During the evolution of the English language from Old English to Middle English to Modern English, it was greatly influenced by the French language. Over one-third of all English words are derived from French. It is estimated that an English speaker who has not yet studied French already knows 15,000 French words. Here are a few examples of French/English true cognates (words that exist in both languages with the same spellings and meanings, although different pronunciations):

Absence, Barbecue, Cactus, Danger, Extravagance, Fascination, Gratitude, Horoscope, Illusion, Machine, Restaurant, Sandwich, Trampoline, Vampire, Zoo


(Source: www.french.about.com)

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