The pronunciation of French (2023)

It is impossible to learn the adequate pronunciation of a language in a book, or an article such as this one. Only voice recordings, or many months with a good teacher can give you the correct sounds to imitate. The present article aims to give you a systematic, though not scientific presentation of French pronunciation to help you understand why you have difficulties with certain sounds and hopefully to help you solve them. Specifically, it points out subtle differences in the pronunciation of certain French and English sounds that can seem identical to the untrained ear but contribute to give you the foreign "accent" that people claim to love.

Remember that, contrary to English, French has very definite vowel and consonant sounds that, as far as you are concerned, are not negotiable. Of course there is a "tolerance" in each sound, which allows for individual and regional differences. But the limits are very narrow. If you don't want an "accent", aim for perfection.

If you don't have an adequate voice source of French pronunciation and would like a reference you can go back to occasionally, you can ask a native French-speaker to record for you the "practice words" listed throughout this article. Make sure they leave spaces on the tape so you can repeat the sounds you hear. If you have a choice, use a person of your own sex, possibly urban (middle size towns are best), from the North of France. In principle, Ile-de-France is best, but not necessarily Paris, where "fashions"come and go. Of course French-born, trained teachers of French are the ideal, no matter where they come from.

Before we start, it is important to distinguish between "spelling" and "sound". Like English, but unlike Spanish and Italian, French is not necessarily written at is is spoken. When we refer for example to the "an" sound (nasal a), we mean a sound that can be written as "an", "en", "aon", "ent", "ant", "ens", "ans" etc.

For proper rendering of some phonetic characters (IPA) in this page, a suitable Unicode font must be used. The default font here is Lucida Grande. Lucida Sans Unicode and Helvetica are replacement fonts. If your computer does not have any of these three fonts, the phonetic characters may not show correctly.

VOWELS

French has sixteen vowel sounds.

"A" SOUNDS

Open a — IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) representation: a (normal "a")
This is the most open sound in French. It is possibly thesound you make when the doctor says to open as wide as you can. The closestEnglish sound is the "a" in "hat". But you have to be aware that "hat" endswith an "e" sound (as in "get") that has to be eliminated in French. [You don'tbelieve me ? Then why do some foreigners, notably Germans, pronounce "het"? It's because it isthe sound that they recognize in that word. The open "a" sound is unfamiliar tothem.] Give a short, sharp sound. This is the usual "a" in French. Normally,you do not pronounce "a" as in "father" (the "closed a"). Exampleof "open a": "patte" (the leg of an animal).

PRACTICE OF "OPEN A"
patte - sac - madame - gare. Papa est capable.

Closed a — IPA representation: ɑ (an "a" similar to a script "a").
This is similar to the "a" in "father", the Italian "a" and the Spanish "a".In spelling it often has the circumflex accent or is followed by an "s". Example of "closed a": "pas"(step). (Note: in some areas of France, or with some French-speaking individuals, "patte" and "pâte" are pronounced almost identically).

PRACTICE OF "CLOSED A"
pâte (circumflex on "a") - bas - pas - tas. Ne casse pas les noix.

Nasal a — IPA representation: ɑ̃ (closed "a" with a tilde).
This sound, often represented by "an", is the nasal version of the "closed a". In other words, you have to make sure you pronounce the"closed a" correctly first. Just remember there is no "n" in it. It's like you began to say "n" and didn't finish it. Example: the "en" in "pente" (incline, hill).

PRACTICE OF "NASAL A"
pente - banc - lent - temps. Cet enfant apprend lentement.

"E" SOUNDS

Mute e ("e muet") — IPA symbol: ə (an upside down "e").
It is called "mute" because frequently, it is not pronounced. This usually presents no difficulty to speakers of English. It is similar to the famous "uh, uh" of hesitant public speakers. Speakers of Italian or Spanish will oftenpronounce it as their own "e" (similar to "get"). This is totally unacceptable.

So, when is it mute and when is it pronounced? Many foreign speakers of French tend to exaggerate the elimination of the "mute e". They mow them down like they were dangerous enemies. When in doubt, pronounce it. You'll never be wrong. On the other hand, if you twist your mouth to avoid it, you'll only attract attention to your inabilities.

