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I'm very confused about the pronunciation of pas encore. I've always thought it was said with the liaison since it follows the rule of an ending consonant before a word beginning with a vowel. However, I often hear native French speakers say it without the liaison.

Which is correct? With or without the liaison? Or are they both correct? Do they have a different implied meaning or usage (personal/formal)?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I think both pronunciations (with liaison and without liaison) are common. Personally I use both.

With the liaison, the meaning is usually “Ce moment n'est pas encore arrivé”, that is “Not yet”. But I guess the usage varies, and the liaison could be omitted.

However when encore is distinctively stressed (Pas Encore !), the liaison is necessarily omitted… paZencore would sound so pretty weird. And in this case the meaning is most probably “Ah non, pas Encore une fois !”… “Not again!”.

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2  
Merci, I never noticed the usage distinction of "Not yet" vs. "Not again" with liaison. I think that helps.... Are there any other common examples of this sort of distinction because of liaisons? –  Bryan Denny May 31 '12 at 21:07
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@BryanDenny, it isn't the difference of meaning which influences the liaison, it is the difference of emphasis. The fact that one meaning is often associated with an emphasis and not the other shouldn't hide the root cause. –  Un francophone Jun 1 '12 at 6:57
    
@Unfrancophone Thanks, I understand :) –  Bryan Denny Jun 1 '12 at 12:29
    
How general is this rule? Does it apply to other liaison situations (that is, is the liaison often not obligatory and usually not used when the following item is stressed? –  Mitch Jun 2 '12 at 16:35
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The only times I've heard liaisons with emphasis is when the liaison itself is emphasized, i.e. in school dictations where the teacher emphasizes the liaison so that pupils don't forget a silent letter. –  Un francophone May 21 '13 at 12:06

J'ai trouvé que l'emploi des liaisons dépend du registre de langue utilisé par l'interlocuteur. C'est-à-dire, s'il adopte une langue soutenue et recherchée ou plus familière. Autrement dit, l'emploi des liaisons particulières est souvent facultatif.

I've found that the use of liaisons depends on the register employed by the speaker. That's to say if they're using a sophisticated, "elevated" tone or a more familiar one. The consequence is that liaisons are often optional.

Page sur les liaisons.

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As a rule of thumb, you could pronounce (but not obligatorily) the liaison when meaning "not yet" :

  • Il n'est pas [z] encore arrivé : he has not arrived yet
  • Je n'ai pas [z] encore fini : I'm not done yet

In these cases, the use of the liaison might sound a bit posher than without, but that quite depends on the tone too.

However, you should not pronounce the liaison when meaning "not again" :

  • Oh non, pas [ ] encore des choux de Bruxelles! : Oh no, not Brussels sprouts again!

Using the liaison in this case sounds plain weird :)

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This is one of the cases where the liaison is optional. It is sounded in careful speech or poetry, and omitted in casual speech. Sounding it in a casual context sounds stilted, while omitting it in formal contexts sounds uncouth.

Broadly speaking, most liaisons between words that aren't part of a single group of words (such as article/adjective/noun) fall in this category.

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In (casual) Canadian french, people usually pronounce the s from the liaison, so the words "flow". –  Phil Aug 20 '13 at 16:40

In most casual settings (in Belgium and France) «s» is not pronounced.

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This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. –  M42 Aug 20 '13 at 16:33

Actually, the rule would be to pronounce the liaison. Not pronouncing the liaison does not the change the meaning at all. It is just a stylistic variation and while popular and common, it goes against the rule. By the same token, the phrase "Je ne sais pas" is more commonly than not pronounced "shay pas" with the "ne" completely missing. Common on the streets and in the cafes of Paris, but unlikely ever uttered at the acadamie française.

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