The Circumflex

Here’s a little help with understanding French words. Sometimes there’s a little hat over a letter in a French word–côte, rôti, château, bête, etc. When French was Late Latin, there was an S there that the circumflex replaces. Put the S back in the word add you get the Norman word that came into English when the Normans conquered England in 1066. So – côte is coste (coast) rôti is rosts (roast) chateau is château (castle), bête is beste, (beast) etc. One of the reasons that English spelling is so messed up is that many of our words have been gifted through many other languages. Of course, the Poles and Czech have their own spelling mess — I don’t know anything about why those folks can’t spell.

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