In general, you should pronounce the "mute e", to avoid the clash of consonnant sounds that don't blend easily with each other. Also, you should always pronounce the "mute e" a the beginning of a sentence or a phrase, in other words after a pause. "Serez-vous là ?" (The first "e" should be pronounced). On the otherhand "Vous serez là ?" is pronounced "Vous s'rez là ?".

What happens when two or more "mute e's" follow each other? The rule is: Pronounce the first one and every other one after that. Example: "Je ne serai pas là" is pronounced "Je n'serai pas là."

(Video) Learn French Pronunciation in 12 Minutes

Finally, the more colloquial the language, the less "mute e's" we pronounce. In poetry and song, most of the "mute e's" are pronounced, or at least counted as syllables.

PRACTICE OF "MUTE E"
premier - genou - petit. Le menu de mercredi. Je n(e) le r(e)verrai plus.

Closed e — IPA symbol: e (regular printed "e").
Usually represented by "e" with an acute accent (slanted [ascending] toward the right: é). Some books would like us to believe that this is pronounced like "ay" in English. This is misleading. The "ay" sound in English is actually a diphthong, composed of something close to "e acute" followed by a "y" sound. If you can eliminate the "y" sound in "day" you'll have something close to the French word "dé" ("e acute") meaning "thimble" or "playing die". Again a short, sharp sound, not prolonged.

PRACTICE OF "CLOSED E"
été - nez - céder. J'ai décidé de parler.

Open e — IPA symbol ɛ (like Greek "epsilon" or an "m" on its side).
It is usually represented by "e grave" ("e" accent grave [descending] toward the right: è) or "e circumflex" ("e accent circonflexe": ê). This is pretty much the equivalent of the English "e" in "get". Example: "mer" (sea), "mère" (grave on first "e") (mother), "maire" (mayor), all pronounced the same way. Also: "arrêt" (stop).

PRACTICE OF "OPEN E"
bec - palais - père - tête. Une belle semaine chez la reine.

Nasal e — IPA symbol: ɛ̃ (the "open e" with a tilde).
This is usually represented by "in", but it does not belong with the "i", since it is the nasal equivalent of"open e". To get it right, pronounce "mais" (but) then nasalize it. What youshould get is "main" (hand). This sound is represented by many spellings beside"in". Examples: "bain" (bath), "bien" (well), "rein" (kidney), "rien" (nothing).

PRACTICE OF "NASAL E"
train - loin - demain - teint - Lucien peint tous les matins.

"I" SOUND

There is only one "i" sound — IPA symbol: i

Books often tell you to pronounce it like English "e". Again, English "e" is a diphthong. Pronounce only the first part of it, make it short and sharp. If you can pronounce a very short "meet" without saying "mit", then you'll be close to the French "mite" (moth).

PRACTICE OF "I"
ici - lime - bise - site. Voici la liste des victimes.

"O" SOUNDS

Closed o — IPA symbol: o (regular o).
This is the "Oh!" of a surprised reaction. Again, be careful, because English "o" is a diphthong, ending in a "u" or "w"sound. (There is a reason for the "w" in "row" !) It is most often represented in French by "au" or "eau". Also by "o circumflex". If you can pronounce the "bow" in "bow and arrow" without the "w", then you're pretty close to the French "beau" (beautiful, pretty). If you say "rose" in French, don't pronounce it "Ro-ooze" as you would in English. Make it snappy.

PRACTICE OF "CLOSED O"
Beau - mot - côte. Le veau est trop chaud.

Open o — IPA symbol: ɔ (an o that is open on the left hand side).
Most French "o's" are open. Few speakers of American English are familiar with this sound. The "o" in "hot" as pronounced by some Southern British speakers is close to it.

If you can pronounce a short "paw", you're on the way to saying "pomme" (apple).

PRACTICE OF "OPEN O"
pomme - octobre - fort. Nicole porte une robe à la mode.

