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Complete post:

Jun

05

2012

Suspect, aspect, prospect, respect

… they all look the same as in English, but watch the pronunciation!

Contrary to what we might expect, in the case of nouns, or adjectives in the masculine form, the ending -pect is pronounced like the English word 'pay'. In other words, the -ct is silent. Consider the following:

  • Cet individu a un comportement suspect.
    = That individual is behaving suspiciously. (Literally, '… has a suspicious behaviour'.)
  • La chambre de ma soeur présente un aspect désordonné.
    = My sister's bedroom has a disorganised look (about it).
  • On ne doit jamais considérer un seul aspect des choses.
    = We should never consider (just) a single aspect of things.
  • Ce rapport donne des informations concernant le non-respect des droits de l'homme dans ce pays.
    = This report provides information regarding the lack of respect for human rights in that country.
  • Les syndicats restent circonspects et rappellent les promesses non tenues.
    = The unions remain circumspect and recall the broken promises.

On the other hand, in the case of the ending -pecte (verbs, adjectives in the feminine form), the -ct is pronounced. Consider the following:

  • Ce morceau de viande dégage une odeur suspecte.
    = This piece of meat smells strange. (Literally, '… releases a suspicious smell'.)
  • La police suspecte cet homme d'avoir participé à un hold-up.
    = The police suspect this man of… (Le verbe suspecter au présent.)
  • L'arbitre tient absolument à ce que les joueurs respectent les règles du jeu.
    = The referee insists that the players respect the rules of the game.
  • La police est en train d'interroger deux femmes suspectes vues sur les lieux du crime.
    = The police are currently interrogating two (female) suspects seen at the scene of the crime.

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