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Pronunciation Chart

This is a quick reference guide to help you learn and practice the sounds of the French language.French Pronunciation Chart

CONSONANT SOUNDS

  • FRENCH SPELLING

    APPROXIMATE SOUND

    EXAMPLE

    b, d, k, l, m, n, p, s
    t, v, z
    same as in English  
    c (before e, i, y) s cinéma
    c (before a, o, u) k cave
    ç (appears only before
    a, o, u)
    s français
    ch sh chaud
    g (before e, i, y) zh in measure âge
    g (before a, o, u) g in game gâteau
    gn ny in onion agneau
    h always silent homme
    j zh in measure Jacques
    qu, final q k qui
    r pronounced in back of mouth, rolled like light gargling sound Paris
    ss s tasse
    s (beginning of word ar before/after consonant) s salle, disque, absurde
    s (between vowels) z in Zelda maison
    th t thé
    x gz in exact exact
    x ks in excellent excellent
    II (between i and e) y in yes volaille
    ll l in ill elle

 

VOWEL SOUNDS

FRENCH SPELLING

APPROXIMATE SOUND

EXAMPLE

a, à, â a in father la
é, er, ez (end of word) ay in lay thé, parler, allez
e (plus final pronounced consonant) e in met belle
è, aî e in met père, chaîne
e uh in alone Ie, lever
eu, œu (always followed by a consonant sound) uh in fur but with very rounded and loose lips leur, cœur
eu, œu (never followed by any sound) uh but with very round and tight lips feu, vœu
i ee in beet ici
i plus vowel y in yesterday lion, bien
o, au, eau, ô o in caught mot, chaud, beau, hôte
ou oo in toot vous
oi wa in watt moi
oy wa followed by a y sound croyant
u no equivalent in English -say ee, then round your lips tu, fumeurs
ui wee as in week lui

 

NASAL VOWELS

Nasal vowels are sounds produced when air is expelled from both the mouth and the nose. In French, a consonant, n or m, that follows a nasal vowel is not fully pronounced. For example, the French word on: We pronounce the nasal vowel o through the mouth and nose, but we do not sound the following consonant n.

FRENCH SPELLING

APPROXIMATE SOUND

EXAMPLE

an, en vowel in balm France
em vowel in balm emmener
in, ain, ein vowel in man fin
im, aim vowel in man faim
ien y + vowel in men bien
ion y + vowel in song station
oin w + vowel in man loin
on vowel in song bon
om vowel in song tomber
un vowel in lung un

 

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LEARNING FRENCH: RECOMMENDED BOOKS (PLEASE DISABLE ADBLOCK PROGRAMS)

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