Nasal o — IPA symbol: õ (open o with a tilde).
This is the nasal form of "open o". It is usually represented by "on". Once you're good with "pomme", try "pont" (bridge). Don't pronounce the "n" or the "t".

(Video) FRENCH PRONUNCIATION basics : the vowels

PRACTICE OF "NASAL O"
pont - long - rond. La maison de mon oncle.

"OU" SOUND

Ou — IPA symbol: u
This is Italian or Spanish "u", often represented by the English "oo" in "boot". But again this is not a pure sound in English. A quick "Boo!" is quite close. Example: "cou" (neck).

PRACTICE OF "OU"
cou - moule - douze. Il joue aux boules dans la cour.

"U" SOUND

French u — IPA symbol: y
Same as German "ü" (with dieresis umlaut) or Swedish "y". The position of the mouth is the same as for "ou", but the tongue pushes against the lower teeth. It is the position for whistling. There is no tolerance possible here. Either you have it or you don't. "Ou" is unacceptable. Example: "lune" (moon).

PRACTICE OF "FRENCH U"
lune - pure - buste. Une vue sur la rue.

"EU" SOUNDS

Closed eu — IPA symbol: ø (an o split by a diagonal bar).
Same as German "ö" with dieresis. No English equivalent. Mouth is in a position similar to that for "French u", but slightlymore open. Example: "feu" (fire).

PRACTICE OF "CLOSED EU"
deux - jeu - pneu. Les peureux sont malheureux.

Open eu — IPA symbol: œ (oe ligature).
No English equivalent. However, the vowel sound in the word "purr" as pronounced by educated speakers of Southern England and parts of New England and Manhattan seems to be close. If you are careful to eliminate the final vowel sound that poses as an "r" and replace it with a French "r" (see below), you could possibly achieve "peur" (fear). The shape of the mouth is similar to that used to pronounce "open o". The sound approaches "mute e", but it is more open. Example: "seul" (alone).

PRACTICE OF "OPEN EU"
peur - seul - feuille - heure. L'œil de ma sœur. L'œuf et le bœuf.

Nasal eu (=un) — IPA symbol: œ̃ (oe ligature with a tilde).
This is always represented by "un" or "um". If you learn to pronounce "open eu", this should come easier. No English equivalent. In Paris, you often hear this sound pronounced as ɛ̃ "in" ("nasal e"), but this trend should be discouraged. Example: "chacun" (each). See: "quatre nasales" (in French).

PRACTICE OF "NASAL EU" (="UN")
aucun - brun - lundi. Un parfum pour chacun.

CONSONANTS

Many French consonants are said to be pronounced as in English. However, in actual fact, this is rarely the case, especially at the beginning of a syllable. The English and French methods of forming a syllable are different. In French, you get your mouth in position before you produce the sound. In English, you form your mouth as you produce the sound. In French, this results in a softer, smoother "attack", whereas English initial consonants have an "explosive" quality. For example the "p" in French "patte" (leg of an animal) is much softer than the "p" in English "pat", where you'd think an "h" had been introduced between the "p" and the "a". Try forming the "p" before you actually say it.

This being said, we'll deal only with those consonants that are pronounced "differently" in French.

"d","t", "l", "n"
In French, the tongue is applied to the back of the upper front teeth, whereas in English the tongue is much farther back, which gives the English "t" and "d" an "aspirate" quality, the "l" a "gargled" quality and the "n" a certain je ne sais quoi. Examples: "toux" (cough), "doux" (soft, mild),"lac" (lake), "non" (no).

PRACTICE OF "T", "D", "L", "N"
toux - doux - lac - non. Toutes tes tantes. Donne deux dollars. La lune luit longtemps. Le notaire note les noms.

(Video) French Pronunciation Practice (with a REAL French speaker)

"s" and "z"
Speakers of English (and many speakers of French) keep the tip of the tongue close to, but not touching the back of the upper front teeth. The recommended French way is to keep the tip of the tongue pushing against the back of the <lower> front teeth. This gives a slightly less sibilant "s", but needs a lot of practice, as it tends to turn to a lisp. Examples: "soleil" (sun); "gaz" (gas). Note that "s" between two vowel sounds is pronounced "z". Example: "maison" (house).

