French Loan Words In German Posted by Constanze on Jul 31, 2019 in Intercultural, Language
Guten Tag! We have talked before about loanwords in the German language. There is quite a big crossover of both English words used in German, and German words used in English. However, did you know that there are many French words used in the German language, too? And many of these are everyday words we may not immediately recognise as being French!
Here are just some of the many French loan words in the German language. I have included their gender after the word, and extra information for some of them. Some are more obvious than others. Which ones did you know about before? Do any come as a surprise?
German Words With French Roots
Abonnement, das – subscription
To use a very modern example: If you watch German YouTubers, at the end of their videos they usually say “Bitte ein Abo da lassen!” (“Please hit ‘subscribe’!”). ‘Abo’ is short for Abonnement.
Affäre, die – affair
aktuell – current
This is a good example of a false friend – a word that looks like it should mean one thing, when it means another. An English speaker would think aktuell translates to ‘actual’ but it means ‘current’. This is because the word comes from the French ‘actuel’.
Balkon, der – balcony
Ballon, der – balloon
Think Nena’s classic song, 99 Luftballons!
Bonbon, der/das – bonbon (a sweet)
Büro, das – office
Café, das – cafe
Champignon, der – mushroom
Chef, der – boss
Another false friend. You can read about this word here.
Dame, die – lady/woman
Remember, in German you pronounce the letter ‘e’. So Dame is pronounced ‘Dah-meh’ in German!
Dusche, die/duschen – shower/to shower
Etikette, die – etiquette
Etui, das – case (small bag)
Friseur, der – hairdresser
Idee, die – idea
Kompliment, das – compliment
Kostüm, das – costume
Kuvert, das – envelope
Omelett(e), das – omelette
Onkel, der – uncle
Parfüm, das – perfume
Pommes, die – fries (chips in British English)
Known as Pommes Frites in French, in German the word has been shortened to just Pommes. This is pronounced ‘pomm-ess’ in German, unlike in French, where it is pronounced ‘pomm’.
Saison, die – season
Salon, der – salon
Serviette, die – serviette
Sofa, das – sofa
Tante, die – aunty
Toilette, die – toilet
Zigarette, die – cigarette
And there are many more! Which ones did you know about before? Do any come as a surprise? Do you know any more?
Bis bald (see you soon)!
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