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Oh la la! Les Homographes in my French course

Something else to rattle the brain as you learn French! Perhaps … and yet this will empower your brain substantially in the process. Les homographes! What is a homograph? This usually refers to a pair of words with the same spelling, identical or different pronunciation, which can be very slight and which have a different meaning. The homograph can present considerable difficulty for those who choose to learn French. Of course they exist in other languages too, so don’t go feeling all alone.

Here are some homographs in English and then some French examples by way of introduction

contént (adjective) = happy/pleased/satisfied ➤ cóntent (noun) = all that is contained in something 

désert (noun) = a hot dry region ➤ desért (verb) = to leave

mínute (noun) = 60 seconds  ➤ minúte (adjective) = very small

And now – some typical homographs as you commit to your French course

Ces homographes (these homographs) do not have the same pronunciation: Is the final consonant pronounced or silent? 

sens (verbe sentir) je sens (silent ‘s’) le senteur de la belle fleur  ➤ sens (nom) – Elle a le sens (‘s’ pronounced) du rythme (She has a good sense of rhythm).

plus (= more/adverb of comparison) Jean mange plus (‘s’ not pronounced) que moi (Jean eats more than me).

➤ plus – C’est lui qui est plus (liaison) actif. (It’s him who is more active)  ➤ Cela est un plus (‘s’ pronounced) pour nous. (That’s in our favour/it’s a plus for us).

Les homographes ending in -ent: the verb ending (3rd person plural) is not pronounced/ the adjective or noun is pronounced  ‘en’.

Les hommes négligent (verb/silent ending – neglect – pronounced néglige) ➤ leur appartement (noun) (The men neglect their apartment) .

If you have read this far, you have experienced some brain teasing. À la prochaine………

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