"s" is a voiceless consonant, "z" is the corresponding voiced consonant.

PRACTICE OF "S" AND "Z"
Selon Sara, seule sa sœur sort. J'ai choisi des roses et des azalées.

"ch" and "j" — IPA symbols:
for the "ch": ʃ (an elongated "s" or, if you wish, an "f" without the bar);
for the "j": ʒ (a "z" shaped like a "three").
The "ch" is similar to English "sh", as in "shot". The "j" is similar to English "s" in "Asia".

"j" is the voiced version of the "ch" consonant.

PRACTICE OF "CH" AND "J"
Charles est chanteur de charme. Je joue avec Jean et Jacques.

Two problem consonants

gn — IPA symbol: ñ ("n" with a tilde).
This is equivalent to the italian "gn" and to the Spanish ñ. No corresponding English sound. What it is not:"ny" or "y": "compagnon" is not pronounced "companyon" or "compayon". Some people have obtained results by practicing the pronunciation of "oignon" (onion), (pronounced as if it were spelled "ognon"): say "ong" as in Hong Kong and immediately add "yon".

PRACTICE OF "GN"
agneau - beignet - champagne. Sa compagne a gagné sur toute la ligne.

Velar r — IPA symbol: ʀ (a small capital "R").
When a native speaker of French hears a person who otherwise speaks perfect French, mispronounce his "r's", the result is bewilderment, then irritation. The English "r", especially as pronounced in North America is a foreign as you can get in French. This is not negotiable. Get it straight and get it now. Here is some help. The modern French "r" (theParisian or velar r) is produced by having air from your lungs vibrate against the palate. It sound somewhat like the noise you make when trying to dislodge a fish-bone from your throat.

However, this does not happen in the throat (as in some other languages). The velar "r" happens along the palate and it happens at different places, according to the vowel it accompanies. In this, it is similar to the sound "k". Pronounce "k" with different French vowels: ka, ko, ke, ki, ku. You will see that the impact of the air moves from the back to the front of the palate. As it turns out, the "r" is pronounced at the same place on the palate as the "k".

So to acquire the correct pronunciation of "r", pronounceit together with "k". Say "ka-ra" (feel both letters at the same place). Thenpractice it with other vowels: ko-ro, ke-re, ki-ri, ku-ru, kou-rou, kan-ran,kin-rin, kun-run, kon-ron, keu-reu. Then try ak-ra, ek-re, ik-ri, uk-ru,ouk-rou, ank-ran, etc.

It can take some time before you get it, but it is absolutely essential. If you can pronounce the "trilled r" (Italian or Spanish "r"), this is more acceptable than the English "r", but it is considered dialectical and linked in comedy to backward farmers.

PRACTICE OF "R"
air - rang - rare - entre - quatorze. Pierre creuse trois trous.

LENGTH OF SYLLABLES

Some vowel-consonnant combinations produce a distinctly long sound. I don't think it would be helpful to go into this question here. However, let me point out that, when both the consonants and the vowels are pronounced properly, the length has to come out right. Just don't feel akward about it. It sounds good to a French ear. Examples: the "o" in "rose"; the "a" in "gare"; the "in" in "cinq"; the "an" in "France". Under the IPA system, long vowels are followed by a colon (:).

PRACTICE OF "LENGTH"
rose - gare - cinq - France. Onze lampes rouges.

FRENCH WORD STRESS.

A common defect among non-native speakers is treating every French word as if it had an accent of its own. (I am talking about wordstress of course, not diacritical marks). It is commonplace to hear that French words are stressed on the last syllable. This is false. As a matter of fact, French speaking people don't even know what "word stress" is, because there is no such thing in French. The fact of the matter is, voice modulations that could be interpreted as stress are used in French only at the end of a phrase and are always followed by a pause.

