French: When and why did "répondez" lose the S?

  • guillaumedemanzac

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    The MAF introduced the idea of accents to replace silent letters in the 18th century - sometimes an acute accent .... réponse = response, école = school, étienne = stephen, and sometimes a circumflex .... hôte = host, bête = beast, fête = feast, côte = coast, Île = Isle, chrétien = christian,

    this is helpful for English learners who know this "rule" .... if there is a new word with an accent try putting an "s" after the accent - rule which works 50% of the time ??? !!! more examples ..... établissement, écrivain, état, etc etc.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Français (Québec)
    You ask why it happened. I don't know exactly but it's interesting to observe that the same is happening now in some varieties of Spanish (Andalucia, Caribean, Venezuela, Chile...). It only affects the s when it is the last sound of a syllable.

    In both languages, the typical syllable is consonant + vowel.


    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    S can be very labile. In Greek, for example, word initial S debuccalized to H. In the majority of varieties of Spanish, codal S is also debuccalized or simply dropped. Word final S is also dropped in some varieties of Brazilian Portuguese. In Italian it was often palatalized (AMAS -- amai -- tu ami [you love] // CASAS [acc. pl.] -- casai -- case [houses]). It was the only sibilant from PIE, so it has a long history and has undergone many changes in all sorts of languages.