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The word Toilette is pronounced /toalɛtə/ in standard German. It retains the original French /toa/, but its end is pronounced as it would be, were it a German word: /ɛtə/ instead of /ɛt/.

Are there more examples of this kind, or is Toilette unique?

Bonus points: Does this phenomenon have a name?

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Prononciation of German words of French origin is very different in different regions. –  Phira Jun 2 '11 at 11:07
@thei: Sorry, I should add: I'm wondering how it works in standard German. –  Tim Jun 2 '11 at 11:08
Not everything that is inhomogeneously used admits a "standard answer". –  Phira Jun 2 '11 at 11:23
In spoken German, there is some tendency to avoid the direct designation. There are a lot of periphrases like wo kann man denn hier mal verschwinden etc. It sounds a bit like the speech of educated ladies. In written language it looks better than WC, Klo or Bedürfnisanstalt. –  bernd_k Jun 2 '11 at 11:28
Depends on what you want to achieve. If you simple don't want to be misunderstood, or if you want to reach the level to move unrecognized as spy. –  bernd_k Jun 2 '11 at 12:02

1 Answer 1

It's actually not exactly true that the French don't say the final e. It's pronunced very weekly, whereas in German it is pretty strong and even emphasized. Furthermore there are many Germans who would rather pronounce 'Toilette' fully germanized.

Similar words with a similar pattern of pronunciation of the ending are:

Etage/n = Stockwerk/e
Route = Strecke

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Adding to that, in the Rhine area, there is an abundance of words with French origin,, like "Trottoir", "Plumeau" (pronounced "plümmo" and stressing the first syllable), "Portemnonnaie", and last, but not least "Scheng", which is the Cologne way of saying "Jean". This name is "Hans" in German and in the area in and around Cologne, a person named "Hans" is often referred to as "Scheng". And, of course, "Tschöö" from "Adieu". -- References? None. Just 40 years of hands on experience. –  teylyn Jun 2 '11 at 12:20
Wouldn't let me edit the comment, so here goes: Trottoir = Gehweg or Bürgersteig, Plumeau = Federbett, Portemonnaie = Geldbörse –  teylyn Jun 2 '11 at 12:26
Yeah, we have a lot more French words like that in Bernese German too. Among others we also use Trottoir, Lavabo, merci, and funny creations like 'Kellöretli' for watch, coming from 'Quelle heure est il ?'. –  markus Jun 2 '11 at 12:32
>> Kellöretli -- Nice. I especially like the consonant twist at the end. Adding to my list above: There's "Eau de Cologne", of course. –  teylyn Jun 2 '11 at 12:59
Those french words are known for the older generations in Salzburg/Austria too, and when learning French I learned how many words we had in use. However they came out of use in the last 20 to 30 years. You won't find many people knowing these words aged under 40 nowadays. –  Samuel Herzog Jun 2 '11 at 18:34

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