(Video) How to Pronounce France in French? | Native Speaker Country Pronunciation

If I say: "Le bébé de ma sœur a eu une mauvaise grippe la semaine dernière", the only real stress, within the sentence, will be on "sœur" because there is normally a pause between subject and verb.
Le bébé de ma sœur...
Secondary "stresses" might be felt at the end of "bébé" and "grippe". Now the normal way for an English-speaking person would be to say: Le beBE de ma SŒUR a EU une mauVAISE GRIPPE la seMAINE derNIERE. That's because English stresses every two or three syllables as in U -ni- V E R - si- TY. In French "L'université de Montreal" has only one stressed syllable: AL. In a word, syllables are "stressed" only before a pause.

I know that this may sound somewhat pedantic (and totally new even to native French speakers), but unless you learn French as a child, there is no way you will pick this up intuitively. And thank God, there are people who want to be as correct as they possibly can.

LIAISON (Linking)

As in the case of the mute "e", this is an area where non-native speakers tend to exaggerate. Outside of the "obligatory" liaisons, native speakers use very few of them. We refer you to specialized works for acomplete treatment of this subject. A good summary is to be found in the recent editions of "Le bon usage"by Maurice Grevisse, as revised by Andre Goose. See paragraphs 41-50. Just remember these cases whereliaison is not proper:

after a singular noun: sujet intéressant (don't pronounce the "t" of "sujet") - after "-es" in the second person singular: Tu portes un livre (pronounced "portun")

after the word "et": Pierre et Alain (don't pronounce the "t" of "et")

before an "aspirate h": Les Halles (do not pronounce the "s" of "les"). Of course, the real aspirate "h" has disappeared from pronunciation. But the habit of avoiding the liaison has remained. How do you know whether an "h" is aspirate or not? Look it up, making sure you understand how your dictionary identifies it.

Wikipedia has a complete list in French or English of the French words beginning with an aspirated h.

Appendix
NOTES ON FRENCH AS SPOKEN IN CANADA.

Just as there are differences between British and American (or other kinds of) English, as well as between Iberian and non-Iberian Spanish, there are differences between French as spoken in Europe and French as spoken in Canada. These differences relate to vocabulary, pronunciation and intonation and they increase as the level of speech goes down from the "very formal" through the "colloquial" to the "vulgar". (My remarks here do not apply to French as spoken by persons of Acadian descent).

The "standard" of educated French speech in Canada is generally accepted to be reflected in the news broadcasts of the French arm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (SRC or Société Radio-Canada). Some differences in pronunciation are:

1) the introduction of an "s" sound after the sound of "t" preceding "i" or "u": tu = tsu, partie = partie - partsie

2) the introduction of a "z" sound after the sound of "d" preceding "i" or "u": disons = dzisons, duplex = dzuplex

3) differences in the quality of nasal vowels, which are difficult to describe here

Some differences in vocabulary relate to different realities. Thus the Canadian "débarbouillette", meaning "face-cloth" (from "se débarbouiller", to wash up) replaces "gant de toilette", which is actually a "glove" that you wash with. Quebecers invented the macho sport of snowmobiling (motoneige) so they feel entitled to name it. (Notwithstanding the dictionaries, the European French media seem to call it "scooter des neiges", something for young grandmothers, no doubt).

Other vocabulary habits have been influenced by English. Thus the frequent use of a rare French word: "dispendieux" to mean "expensive", where "cher" would be sufficient. But there is a major difference between the attitude of Europeans and Canadians to the use of words borrowed from the English. Whereas in Europe, use of English has snob-appeal, in Canada, it is perceived as a sign of ignorance. This is because English words were first spread by factory workers who had learned them from their English bosses.

A word of warning. Please don't feel you have to "adapt". You are not expected to, and in fact it can be resented as being patronizing or "talking down". Most of all, don't you give any credence to the list of "Canadianisms" or "Quebecisms" you might find in guidebooks. Very often they are not understood even by the locals!

Prepared by Robert Dickey, Writing, translation, advertising consultant
robdick12@hotmail.com
All rights reserved

FAQs

How is the French a pronounced? ›

The pronunciation of the letter 'A' in French is fairly straightforward. It is usually pronounced more or less like the 'A' in "father," but with the lips wider in French than in English: listen. An 'A' with the accent grave à is pronounced the same way.

