You already know French!

Sreedhar Mandyam


Do you know that you are already using French when you speak English? Languages borrow words from one another frequently and then make it their own. A kind of kabja, if you know what I mean.

English and French have a lot of similar words with of course the same or similar meaning. Each of the languages has borrowed from the other and they both together have borrowed from Latin. Words that way cease to be anyone’s property crossing borders without any inhibitions. There are 15 French origin words in the following paragraph.

Have you ever been to a Restaurant or a Cafe, looked at the Menu and had a sense of deja vu? Perhaps you tasted salad and wanted to compliment the chef? The chef told you that the idea of the dish came from the owner who was also an Entrepreneur. When you wanted to meet the Entrepreneur you were asked to proceed to a Boutique three roads down. You asked your chauffeur to pick up a bouquet on the way to the Boutique where the entrepreneur was. You saw her silhouette from the outside window, went in and met her and found her chic and petite. You had a great conversation with her. You discovered you had a lot in common including watching the genre of horror movies. You also shared the same Eau de cologne. She gave you a brooch as a souvenir.

There were fifteen French words in the above paragraph.  If you didn’t recognize them here is the list and the meaning of those words of French origin. The French write some of the words a bit differently though.

Menu – List of dishes that are served in an eating place. Now it has become extended to say the list of dishes served anywhere.
Cafe – A small eating joint. For beverages and snack. Cafe Coffee Day is an example
Restaurant – a commercial place where we can pay and eat our meals
Chef – the main or the chief cook.
Chic – fashionable, stylish,
Petite – generally an adjective associated with women. It means a short, diminutive and attractive woman.
Silhouette – an outline, a dark image against a lit up background
Chauffeur – a driver of a car
Deja vu – the feeling that you had the same experience previously
Entrepreneur – a person who starts a new business
Genre – a kind, a sort Example: Genre of romantic novels
Souvenir – an article given as a memory
Bouquet – a bunch of flowers
Boutique – a small shop with specialized service
Eau de cologne – perfume

Now you can say, you also know a bit of French!