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On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
> I don't know if the following is true, but my French teacher told me that
> monks in the past were paid by letters and therefore were adding letters to
> some words. That would explain why a lot of words have for example the
> letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau, chateau, etc.) or simply
> "au" pronounces as "o" (faux, taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux,
> taux, etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from one letter
> (balle, sale, association, etc.)

It *is* true that they added letters here and there,
but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
thirteent century.  Some were meant to approximate the
spelling to their Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.

/bpj