Is the T in French silent? ›

Pronouncing the French Letter 'T'

The letter 'T' in French is fairly straightforward as it is pronounced more or less like the English 'T. ' The difference is that in French, it is pronounced with the tongue against the upper teeth, rather than behind them, as in the English T.

Is the E in French silent? ›

French letter silent E

In French, -e is the most common silent letter that you will encounter. It is also the only vowel that isn't always pronounced. When the letter –e placed at the end of a word is after a consonant, it is not pronounced.

Is French easy to pronounce? ›

The French language tends to be difficult to pronounce at first because there are simply sounds that native English speakers aren't used to making. To begin with, French is more evenly stressed. This means that while some parts of a word are stressed, it's not as distinct as in English.

What is the å sound? ›

Historically, the å derives from the Old Norse long /aː/ vowel (spelled with the letter á), but over time, it developed into an [ɔː] sound in most Scandinavian language varieties (in Swedish and Norwegian, it has eventually reached the pronunciation [oː]).

Why do French not say r? ›

French R Vs Spanish R

The French R sound is produced at the back of the mouth, where you'll pronounce the G of “get” in English. In France, the French R is never the Spanish rolled R, nor is it the very guttural Spanish J as in Jesus.

Why does French have no W? ›

French Language Doesn't Have Any Words With the letter “W”

If you find a French word with “w” in it, it's only because it's a borrowed or loaned word from a different language. For instance, Wifi, WC, and web design all the words are taken from English.

What accent is é? ›

É is a variant of E carrying an acute accent; it represents an /e/ carrying the tonic accent.

How is ə pronounced? ›

It is similar to the /i:/ sound, but it is shorter /ə/ not /ɜ:/. To produce the ə sound put your tongue in the middle and in the centre of your mouth and make a short voiced sound.

Does Ë exist in French? ›

French. Ë appears in words like French Noël. Like in Dutch, it is used to indicate that the vowel should not be monophthonged. For example, Noël is pronounced [nɔɛl], whilst Noel would be pronounced [nœl].

Does French have the letter K? ›

The French alphabet is based on the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, uppercase and lowercase, with five diacritics and two orthographic ligatures. The letters ⟨w⟩ and ⟨k⟩ are rarely used except in loanwords and regional words.

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

1. Mandarin. As mentioned before, Mandarin is unanimously considered the most difficult language to master in the world! Spoken by over a billion people in the world, the language can be extremely difficult for people whose native languages use the Latin writing system.

What is the easiest French word? ›

Basic French words at a glance

Bonjour. Hello. Merci. Thank you. Merci beaucoup.

How much English is French? ›

About 45% of the English vocabulary originates from the French language.

What is this ø called? ›

The name of this letter is the same as the sound it represents (see usage). Among English-speaking typographers the symbol may be called a "slashed O" or "o with stroke".
...
O with slash
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabet
Language of originContested
Phonetic usage[ø] [œ] [ʏ] [yo] [oe]
11 more rows

What noise does ô make? ›

Pronouncing the closed “ô” sound in Portuguese

The IPA for this sound is /o/. It's a close, back vowel with rounded lips.

What is the a called? ›

The Letter Ä With Two Dots Is an Umlaut. If you've ever wondered what those two dots above an “ä” are about, they're generally called umlauts. Particularly common in German, they're used to modify the suggested pronunciation of the letter a.

Which letter is silent in French alphabet? ›

In French, the letter h is always silent.

What is Ø in French? ›

The [ø] is a typical French vowel: you pronounce it by pursing your lips, as if you were blowing the candles out on a birthday cake. Many French sounds are pronounced at the front of the mouth, lips rounded and pursed, and your tongue curled.

What is c called in French? ›

A cedilla is a symbol that is written under the letter 'c' in French, Portuguese, and some other languages to show that you pronounce it like a letter 's' rather than like a letter 'k'. It is written ç.

