French False Cognates
A False Cognate, also known as a False Friend, is a French word that looks like an English word, but has a different meaning.
If the French word is spelled somewhat differently than the English word, this can help you realize that this is truly a foreign word, and probably not related to the English word it looks something like.
ENGLISH -- FRENCH
fatty -- grasse
map -- carte
ring (finger) -- bague
attend -- assister
pull -- tirer
your -- votre
Some French False Cognates look exactly like an English word, but actually mean another English word that is spelled somewhat like the French word.
It can be helpful if the French False Cognate has a different pronunciation than the English word it is spelled like -- because that makes it sound different than the English word it is spelled like, and helps make it clear that it is actually a foreign word.
ENGLISH -- FRENCH -- [SAY FRENCH]
arms -- bras -- [‘bra’]
meat -- chair -- [shehr]
battery -- pile -- [peel]
file (nails) -- lime -- [leem ]
bread -- pain -- [pehng]
field -- champ -- [shawng]
hand -- main -- [mehng]
bed -- lit -- [lee]
end -- fin -- [fehng ]
ticket -- billet -- [bee-YAY]
underpants (briefs) -- slips -- [sleep ]
far -- loin -- [lwehng]
dirty -- sale -- [sahl]
ugly -- laid -- [lay]
purpose -- but -- [bewt]
gasoline -- essence -- [ehs-SAWNGS]
how -- comment -- [koh-MAWNG]
thing -- chose -- [shohz]
garlic -- ail -- [ie]
all -- tout -- [too]
by -- par -- [‘par’ ]
during -- pendant -- [pehng-DAHNGT]
FRENCH WORDS RESEMBLING TWO ENGLISH WORDS
French that somewhat resembles two English words can be helpful or misleading. For example, the French word ‘PARTIR’:
PARTIR looks most like the English word ‘PART’, which is not what it means.
PARTIR looks less like the English word ‘DEPART’, which is what it means.
So when seeing this French word, the natural first reaction of an English-speaker who does not know French is to mistakenly think it is related to ‘PART’ in English.
With French words that are ambiguous in this way, the resemblance to English could work against you -- rather than help you understand and remember the French word more easily (as is true of other French words that resemble English words).
So when you see any French word that looks like two English words, it will help if you associate it with the correct English word.
Link to FRENCH WORDS RESEMBLING TWO ENGLISH WORDS:
Some French words that resemble two English words can be helpful or misleading.
Easy French Lesson -- False Cognates
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