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Marseilles/Marseille

English translation: Marseille in both English and French

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16:33 Jun 1, 2003
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
/ spelling
French term or phrase: Marseilles/Marseille
When I learned French in the 1970's, the port city in the south of France was called spelled "Marseilles". Now it's spelled "Marseille". When did the spelling change and why?
Gregory Mehrten
United States
Local time: 12:24
English translation:Marseille in both English and French
Explanation:
If I had to translate a "modern" text on Marseille - geography or tourism or economy I would use Marseille in English - same for Lyon

Marseille is more and more used in English as well. Marseilles is considered the English spelling but, like for other names, the foreign spelling of some place names is gaining wider currency in written English

http://europa.eu.int/comm/translation/writing/style_guides/e...

General. Many place names have an anglicised form, but as people become more familiar with these names in the language of the country concerned, the foreign spelling of some place names is gaining wider currency in written English. As a rule of thumb, therefore, use the native form for geographical names except where an anglicised form is overwhelmingly common. If in doubt as to whether an anglicised form is in widespread use, use only those given in the following sections and in Annex 1.

2.28
Orthography. Recommended spellings of countries (full names and short forms), country adjectives, capital cities, currencies and abbreviations are given in the list at http://europa.eu.int/comm/translation/currencies/entable1.ht... Geographical names frequently contain pitfalls for the unwary, particularly in texts dealing with current events. Check carefully that you have used the English form, where appropriate. Examples: Belén/Bethlehem; Hong-Kong/Hong Kong; Irak/Iraq; Mogadiscio/Mogadishu; Laibach/Ljubljana; Naplouse/Nablus; Pressburg/Bratislava; Saïda/Sidon.




pour Bourth -

The origine of the name of London is a mystery (http://216.239.37.100/search?q=cache:zVqKrAeJPxQJ:www.cogs.s...

le français Douvres a au moins une certaine logique linguistique - il est basé sur le nom latin : Portus

Dubris or Dubris
Gallois : Dwfr
Cornique : Dofer
Breton : Dour; Porz Dour
Français : Douvres

Je me demande si le

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-06-03 00:46:38 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I am well aware that Marseilles and Lyons are widley used in English and are so-called English spellings, but more and more (US and UK) newspapers and magazines are dropping the \"s\"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-06-03 03:04:16 (GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Massalia est le nom d\'origine que les Grecs venus de Phocée donnèrent à la cité qu\'ils fondaient.
Massilia est le nom latin apparu beaucoup plus tard.

Massilia (latin) transformé en provençal Marselha (d\'où est issu le nom français). Marsiho est du provençal post-médiéval.

Certains disent que le \"r\" de Massalia à Marseille pourrait être une influence arabe - mars : maison, je crois.

Pas de s à ma connaissance en vieux français - je ne demande si l\'anglais ne serait pas une déformation de Marseille\'s harbour/port/city et le s serait resté comme faisant partie intégrale du mot en anglais

Nostradamus (c\'est sa ville natale - ne met pas de \"s\")

Le captif prince aux Itales vaincu
Passera Gennes par mer iusqu´à Marseille,
Par grand effort les forens survaincu,
Sauf coup de feu barril liqueur d´abeille.
Selected response from:

Jean-Luc Dumont
France
Local time: 18:24
Grading comment
Thanks to all for all the info - especially about Old French - I'm sure the final S for the singular derives from Latin. I will spell it Marseille, but not Roma for Rome!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +20Marseille (french) Marseilles (english)
Francis MARC
4 +4Marseilles = Marseille since about the time Peking was called Beijing in EnglishPeter McCavana
5 +3Marseilles (in ENGLISH) - Marseille (in FRENCH)
Maria Luisa Duarte
5 +1Marseille
mercado
3 +2History and linguisticsxxxBourth
4Marseille in both English and French
Jean-Luc Dumont


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Marseille


Explanation:
It seems like this city has always been called Marseille.
Your spelling isn't mentioned in both town histories I found.


    Reference: http://www.cogito.fr/marseill/marshist.htm
    Reference: http://www.marseille-sur-web.fr/histoire/histoire.htm
mercado
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jean-Luc Dumont
1 day4 hrs
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14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +20
Marseille (french) Marseilles (english)


Explanation:
"Marseille" has always been "Marseille" in french
The "s" added is purely english (like "Lyons" instead of Lyon")
I remember how chocked the public was many years ago in a french movie theater watching a movie subtitle written as "Marseilles"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-06-01 16:49:49 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Marseilles - ProvenceBeyond - [ Traduire cette page ]
Marseilles, Marseille, Towns and Villages in Provence and the South of France
- An informative view of the back country \'Beyond\' the French Riviera with ...
www.beyond.fr/villages/marseille.html - 16k - En cache - Pages similaires

