Little fact about French because I just learned that

hayley-studies:

culmaer:

limbile:

The accent circonflexe (^) exists in French words to replace the “s” that no longer exists but used to be there in older French.

For example: fenêtre used to be fenestre

It is still possible to see the “s” at times in family words like “défenestrer”.

knowing this, « être » becomes much more regular :

  • être  → estre (es, est, sommes, ê[s]tes, sont ; ser-)

some French derivations become clearer :

  • fenêtre   → défenestrer → L. fenestra
  • fête   → festival
  • hôpital → hospitaliser (E. hospital, ise)
  • intérêt  → intéressant (E. interest, -ing)
  • ancêtre  → ancestral (E. ancestor, -ral)
  • arrêt    → arrestation
  • épître  → épistolaire (E. epistle)

some English cognates become more obvious :

  • hôtel  → hostel (E. ‘hotel’ borrowed from French)
  • forêt  → forest (tipp to remember ^ goes on the ‹e›)
  • bête  → beast
  • côte  → coast
  • honnête → honest
  • pâte, pâté → pasta, paste
  • quête   → quest
  • enquête  → inquest
  • tempête  → tempest
  • vêtements → vestments (ie. clothes)
  • baptême → baptism

sometimes, the acute replaces the circumfex for phonetic reasons :

  • ḗcole   → escole → L. schola (E. school)
  • ḗtranger   → estrangier (E. stranger)
  • ḗtudier   → estudier (E. study)
  • dḗgoûtant → desgoustant (E. disgusting)
  • dḗbarquer → desembarquer (E. disembark)
  • rḗpondre  → respondre (E. respond)
  • rḗpublique → L. res publica

Also, where « c → ch » (eg. cantare→ chanter) :

  • château → castel (E. castle)
  • pêcher → L. piscare

and « w → gu » (eg. war→ guerre ; warden→ guardian) :

  • guêpe → E. wasp ! (this is my n° 1 favourite cognate)

bonus etymologies :

  • tête   → L. testa
  • fantôme  → L. phantasma (E. ‘phantom’ borrowed from French)
  • Pâques  → Gk. pásxa → Am. pésaḫ (E. Paschal)

Also just be aware that the circumflex has some other uses too, like distinguishing « sur — sûr » or « dû » and the vowel quality in « âge »

Where was this post when I was doing A-Level French! This is actually a really interesting language change called “syncope” (the loss of a medial segment within a word) and what makes it even more interesting to me is that not only was the -s- dropped post vocalically and largely before voiceless stops, but that the circumflex was (unnecessarily but coolly) adopted as an orthographic marker of the lost -s-. Even more interesting is that syncope usually occurs in vowels. I love this.

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