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2012/12/14
2:26am
Raffee
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I had always subliminally (but nearer to my mind’s conscious ‘part’!) thought that why we pronounce acute accent as /eɪ/, but had never come up with the idea of posing it here. Well, last night I did! :)

Mostly the words containing the accent have been borrowed from French, far as I know, and they, the French, pronounce it as /e/, the ‘accent aigu’.

Is it rooted in some older version of English? Or in Latin?  

2012/12/19
5:50am
RobertB
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They are all borrowed words, no exception !

A weird point: does English take liberty to add accent ? Yes: saké. Japanese writing doesn’t even have the concept of the accent as the alphabets know it. Except possibly saké originated from one of the accented European languages. No way to prove either way.

2012/12/21
1:46am
Robert
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English has the  diaeresis, though sometimes omitted:  naïve,  Noël,  Chloë  ,  Zoë,  Brontë.

Acute accent is not native to English.

Saké most likely was Dutch first, Dutch being early European visitors to the Far East.

2012/12/21
1:48am
Raffee
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RobertB said:

They are all borrowed words, no exception !

Yes, but my main point was that why we pronounce it as  /eɪ/, and not  /e/, as the French do.

2012/12/22
4:48am
Glenn
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It would be very foreign in English for a word to end with /e/. The closest sound natural to English would be the diphthong.

2013/05/10
9:13am
AnMa
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Raffee said

RobertB said:

They are all borrowed words, no exception !

Yes, but my main point was that why we pronounce it as  /eɪ/, and not  /e/, as the French do.

/e/ is very, very rare in mainstream American or British English. And /e/ is definitely not a separate phoneme in English—at most it might be an allophone of /eɪ/. In fact, most people I know will not even be able to understand the difference if I try to demonstrate the difference between /ne/ and /neɪ/.

2013/05/11
11:58pm
asusena Armenia
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When reading the posts, a question crossed my mind. Why did English borrow so many words from French? Is it beacuse of the Norman Conquest in about the year 1066? Yeah, language contact is quite normal but English seems to have taken and adapted too many words from French. Recently I came across an article where was stated that

“between 1100 and 1500 more than ten thousand French words passed into English” [Stojičić  V.(2004) Sociolinguistic Stimuli to Development of the English Lexicon – Language Contact and Social Need, p. 31,  http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=ru&as_sdt=0,5&q=V.+Stojicic+sociolinguistic+factors+in+the+creations].

It is common knowledge that English borrowed words from many world dead and living languages, but French borrowings seem to be great in number. Why so?

2013/05/12
3:09am
Glenn
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You have the answer: the Norman Conquest had a tremendous impact on the English lexicon. While the grammatical and syntactic structures of English remain Germanic, its vocabulary might trick you into thinking it is a Romance language.

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