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Learn French words through English

learn french words through english

Would you believe me if I told you you were speaking French way before you ever wanted to learn it? Yes! French and English have multiple cognates.

So, If you’re currently looking to learn French words through English, here is a small guide to set you on the right track.

common words in french and english

Common French words that we use in English

Before we get into the topic of cognates, let’s learn to understand the common French words used in English. Here is a list of some of the most frequently used French words that make their way into your sentences knowingly or unknowingly.

  1. Déjà Vu
  2. Mirage
  3. Façade
  4. Menu
  5. Petite
  6. Restaurant
  7. Champagne
  8. Entrepreneur
  9. Souvenir
  10. Genre
  11. Bizzare
  12. Boutique
  13. Café
  14. Garage
  15. Beige
  16. Catalogue
  17. Gourmet
  18. Bon Voyage
  19. Chauffeur
  20. Brochure

Faux amis vs Vrais amis

There is a list of similar words and phrases in French and English. However, these words might get tricky when we categorize them into true cognates (vrais amis) and false cognates (faux amis).

What is a cognate? Cognates are sets of words inherited from a common parent language that look alike in different languages. Learning French through cognates is a simple way to build your vocabulary.

Vrais Amis or true cognates are words that share identical spellings and meanings in both English and French. The only difference for true cognates is the French pronunciation and accent.

Faux Amis or false cognates are words that share identical spellings but different meanings. This deceptive resemblance is easily confused and often utilized the wrong way.

20 most significant false cognates

To avoid any further confusion, we’ve put together a list of the most significant false cognates to help learners understand the vast difference.

Actuellement – at present/currently

Actually – en fait, en realité

blessé  – hurt

to bless – bénir

attendre – to wait

to attend – assister

assister – to attend

to assist – aider

la chair – flesh

chair – une chaise

la chance – luck

chance – le hasard

un coin – corner

coin – une pièce

le collège – high school

college –  l’université

sale – dirty

sales – les soldes

une journée – day

journey – un voyage

la lecture – reading

lecture – une conférence

Librairie – bookshop

library – une bibliothèque

demander – to ask

to demand – exiger

le pain – bread

pain – la douleur

introduire – to insert

to introduce – présenter

le médecin – doctor

medicine – medicaments

gentil – nice

gentle – douceur

Grappe – cluster/bunch

grape – raisin

la commodité – convenience

commodity – marchandise

envie – desire

envy/jealous – jaloux

Escape the embarrassments

French and English share a complicated linguistic history which leaves us to shuffle between a lot of similar yet different words. However, these words make each language unique and beautiful in its own way. Now that you are aware of some of the traps you might fall into, it’s time to be more careful and escape the embarrassments.

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