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French/ ENGLISH COGNATES

Have you ever heard of a Cognate?  Chances are you already know them without realizing they had a name.  

These are words that share the same origin and have the same meaning across different languages.  The dictionary defines Cognates as: “allied or similar in nature or quality”.  When learning a new language and come across a cognate; this can help point to similarity, of meaning and help you better understand the word’s meaning.  

readme Sometimes there are slight variances between languages, but the variances can be minimal or so different that the similarity can be missed if you are not vigilant. — Hey! that’s an English/French cognate, “vigilant”.  Most languages that share the same root as in Latin or Greek will share the same words which can be spelt differently, but you’d have a hard time not connecting them.  Even languages that do not share the same roots can have cognates because of conquest, trade partnership or colonialism.

Cognate French/English glossary

Here are a few terms to increase your familiarity with French/English cognates.

English French
absolutely absolument
abundance abondance
accentuate accentuer
accident accident
acrobatic acrobatique
activity activités
actor acteur
address adresse
allergic allergique
appetite appétit
arrogance arrogance
artist artiste
banana banane
battery batterie
bicycle bicyclette
brutal brutal
cabin cabine
cafeteria cafétéria
capitain capitaine
ceremony cérémonie
coast côte
color couleur
common commun
curious curieux
magnificent magnifique
medal médaille
memory mémoire
naturally naturellement
ordinary ordinaire
October octobre
photograph photographie
restaurant restaurant
rock roche
salary salire
solid solide
stomach estomac
testimony témoignage
totally totalement
urgent urgence
venomous venimeux

 

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few, and the above is just a brief glossary of the many cognates that exist between French and English.  Some of you will notice barely a difference between them, like “October” that becomes “octobre” in French, while others will need a discerning eye to see the similarities, like “January” that becomes “janvier”.  

out site Notice in both example that English capitalizes the first letter for a proper noun and French doesn’t. There are, of course, words that are exactly the same in both languages but do not remotely mean the same things – like “bras” in English that is a diminutive of “brassier” but “bras” in French means “arm”.

It can be fun to pick up literature in a Latin/Greek based language and try to pick out the cognates and try to decipher the meaning of the sentence.

Next time you are speaking to your tutor on the Adapt2me platform, challenge him/her to a cognate contest?

So let’s have some fun!  Below is a list of English and French cognates.  Why don’t you fill in the missing cognate in either language?  Type your answers in the comments section below.

 

décembre
diamant
dictionary
docteur
enormous
exactly
féroce
garden
history histoire
immigrant immigrant
island
lemon
lentille
January janvier

Challenge us by posting your own examples of cognates that will stump us.

No Comments | 29 June, 2016