Translation 49. French loanwords in English. Pronunciation Guide for Hindi speakers. Introduction

The bi- and trilingual abilities of Indians are well-known and greatly admired or envied, especially by monolinguals. Another established fact is that those who are proficient in Hindi and English also tend to use (or understand) a large number of English loanwords even when speaking, writing, or listening to Hindi. (The rise of Hinglish, although obviously related, is a separate issue.)

Although these English loanwords in Hindi (my latest count is 3,000) are adapted to the phonology of Hindi and the Devanagari script, their English origin is still quite clear in a majority of cases. That in itself I find quite remarkable  ̶  perhaps unique. (As instant proof, listen to any news bulletin in Hindi.) (For more examples, see here.

English is also the depository of loanwords from many languages, including, for almost 1,000 years, French, which has had a major influence in the development of the English lexicon. Bilingual speakers of Hindi and English will be well aware of many of these French borrowings but I wonder to what extent they transfer these French borrowings into their use of Hindi. Having tested the phonetic adaptability of many French loanwords into Hindi, I have found the results to be almost as satisfactory as the English loanwords. Therefore, where relevant, they could be inserted into bilingual English and Hindi dictionaries. (The same applies, of course, to the vast number of English loanwords in Hindi, but that is not relevant to my point here.)

The rest of this introductory article is an attempt to show how a romanised transliteration of French loanwords can help Hindi speakers to pronounce the words in the (more or less) French way that they are pronounced in contemporary English, whether they are using them in their English or in their Hindi.

Possible further articles may enlarge on these preliminary findings and underline the usefulness of transliterating more of the French borrowings in teaching materials for courses on English as a second Language for speakers of Hindi.

French loanwords are present in large numbers in English dictionaries, but they are particularly noticeable in those areas in which France has excelled, like diplomacy, politics and military affairs, the arts, sports, fashion and perfumes, gastronomy (and kweezeen – cuisine) and oenology. Some brief specific and other general lists follow.

This is merely a Daybyoo for this topic. début डेब्यू

bauNzhoor! [zh reflects more accurately the ‘s‘ sound of the English words vision and treasure] Bonjour बॉन्जूर

auNshauNTe! Enchanté! ऑनशॉन्टे

bauN vwaayaazh! [w is the ‘soft’ pronunciation variant of Hindi v.] Bon voyage! बॉन व्वायाज

bauN shaaNs! Bonne chance! बॉन शौंस

*

Preliminary examples

Eating and drinking

kweezeeN, cuisine

noovail kweezeen, nouvelle cuisine [A bit passé, thank goodness!]

bauN aapayTee, Bon appétit.

kafé, café

raisTaurauN, restaurant

keesh, quiche

kaanaape, canapé

krooDiTe, crudité

paaTay duh fwaa gras, pâté de foie gras

pyooray, purée

raaTaaTooee, ratatouille

vaaN aurDeenair, vin ordinaire

pruhmyay Kroo, premier cru

krem duh mauNth, crème de menthe

Fashion (faishaN)

aa laa mauD, à la mode

Daykaulte, décolleté (and DaykaulTazh)

kaursaajh, corsage [very different from kaurTaizh – cortège]

laaNzhuhree, lingerie

o duh kaloN, eau de Cologne

oT kooTyoor, haute couture

preTaa paurte, prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear)

Arts

baalay, ballet

paa duh dur, pas de deux

Diplomacy and politics

auNsyaaN rayzheem, ancien régime

aunTauNT kaurDeeyal, Entente Cordiale

Deereezheezma, dirigisme

DeereezheesT, dirigiste

faurs maazhur, force majeure

Military

aazhauN prauvaukaTur, agent provocateur

aide duh kauM, aide-de-camp

aispree duh kaur, esprit de corps

aur duh kaumbaa, hors de combat

kaurDauN saaneeTair, cordon sanitaire

koo daytaa, coup d’état

koo duh graas, coup de grâce

Administration

ayshalauN, échelon

Description

baiT nwaar, bête noire

boorzhwaa, bourgeois

boorzhwaazee, bourgeoisie

Doobla auNTaunDra, double-entendre

kauNfeeDauN (m), confidant

kaunfeedaunT (f), confidante

maynaazh aa Trwaa, ménage à trois

pyais duh rayzeestauNs, pièce de résistance

shay Durvra, chef-d’oeuvre

Attributes

aamoor praupra, amour-propre

ahplaum, aplomb

DeesTray, distrait

naaeevtay, naiveté

panaash, panache

saNg frwaa, sangfroid

zhwaa Duh veevra, joie de vivre

Sports

aypay, épée

kauNkoor daylegauNs, concours d’élégance

Miscellaneous

Dayzhaa vyoo, déjà vu

Duh Tro, de trop [superfluous]

kree Duh kur, cri de coeur

raizauN DaiTra, raison d’être

Occupations

auNTruhprunur, entrepreneur

Nouns in -é

aymeegray, émigré

feeauNsay, fiancé, m, and fiancée, f.

prauTayzhay, protégé

rayzyoomay, résumé

Adjectives in -é

blaazay, blasé

deesTaNgay, distingué

reeskay, risqué

ruhTroosay, retroussé (turned up – esp. nose)

Sayings

plyoo saa shaaNzh (plyoo se laa maiM shoz). Plus ça change, (plus c’est la même chose.) (Nothing really changes.)

aapre mwaa luh Daylyoozh. Après moi, le déluge. (Who cares what happens when I go?)

auNee swaa kee maal ee pauNs. Honi soit qui mal y pense. (Evil be to he who thinks evil of it. [The motto of the British Order of the Garter.]

veev laa DeefayrauNs! Vive la différence! [Long may the difference continue to exist!]

reeyaaN na vaa plyoo. Rien ne va plus. (No more bets!)

*

o ruhvwaar.

aabyaaNTo?

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