Reading French for English speakers

Reading French for English speakers

Latin based languages share a massive amount of common and overlapping words. RobWords offers these 3 tricks for English speakers to scuttle through the French language. I find these kinds of tips super helpful for a casual traveler. As always, these are not hard and fast and some require some lateral thinking to make the connections – but it’s good enough to really improve your muddling through the French language.

  1. French words that start with an ‘É’ can often be replaced with an ‘S’. Examples:
    épice -> spice
    étranger -> stranger
    épouse -> spouse
    éponge -> sponge
  2. Vowels with a caret ‘âêîôû’ – remove the hat and add a ‘s’
    Forêt -> Forest
    Tempête -> Tempest(e)
    Arrête -> arrest(e)
    Hôtesse -> Hostess(e)
    Hôtel -> Hostel
    Hâte -> Haste
    Pâte -> Paste
    Hôpital -> Hospital
    Maître -> Maistre
    Côte -> Co(a)st (the side/coast)
  3. Replace the ‘GU’ that starts some words with ‘W’
    Guerre -> Wuerre -> War
    Guillaume -> Willaume (William)

Put them together and:

L’écureuil étudie guillaume le guerrier à l’école dans la forêt.

We translate as:

L’ scureuil studie willaume le werrier à l’scole dans la forest.


The squirrel studies william the warrior at school in the forest.

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