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Old 15th November 2019, 13:49
rof120 rof120 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 185
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French or Flemish: a matter of pronunciation too

The ending ...em is pronounced differently in various languages. In Flemish ...gem is pronounced (like in German) ...guem (but without pronouncing any u of course), or possibly this G is pronounced like the Spanish J (Juan, Jaime, Anranjuez…) - I know almost nothing on Flemish - same thing as for ...gam or ...gom or ...gum (the same G as in English for "ga…", "get", "got" or "good". Not so in French, where ...gem is pronounced with the same G as in the English word "gem" but without any D-sound (dgem), hence the adding of an h to get the same pronunciation in both Belgian langages.

Rudi S is right and his example is very good:

" The French for instance call Aachen Aix-la-Chapelle."

This is correct and precisely this upset me very often, but don't forget that in the 8th-9th centuries, around Charlemagne's (Karl der Grosse in German) crowning as Emperor in the year 800 France, Germany and more territories were one country ruled by him. The French name for Aachen could be as old as this (?) or even older. Not easy to change such an old tradition. Nevertheless French people have the habit of "making French" most foreign names, which upsets (at least me) even more: Cairo is Le Caire, London is Londres, Köln is Cologne (in English too), Napoli is Naples, Firenze is Florence, Den Haag is La Haye and Regensburg (Messerschmitt…) is "Ratisbonne" etc. Quite unnerving.

Nowadays on all non-Flemish motorways both names, if there are two, are given on the road signs (at least if there is a great difference). "Rijsel" for Lille (without any translation nor explanation) is totally unacceptable because in the whole world only a few million Flemish people understand it. This nazi-like fanatism has nothing to do on INTERNATIONAL road links. What's more, it changes several times depending on Flemish or French-speaking areas of Belgium, so that innocent foreigners like Japanese or Brasilian people don't understand anything, can attempt to leave the motorway (believing that they took a wrong motorway) and cause some terrible accidents with heavy death toll. In Flemish and even in French-speaking areas they should at least accept road signs in both languages - of course with perfect equality as demanded by the Flames. So even Americans would understand at last.

Last edited by rof120; 16th November 2019 at 15:30.
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