I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for objects, such as, "grapes" and "raisins" whereas French only differentiates between "raisins"
ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?
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I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for objects, such as, "grapes" and "raisins" whereas French only differentiates between "raisins" ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?

We needed special words because of our national motto: "No secs please we're British".
Matti
I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for objects, such as, "grapes" and "raisins" whereas French only differentiates between "raisins" ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?

There's no system or tendency to it, and it goes in both directions, regardless of the pair of languages. In the particular case of French and English, French has "pingouin" and "manchot" where English has "penguin" and "emperor penguin", except that most people wouldn't make a point of distinguishing emperor penguins from the others in non-technical speech. French breaks owls down into two categories, "hibou" and "chouette," where ordinary English makes no distinction at all.
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Yes.
I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for ... "raisins" ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?

There's no system or tendency to it, and it goes in both directions, regardless of the pair of languages. In ... non-technical speech. French breaks owls down into two categories, "hibou" and "chouette," where ordinary English makes no distinction at all.

It's a similar owl story in Spanish, where they distingiush between lechuzas* (barn owls) and *buhos* (all other owls). They also distinguish between the first and second fig crops (*brevas* and *higos). However, as with the OP's raisins, they don't have any equivalent special word for prunes they're just "passed-it plums", while any wardrobe or cupboard (i.e. a storage space with a door) is just an armario.
Conclusion: different languages are just that different.

Ross Howard
I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for ... "raisins" ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?

There's no system or tendency to it, and it goes in both directions, regardless of the pair of languages. In ... "emperor penguin", except that most people wouldn't make a point of distinguishing emperor penguins from the others in non-technical speech.

I doubt that any two French speakers will agree with this. My 1950s Petit Larousse says that "pingouin" refers to auks and their kin (northern birds), and "manchot" is general for penguins. Another dictionary described the use of "pingouin" to refer to penguins as "abusif", so I guess some people do use it that way. But I find it hard to believe that colloquial French would have a special word for one species of penguin. Where did you get this from?
Ross Clark
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I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for objects, such as, "grapes" and "raisins" whereas French only differentiates between "raisins" ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?

I don't know the answer to your question, but I do have one observation to make on the subject: English or at least, American English now has a "dried X" version which French does not have: "dried plums," formerly "prunes." The French for "plum" is "prune" and for "prune" is "pruneau." This means that English now has the word pair "plum"/"dried plum" which matches the Esperanto "logical" pair "pruno"/"sekpruno."

In this case, "dried plum" was adopted for marketing purposes: "Prune" had too many negative connotations, I guess. So far, I don't know anyone who regularly uses "dried plum" for "prune."
A friend of mine with whom I discussed this pointed out that in Asian markets here it has long been possible to get "dried plums" imported from Asia (from China, if I remember correctly). She said that they taste very different from prunes, and wondered if any attempt is going to be made to rename them in light of the renaming of American prunes as "dried plums."

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
There's no system or tendency to it, and it goes ... of distinguishing emperor penguins from the others in non-technical speech.

I doubt that any two French speakers will agree with this. My 1950s Petit Larousse says that "pingouin" refers to ... believe that colloquial French would have a special word for one species of penguin. Where did you get this from?

Is "abusif" a faux ami? I don't see how a bird name could be caconymic.

Anyway, French doesn't even have words for toe or potato.
Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
I've noticed that English tends to have separate nouns for ... "raisins" ans "raisims secs." Is there any reason for this?

I don't know the answer to your question, but I do have one observation to make on the subject: English or ... attempt is going to be made to rename them in light of the renaming of American prunes as "dried plums."

Nu, who's calling prunes "dried plums"?

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
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