How can I learn French fast? ›

10 tips to learn French fast
  1. Watch films. Watching films in French with French subtitles is one of the best ways to learn. ...
  2. Learn with songs. ...
  3. Read. ...
  4. Find a partner. ...
  5. Don't be scared to try and make mistakes. ...
  6. Listen! ...
  7. Practice. ...
  8. Sign up for an intensive course.
12 Aug 2016

What is the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Why does French sound so good? ›

Euphony, a rule of harmony. Another reason why people find FRench language charming is the intonation. French language has an ardent dedication to “euphony” or the quality of sounding harmonious. There are rules to make sure that French always sounds like a song or an old fashioned drama.

Does French have Ö? ›

The French variant of ö is written down as the ligature œ. Words such as œvre (“work”), cœur (“heart”) or œil (“eye”) reproduce the exact same sound as ö in German (a handy tip and a great incentive for French natives learning German).

What does E mean in English? ›

It is usually used to denote long "e" or the middle tone of "e".

How do you pronounce æ? ›

To make the /æ/ sound:

Position your tongue low in your mouth, and shift it toward the front. The muscles of your lips and mouth should be relaxed. Vibrate your vocal cords with your mouth in this position. This vowel is made lower in the mouth than the /ɛ/ vowel.

What does a sound like? ›

Pronouncing the umlaut Ä

The short Ä is pronounced like the “e” in the word “bet” in English. It is like saying “eh”. The long Ä on the other hand is simply taking the short one and keeping the sound, so making it longer. It is like saying the “ay” in “say”.

Is stripe a silent e? ›

A VCe syllable pattern ends in silent e, which makes the vowel before it a long sound (say its name). Examples include stripe, shine, bake.

What is the i called? ›

Í, í (i-acute) is a letter in the Faroese, Hungarian, Icelandic, Czech, Slovak, and Tatar languages, where it often indicates a long /i/ vowel (ee in English word feel).

Why is w called Double U? ›

Q: Why is the letter “w” called “double u”? It looks like a “double v” to me. A: The name of the 23rd letter of the English alphabet is “double u” because it was originally written that way in Anglo-Saxon times. As the Oxford English Dictionary explains it, the ancient Roman alphabet did not have a letter “w.”

What language is ç from? ›

Ç or ç (C-cedilla) is a Latin script letter, used in the Albanian, Azerbaijani, Manx, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Kurdish, Zazaki, and Romance alphabets. Romance languages that use this letter include Catalan, French, Friulian, Ligurian, Occitan, and Portuguese as a variant of the letter C with a cedilla.

Why can't The French say the H? ›

The letter h is not pronounced in French. This letter is a consonant and it doesn't make any sound. Therefore, words that start with the letter h, such as honneur, hiver, and hier, are pronounced without the sound h.

What is â Kiwi in French? ›

noun. [ masculine ] /kiwi/ (petit fruit) petit fruit exotique vert.

Does the letter Z exist in French? ›

The letter 'Z' in French is pronounced like the 'Z' in English: listen. That's simple enough, but there's one twist to the 'Z' in French as it can also be a silent letter. This occurs in almost every instance in which the 'Z' appears at the end of a word.

What is oldest language in the world? ›

1. Egyptian – 2690 BC (circa. 4700 years old) The first known language ever was a proto-language on the African continent, and the first known proto-writing system was created in Nigeria. So, it is perhaps no surprise that the oldest language on this list is also from and used in Africa – Egyptian.

Which language has most words? ›

Korean includes many words of Chinese origin, and borrows words from English and other languages as well. Still, it's a stretch to say that Korean has the most words of any language in the world because one of its dictionaries has over a million headwords.

What is the most talked language in the world? ›

1. English (1,132 million speakers) According to Ethnologue, English is the largest language in the world for both native and non-native speaker. Like Latin or Greek at the time, English is the universal language of today.

What is a famous French saying? ›

Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup.

Literal translation: “Eat well, laugh often, love a lot.” Actual meaning: “Live life to the fullest” or carpe diem (“seize the day”). Use this positive French saying to console a friend that is having a hard time.

What are 3 greetings in French? ›

The most important French greetings include bonjour (hello), enchanté(e) (nice to meet you), bonsoir (good evening/hello), salut (hi), coucou (hey), Ça fait longtemps, dis donc (long time no see), Âllo (hello), Ça va? (how are you?), tu vas bien? (have you been well?), quoi de neuf? (what's up?), au revoir!

