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French Words Used in German, Part 1

German has many French loan words or Gallicisms. You may wonder why it is helpful to know that some German words originally came from the French—in fact, an estimated 45% of English comes from French or Latin language sources, and very often the French words found in German are the same or very similar to the words found in English that originated from France. If you learn to recognize words in your native English as having a French origin, there is even a fair chance that these words are used in German. All the better if you happen to speak some French already!

 

Let's take a look today at some of the more commonly used German words with a French origin that have obvious French word endings such as -ment, -ion, or -age.

 

Sie kann direkt hinüberblicken zum Parlament.
She can look directly across at the parliament.
Caption 33, Berlin: Hauptstadt des vereinten Deutschland

 

Here das Parlament is spelled slightly differently from the French parlement and English "parliament."

 

Für mich hat's unheimlich viel mit der Emotion zu tun.
For me, it has an awful lot to do with the emotion.
Caption 8: Astrid North: Solo-Debüt

 

The German die Emotion is capitalized as a noun, and except for the accent in the French émotion, is written otherwise the same in all three languages. Notice the noun das Debüt in the title of the above video? That too is based on the French début, which is, of course, "debut" in English. 

 

Es war Ihre Verantwortung, diese Information zu versenden.
It was your responsibility to send this information.
Caption 40, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

 

Die Information is the same in all three languages, but is capitalized as a German noun. 

 

Genau, das war so eine Illusion.
Exactly, that was such an illusion.
Caption 74, Ehrlich Brothers: Show-Magier 

 

Die Illusion is also the same in all three languages but capitalized in German.

 

Mein Rücken, der braucht erst mal eine ordentliche Massage.
My back, first of all, it needs a thorough massage.
Caption 60, Selbst versucht: Gepäckabfertigung bei Fraport

 

Die Massage is the same noun in all three languages, though in German the verb is massieren.

 

Further Learning
As a general rule, French words found in German are spelled the same, or nearly the same, as the French words found in English, but are pronounced in a German manner and written according to German grammatical rules—with nouns capitalized, for example. Take a look at this list of Gallicisms in German and go to Yabla German to find other real-world examples of the words used in videos. Next week we will discuss some more German words that originated from the French and have similar English equivalents.

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