The Map Gallery - Marseille (Marseilles)
Map of Marseille (Marseilles), France from The Gallery. ... The Map Gallery.
Marseille (Marseilles) France 43°17.08N, 5°23.10E. Previous | Next. ...
www.europa-tech.com/gallery/etgip065.htm - 37k


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Note added at 2003-06-01 17:16:13 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

***Origine du nom de la ville : Massalia

Francis MARC
Lithuania
Local time: 19:24
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 6500

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Geoffrey D Heath
2 mins

agree  3Sigma
16 mins

agree  irat56: just as LYONS (English) and LYON (French)!
17 mins

agree  Scott Horne
33 mins

agree  Susana Galilea
1 hr

agree  Will Matter
1 hr

agree  Christopher Crockett: Yes, the English have always been obcessed with the silent "s" on the end of French words, so, to keep up their Affectations of Superiority they have taken the liberty of adding final "s"s to French words which don't even have them (but should have them).
2 hrs

agree  Paul VALET
2 hrs

agree  1045: ... and don't forget to capitalize "French" and "Englisih" ...
3 hrs

agree  Aisha Maniar
3 hrs

agree  Florence B
3 hrs

agree  Yolanda Morato
3 hrs

agree  Linda Young
4 hrs

agree  roneill
10 hrs

agree  Kvasir: wow i've never noticed this.
14 hrs

agree  Rebecca Lowery
17 hrs

agree  Coquine
21 hrs

agree  Mark Nathan
1 day4 hrs

agree  Jean-Luc Dumont
1 day4 hrs

agree  reliable
1 day8 hrs
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21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Marseilles (in ENGLISH) - Marseille (in FRENCH)


Explanation:
Marseilles (in ENGLISH) - Marseille (in FRENCH)
ProvenceBeyond (Beyond the French Riviera)
Population: 800,550; Greater-Marseilles: 1,231,000

Marseilles is a Provencal city with vitality, centered around 26-century-old port, with a dynamic downtown, big parks, a medieval-village-style neighborhood, downtown shopping and wonderful seafood. If you have an "image" of Marseilles that isn't good, a visit here will be a wonderful surprise. The photo (25 k) is of the L'Escolo de la Mar; this Marseillais folk-dance group was founded in 1854 by Frédéric Mistral and his friends, making it the oldest in France.


    Reference: http://www.beyond.fr/villages/marseille.html
Maria Luisa Duarte
Spain
Local time: 18:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 636

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Scott Horne
26 mins

agree  Ségolène Neilson: I have lived there and the provençaux do not consider Marseillais as provençaux but this is another story...
5 hrs

agree  lien: marseille n'est pas en provence
16 hrs
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25 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Marseilles = Marseille since about the time Peking was called Beijing in English


Explanation:
I'm very interested in this question, partly because I live in Marseille.
As far as I can remember, the placename Marseilles became Marseille in English some time in the mid-to-late 1980s, about the time, say, when people started to use the placename Beijing in English.
I moved to Marseille in the 1980s, and I got quickly used to writing Marseille_ in English, not just because I lived here, but because I worked in an agency where the American person who edited the final translations insisted on writing Marseille_.
For what it's worth, the whole "politically correct" process of "localizing" non-English placenames was "officialized" by some UN / UNESCO conference or study and its recommendations around the early 1990s.
** Has anybody got a reference for these UN / UNESCO recommendations, please?

Also, I've been looking hard to find an up-to-date gazeteer (great word, that!) giving the "new" _and_ the old English names of non-English-speaking places & countries.
** Has anybody got a reference for such a gazeteer, please?

Interesting footnote:
"Bourth" once found out that, even in French, the name of Marseille used to be spelt "Marseilles_".
Any comment/info, Bourth?

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Note added at 2003-06-01 17:11:48 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I\'ve just realized that maybe I \"got the wrong end of the stick\".
Do you mean you remember Marseille_ being written \"Marseilles_\" in the 1970s in _French_?
In _French_, I think Marseille was written \"Marseilles_\" at a certain stage (at least by some people), and maybe Bourth can provide specific info on this.
But the name has been written Marseille_ in French for a _very_ long time, long before the 1970s, and before the 19th century.

Peter McCavana
France
Local time: 18:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 100

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  brigith: good one, Peter, indeed!
4 hrs

agree  Ségolène Neilson: I have heard about the new rule which says names of towns will stay in the vernacular which will be very difficult for Dublin which is impossible to pronounce for foreigners
5 hrs
  -> That's a good one! I always wondered when & how the old name Baile Atha Cliath was officially given the anglicized name Dublin (easier to pronounce by the Brits, & maybe it reminded them of home: it's a corruption of Dubh Linn, meaning Black Pool!)

agree  Kvasir: this is an interesting question/topic, should appear in the forum somewhere.
14 hrs
  -> Yes, I find it interesting. How do you move a topic to the forum? Any suggestions from our moderator?