What is the most popular French word? ›

The most commonly used words in French are: Oui (yes), non (no), merci (thank you), je (I), tu/vous (you), le/la/les (the), un, une des (a, an and some), le/la/les (it, them), et (and) and mais (but).

Is French a rich language? ›

French is a rich language. What you learn at school or use when writing is often very different from daily spoken French, in France or in another French-speaking country.

Is French hard for English? ›

The FSI scale ranks French as a category I language, considered more similar to English compared to categories III and IV hard or super-hard languages. According to the FSI, French is one of the easiest languages to learn for a native English speaker.

Is English 50% in French? ›

However, here are some interesting facts: 58% of words in modern English have Latin and French origins. 29% of words in modern English have entirely French origins. English and French have 170,000 true cognates, similar or same words with identical meanings in both languages.

What sound does å make? ›

Å is pronounced like the English O in “or,” the Swedish Ä sounds almost like the word “air” in English, and Ö has a similar pronunciation to the [er] sound in the word “her.”

What sound does ä make? ›

Pronouncing the umlaut Ä

The short Ä is pronounced like the “e” in the word “bet” in English. It is like saying “eh”. The long Ä on the other hand is simply taking the short one and keeping the sound, so making it longer. It is like saying the “ay” in “say”.

What is ā in French? ›

The preposition à is generally summarized as "to, at, or in," but it has quite a few more meanings and uses than that. When à is followed by the definite article le or les, the two words must contract. le. les.

What is this letter i? ›

It is usually used to denote long "i" or the middle tone of "i".

What is Ä in English? ›

Ä or ä is one of the 4 extra letters used in German. It can be replaced by using the letters Ae or ae. In English language newspapers it is often written as A or a but this is not correct. Ä and ä are usually pronounced like the "e" in "bed".

What is a á called? ›

Á, á (a-acute) is a letter of the Chinese (Pinyin), Blackfoot, Czech, Dutch, Faroese, Galician, Hungarian, Icelandic, Irish, Lakota, Navajo, Occitan, Portuguese, Sámi, Slovak, Spanish, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Western Apache languages as a variant of the letter a.

What is this oː called? ›

The name of this letter is the same as the sound it represents (see usage). Among English-speaking typographers the symbol may be called a "slashed O" or "o with stroke".
...
O with slash
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabet
Language of originContested
Phonetic usage[ø] [œ] [ʏ] [yo] [oe]
11 more rows

How do I type the letters å ä oː? ›

Å = Hold down the Option and Shift keys and type an a. ä = Hold the Option key and type a u, release the keys, and type an a. Ä = Hold the Option key and type a u, release the keys, hold down the Shift key and type an a. ö = Hold the Option key and type a u, release the keys, and type an o.

Was sound does oː make? ›

– “ö” as in blöd is like an English person saying “burn” Make the sound “a” as in the word “may” and then make your lips into an “o” shape.

Why does German have ß? ›

In German orthography, the letter ß, called Eszett (IPA: [ɛsˈtsɛt] ess-TSET) or scharfes S (IPA: [ˌʃaʁfəs ˈʔɛs], lit. "sharp S"), represents the /s/ phoneme in Standard German when following long vowels or diphthongs. The name Eszett combines the names of the letters of ⟨s⟩ (Es) and ⟨z⟩ (Zett) in German.

How is Ə pronounced? ›

It is similar to the /i:/ sound, but it is shorter /ə/ not /ɜ:/. To produce the ə sound put your tongue in the middle and in the centre of your mouth and make a short voiced sound.

How is æ pronounced? ›

To make the /æ/ sound:

Position your tongue low in your mouth, and shift it toward the front. The muscles of your lips and mouth should be relaxed. Vibrate your vocal cords with your mouth in this position. This vowel is made lower in the mouth than the /ɛ/ vowel.

What's a boy in French? ›

Wiktionary: boy → garçon, gars, boy, jeune homme.

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