en sweat

jamesk65

Senior Member
British English
In a news article last night about dancers at the the Paris Lido I heard a reporter say "en sweat(s) et en basket(s)". The dancers were rehearsing "...les premiers pas d'une nouvelle choreographie en sweat(s) et baskets". What struck my ear and drew my attention was the pronunciation of "sweat(s)" as /sɥit/. French pronunciation of "baskets" does actually rime with the English pronunciation of "sweat" so why don't the French just say /sɥɛt/ ? Following on and related to this, what is the gender and number of "sweat(s)" and do French people use this to describe (complete) jogging suits, track suit bottoms or sweat shirts? (there's also the "tshirt" /ʃɔʁt/ thing).
 
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  • ph_l

    Senior Member
    French de France
    I guess "sweat" is pronounced in French using the same sound as in "tea" (same letters, same sound; isn't English easy?:D

    In FR (de France), "sweats" mainly describe sweatshirts IMHO.
     

    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    Am I right in thinking the majority of French people will pronounce "sweat" as "sweet"? I imagine you wouldn't say "sweet-short" for sweat shirt: that you'd drop the word shirt?
     

    ph_l

    Senior Member
    French de France
    "sweat" is pronounced with a short 'i', not a long one like in "sweet".
    when used, "sweatshirt" is pronouced "suitcheurte".
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi,

    When I say un sweat, I pronounce it as un sweet, but when I say un sweat-shirt, I pronounce it the English way (/swet ʃɜːrt/, or rather /swet ʃəʁt/ with a French accent). I thought these were the most common pronunciations in France, but apparently Ph_l pronounce sweat-shirt differently.

    I have personaly never heard un sweat pronounced swet, or un sweat-shirt pronounced sweet-shirt. Always the other way around (come to think of it, though, sweet-shirt wouldn't really surprise me).
     
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    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks. So to be clear: "Il danse en sweat[Ø] et en baskets", no 's' and one 's' because, under normal circumstances, he is only wearing one sweatshirt and has two feet :D but "ils dansent en sweats et en baskets" because there are several dancers, athletes etc? You have to repeat "en" right?
    What about the pronunciation of the final 's ' in the plural if for example I wanted to say "I put all your sweatshirts in the laundry basket":"J'ai mis tous tes sweats dans le panier à linge", silent 's'? "Sweats et t-shirts" no liaison?
     
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    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    In English "sweats" is a general term used by sports people in a very casual way to refer to any article of clothing, top or bottom: running clothes, training clothes. He had finished his run but was still in (his) sweats.
     

    mancunienne girl

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi,

    When I say un sweat, I pronounce it as un sweet, but when I say un sweat-shirt, I pronounce it the English way (/swet ʃɜːrt/, or rather /swet ʃəʁt/ with a French accent). I thought these were the most common pronunciations in France, but apparently Ph_l pronounce sweat-shirt differently.

    I have personaly never heard un sweat pronounced swet, or un sweat-shirt pronounced sweet-shirt. Always the other way around (come to think of it, though, sweet-shirt wouldn't really surprise me).
    Oddmania.... all my friends pronounce "un sweat" as "un swet?" I had never thought about pronouncing it otherwise. I checked on a pronunciation website (French speakers) and they also pronounced it as "swet" (like in English). And it seemed the majority pronounced "sweat-shirt" as "swit-shirt". Now I am confused!:confused:
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Oddmania.... all my friends pronounce "un sweat" as "un swet?" I had never thought about pronouncing it otherwise. I checked on a pronunciation website (French speakers) and they also pronounced it as "swet" (like in English). And it seemed the majority pronounced "sweat-shirt" as "swit-shirt". Now I am confused!:confused:
    I checked on Forvo.com and they do pronounce sweat and sweat-shirt the way you described, which is the oppositve of what I'm used to! :D It just sounds uncommon to my ears. But if my pronounciation is uncommon to you and yours is uncommon to me, then I think it means you can pronounce these words the way you like ;) You'll always find people for and against it. You know, some people say à McDo and some others say au McDo. There's no real consensus about it.

    PS: According to Wiktionary, both pronunciations exist, /swit/ and /swɛt/.
     
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    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    Google translate "sweet", "suite", /swit/. To give an example of why I think a reasonably accurate pronunciation is useful/helpful : "is he wearing shorts and a t-shirt, or a short-sleeved shirt"? "Do you mean shorts or shirts"?
     
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    mancunienne girl

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Google translate "sweet", "suite", /swit/. To give an example of why I think a reasonably accurate pronunciation is useful/helpful : "is he wearing shorts and a t-shirt, or a short-sleeved shirt"? "Do you mean shorts or shirts"?
    You are right. But like I said, all my French friends say "swet". It's a bit of a controversy..... (think about how different Brits pronounce that!)
     

    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'll try it out with French natives both sides of the channel. I think younger people living in the UK, whose native language is French are more likely to say "swet", probably because they hear it more frequently. Even young French native speakers in France are likely to say "swet" if they are angophile/-phone but I'm almost certain some of my older French friends who don't speak English would say "sweet". I think there might be a generational difference.
     
    Hi, James. I think this must depend on the person speaking. I remember my Belgian neighbour who lived in France, was in her fifties, and had no idea how to speak any English, pronounced sweat as "swet" - which is correct of course!
     
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    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    My Collins Robert dictionary says /switʃœʀt/, and /switœʀ/ for sweater, and doesn't offer the the correct English pronunciation
     
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    Luluewi

    New Member
    I'm French and I'm 17 and I would definitly say "swit" even though I know it is not the right pronounciation, I would stick to "swit" anyways because that is how everyone around me says it and saying it the english way would sound kind of weird to me in a french sentence...
     
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    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is clear that in the UK there is only one way to pronounce "sweat" yet two official ways in French depending on where you live, who you mix with or who you consult. The IPA transcriptions above give the least confusing pronunciations if you can understand them... Just be careful with "sweat-shop" and "sweet shop"!
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] French pronunciation of "baskets" does actually rime with the English pronunciation of "sweat" so why don't the French just say /sɥɛt/ ? [...]
    It's perhaps not so surprising when you think that a couple of generations have had to get used to the pronunciation of "jeans" à l'anglaise (I know an elderly gentleman who still says "un jean", pronounced like the prénom Jean!). So having learnt that English <ea> is apparently pronounced as French /i/ (jeans = /dʒin/), it would seem normal to many native French speakers to pronounce "sweat" as /sɥit/ (like "suite").

    If "baskets" were written <baskeats> (matching <sweat>), or alternatively if "sweat" were written <swet> (matching <basket>), then I'm pretty sure the two words would be pronounced similarly.;)

    Ws:)
     

    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    I hadn't thought of it from this angle but it makes sense. On the other hand reforming the spelling as the Dutch and Irish have done, or following the Americans thru the dark nite wair will it leed? Im all for rolling out a pared back IPA throughout western Europe in the hope it will catch on globally.:)
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Another thought:

    We've seen discussion here of the ways "sweatshirt" is pronounced in French; but I wonder what would happen with "sweatsuit" (a bit less common, but you can find instances on the French site of a famous online retailer). Would it be /sɥitsɥit/ (like suite-suite)? :D

    Ws:)
     
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