agree  lien: what the old name means?
16 hrs
  -> Baile Átha Cliath means literally "Town of the Ford of the Hurdle" in Irish.
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
History and linguistics


Explanation:
In Old French, single nouns took a final S which was removed in the plural (if I remember right). At the same time, I suspect, lots of place names took final esses. Marseille(s) and Lyon(s) probably had them. The language changed and single nouns had no final S. Then the French got a case of a guilts or something, and changed the spelling of the two largest towns in that predicament. They never bothered to change the spelling of smaller towns like Nantes, Angers (or indeed Angiers, if we are to use the former English spelling), Orléans, Rennes, Béziers, Tours, Loches, Le Mans, Chartres, Louviers, Mantes, Pithiviers, Bourges, Limoges, Poitiers, the list goes on.

Being a reactionary and a stick-in-the-mud, I spell MarseilleS (and LyonS) in English.

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Note added at 2003-06-01 21:40:01 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Reims, Soissons.

What really hurts is that the French have gone and put esses at the end of ENGLISH place names such as LondreS or DouvreS, then have the nerve to tell us WE put the esses on MarseilleS!

It\'s like the English telling the Yanks THEY are speaking a deformed form of English when they say \"gotten\".

xxxBourth
Local time: 18:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 18679

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kvasir: interesting note on french towns... though according to my oxford dictionary the irregular verb "gotten" is listed as the american usage. Anyway, nothing wrong with "got" vs "gotten" or other similar verbs. Vive la difference!
9 hrs
  -> Yes, it's US usage these days, but was English (England) usage in Elizabethan times, when the Mayflower sailed.

agree  Peter McCavana: Thanks for the info. And yes, US usage rules these days. Ah, things have changed in the world, even if Britannia still waives the rules when it suits her... but we digress... (And why shoudn't we? Digression is the spice of life!)
13 hrs
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1 day6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Marseille in both English and French


Explanation:
If I had to translate a "modern" text on Marseille - geography or tourism or economy I would use Marseille in English - same for Lyon

Marseille is more and more used in English as well. Marseilles is considered the English spelling but, like for other names, the foreign spelling of some place names is gaining wider currency in written English

http://europa.eu.int/comm/translation/writing/style_guides/e...

General. Many place names have an anglicised form, but as people become more familiar with these names in the language of the country concerned, the foreign spelling of some place names is gaining wider currency in written English. As a rule of thumb, therefore, use the native form for geographical names except where an anglicised form is overwhelmingly common. If in doubt as to whether an anglicised form is in widespread use, use only those given in the following sections and in Annex 1.

2.28
Orthography. Recommended spellings of countries (full names and short forms), country adjectives, capital cities, currencies and abbreviations are given in the list at http://europa.eu.int/comm/translation/currencies/entable1.ht... Geographical names frequently contain pitfalls for the unwary, particularly in texts dealing with current events. Check carefully that you have used the English form, where appropriate. Examples: Belén/Bethlehem; Hong-Kong/Hong Kong; Irak/Iraq; Mogadiscio/Mogadishu; Laibach/Ljubljana; Naplouse/Nablus; Pressburg/Bratislava; Saïda/Sidon.




pour Bourth -

The origine of the name of London is a mystery (http://216.239.37.100/search?q=cache:zVqKrAeJPxQJ:www.cogs.s...

le français Douvres a au moins une certaine logique linguistique - il est basé sur le nom latin : Portus

Dubris or Dubris
Gallois : Dwfr
Cornique : Dofer
Breton : Dour; Porz Dour
Français : Douvres

Je me demande si le

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-06-03 00:46:38 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I am well aware that Marseilles and Lyons are widley used in English and are so-called English spellings, but more and more (US and UK) newspapers and magazines are dropping the \"s\"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-06-03 03:04:16 (GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Massalia est le nom d\'origine que les Grecs venus de Phocée donnèrent à la cité qu\'ils fondaient.
Massilia est le nom latin apparu beaucoup plus tard.

Massilia (latin) transformé en provençal Marselha (d\'où est issu le nom français). Marsiho est du provençal post-médiéval.

Certains disent que le \"r\" de Massalia à Marseille pourrait être une influence arabe - mars : maison, je crois.

Pas de s à ma connaissance en vieux français - je ne demande si l\'anglais ne serait pas une déformation de Marseille\'s harbour/port/city et le s serait resté comme faisant partie intégrale du mot en anglais

Nostradamus (c\'est sa ville natale - ne met pas de \"s\")

Le captif prince aux Itales vaincu
Passera Gennes par mer iusqu´à Marseille,
Par grand effort les forens survaincu,
Sauf coup de feu barril liqueur d´abeille.

Jean-Luc Dumont
France
Local time: 18:24
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 1108
Grading comment
Thanks to all for all the info - especially about Old French - I'm sure the final S for the singular derives from Latin. I will spell it Marseille, but not Roma for Rome!
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