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French fruits question


#1

Hi. If “la prune” is a plum, then what is a prune?

If “le raisin” is a grape then what is a raisin?

This seems so odd.


#2

in French they eventually say “des raisins secs” to differentiate…
I live in Belgium and in Dutch/Flemish we too have 2 different words for these items. French not.
I knew 4 languages when i left secondary school. now i downloaded this app togeteher with 2 more apps for in-depth study of a 5th language (Hindi). Can tell you that word-for-word translation or a literal translation is very often not possible.

anyhow i enjoyed the funny touch of your remark/question


#3

Amazing! So “raisin de sec” is raisins?Thanks.


#4

Right about raisins secs
I am wondering about prune

La prune is the prune. Une prune is a prune

Not sure if that is your question


#5

Alors, c’est quoi en Belge?

Bravo Monsieur polyglotte!


#6

Raisins secs, not de sec, literally dried grapes


#7

So you have stumbled onto a very interesting question that is linked to the etymology of English. England was invaded by the Normands for a good while, starting about in the 12th century. So the French and Normands had the power and the British were their servants and serfs. Many things in English got a French name from that time.

For example, concerning food items, many animals and vegetables got a French name. Sometimes the name for the thing is different when it is alive and in the garden or standing on its legs from the name it had on the table of the Normand overseers. Examples abound, the vocabulary exchange was extensive. See cow and beef (boeuf in French, which to us sounds like an English speaker trying to pronounce a word in French in order to be understood by his French master), one alive and in the barn of the peasant, who maybe didn’t have the chance to see it in his plate, as the name for this meat is directly transcribed from French. Same with calf and veal (French is veau, on its legs or lying on a plate), sheep and mutton (mouton), poulet and pullet (it seems that the French masters didn’t like old chickens, hens and roosters, but only delicate pullets) raisin et raisin sec, prune et pruneau in French. This is stuff we were alerted to in the first year of English classes here in Quebec, no doubt to help us find some reference points with English, which seemed so foreign at the time to us, French speakers.

Not to mention the very large import of legal, commercial and administrative vocabulary. Or even the fashion or garment vocabulary. Just think of the dresses that the nobles and powerful wore in that era, and you will understand a lot when you make the parallel with “robe” in French, which simply means a dress.

A lot of inferences about how life could have been at the time can be derived from the comparative study of both French and English vocabulary associated with daily life and social interactions. It is pretty interesting and even humorous sometimes.

Etymology and the history (history: a word derivated from Latin and French) of languages are so fascinating. We have more in common with other people in the world that we think. Most of our occidental languages languages derive from the old Indo-European. So many words that are common to many people in the world actually very similar to Persian, if you would have ever imagined.


#8

Ha! It says “le prune” is plum. Is the same word also for prune?


#9

Whoa…that was “the long answer”, but thanks.


#10

I’m sorry if it was too long and boring to you, but that’s the real reason. In the long run maybe you’ll find it useful, if you keep on learning French and other languages.


pinned #11

closed #12

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