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How French has influenced English

On December 25, 1066, William the Conqueror (also Duke of Normandy) became King of England. As a result, French became the language of the court, administration and culture and English continued to be used by ordinary people. More than 10,000 French words found their way into English – words associated with government, law, art, literature, food, and many other aspects of life. About three quarters of these words are still used, and words derived directly or indirectly from French now account for more than a third of English vocabulary. In fact English speakers know around 15,000 French words, even before they start learning the language.

You can find some French words and expressions used in the English language on the website About.com.

Watch out for (= attention à) false cognates (= faux amis)! marmite
Creative Commons License photo credit: dontcallmeikke

On the website, you can also find English expressions with the word French. Here is a little selection:

New House: Before
Creative Commons License photo credit: Evan Sims

French doorla porte-fenêtre
literally, window-door                       

Cucumbers On Bottom
Creative Commons License photo credit: trekkyandy

French dressingla vinaigrette
Only in England does French dressing mean vinaigrette. In the US, French dressing refers to a sweet, tomato-based salad dressing that does not, as far as I know, exist in France.

FRENCH FRIES
Creative Commons License photo credit: spike55151

French fryla (pomme de terre) frite
literally, fried potato. Note that French fries are actually Belgian

to take French leavefiler à l’anglaise (informal)
literally, to split/take off the English way

Kukita
Creative Commons License photo credit: pacomexico

French poodleun caniche
literally, poodle

Indulgent holiday brunch 4/365/2010
Creative Commons License photo credit: katiesw1

French toastle pain perdu
literally, lost bread

Pardon my French.Passez-moi l’expression.
Allow me the expression.

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