment comme dit le texte (« comme eût prononcé la cuisinière de mon grand-père ») un élément de prononciation. Les enfants qui ne savent pas encore bien parler, et ...
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12 votes

Does the tu/vous distinction more accurately express politeness, or social distance?

Yes, I agree that tu or vous are not marks of politeness but marks of social distance / deference. That's the reason why French people, regardless of whether they are polite or not, usually do not ...
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10 votes
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Que signifie « céan(s) » dans Le Tartuffe (Molière)

Céans ne se rencontre plus guère qu'en littérature. Cet adverbe signifie étymologiquement « ici, dedans » et c'est bien le sens qu'il à toujours dans l'oeuvre de Molière : « ici, en ce lieu ». Il est ...
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10 votes
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« un seul accent, horizontal, qu’on appelle couramment l’accent plat » ?

Les accents de guingois en travers des titres sont, je crois, simplement les accents habituels, qui sont obliques pour la plupart des gens, et de guingois pour ceux qui ne les aiment pas, le ...
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10 votes
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Origine de la différence de prononciation du "-ent"

You already know the synchronic side of things — the rule for how to use it today: the -ent on 3rd-person plural verbs is silent, and on most if not all other words it's pronounced. (Note that it's ...
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10 votes
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When was the word "ambigu" first used with the sense of "meal with all items served at the same time"?

I never heard "ambigu" used for a meal before. In France I think we only use it for the meaning "Qui est à plusieurs sens, et par conséquent d'un sens incertain". But for the meal ...
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10 votes

"Vicinité" : peut-on utiliser le mot couramment ?

“Vicinité” : peut-on utiliser le mot couramment ? Non. Je me demande pourquoi le mot vicinité n'est pas répertorié dans TLFi. Parce que le TLF se définit comme Dictionnaire de la langue du XIXe ...
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10 votes
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"Vicinité" : peut-on utiliser le mot couramment ?

Le mot « vicinité » est employé en français de nos jours mais dans un sens plus spécialisé que l'anglais vicinity. Et pourtant les anglais nous ont emprunté le mot au XVIe siècle (1er emploi signalé ...
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10 votes
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Alexander the Great quotation: "I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well."

Une traduction plus naturelle (hors contraintes académiques) ou plus poétique : Je dois la vie à mon père, l’art de vivre à mon maitre.
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9 votes
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Was "inclusive writing" historically considered grammatically correct?

The wider definition of the écriture inclusive includes several writing changes. I believe the main one the Académie is warning against is the reintroduction of a ancient sign (the interpunct) to coin ...
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9 votes
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Why did letters in French start halfway down the page?

As iNyar commented, this space is intended to show the sender's deference to the recipient. The larger the gap, the more respect was shown. Here is an excerpt from Modeles de Lettres Sur Differents ...
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8 votes
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« — Je vais me battre à jeun ! — A jeung ! Il vient d'avoir l'accent ! » : quel accent et comment prononce-t-on ici ?

Le g final dénote le son ŋ (une consonne occlusive nasale vélaire voisée pour les intimes), qui ressemble à [ng]. En français « standard », on trouve ce son dans les mots en -ing (parking, smoking, …) ...
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8 votes

Est-ce qu'en français il existe des pronoms anciens ou spéciaux?

Icelle et ses dérivés sont assez sympathiques : l'ancêtre de celle-ci et ses acolytes peuvent être utilisés de nos jours et seront parfaitement entendus.
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8 votes
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Why is there a "le" before "requiert" here?

This text is a translation of a Middle Age version of Tristan et Iseult written originally in Norman language in the 12th century by Béroul. So you must expect to encounter lots of vocabulary issues ...
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8 votes

Multum in modern or an earlier French

Yes: moult (Trésor de la langue française, Dictionaire de l'Académie française (latest editions, previous editions didn't list this word), Littré). This word disappeared from common usage in the 16th ...
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8 votes
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L'origine du c cédille

Je suis loin d'être spécialiste, mais je pense que les liens ci-dessous (questions sur FSE) peuvent donner des indications et constituent un bon point de départ (voir aussi les références mentionnées ...
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