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I'm just at elementary level of French and learning from Duolingo. I came to word which means to eat and spells mange; it should be man as in manga art & ge as in gay according to English pronunciation.

Unlike Spanish, French doesn't seem to be pronounced as it is written. Even the word chat (cat) is pronounced awkwardly.

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The 'g' is soft: softer than 'jam', more like the second 's' in persuasion.

The first vowel is not a flat a. Because it's followed by an "n" it's pronunciation is somewhere in between the English "munge", "horn", "harm".

In French the vowels change their pronunciation when followed by 'n': so "an" and "en", "in", "on", and "un" have a specific pronunciation.

The final vowel "e" in "mange" is silent (unless it has an accent like "mangé"): "mange" is a one-syllable word.

It's similar to the English word "munge" except that in English you put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth to pronounce the "n" and in French you don't: in French that "n" is mixed into the pronunciation of the preceding vowel and (like any vowel) is pronounced with the shape of the mouth rather than with the tip of the tongue: you should think of "an" as being a single letter for the purposes of pronunciation.


French doesn't seem to be pronounced as it is written.

Actually I think it is, i.e. (unlike English) you can guess the pronunciation from the spelling.

There's a trick to it though:

  • The pronunciation of vowels is changed by accents
  • You often need to consider the pronunciation of pairs of letters, for example:

    • g and c are 'hard' in front of a, o, and u; and are soft in front of e and i
    • each vowel has a different pronunciation when followed by n or m
    • maybe a few other (mostly learnable or regular) rules like that
  • Often letters (especially at the end of a word) are silent (not pronounced at all), and visibly present only in the spelling, to hint at the grammar or the etymology of the word

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it is difficult to give an equivalent of english pronunciation as the sound "an" in MANGE is not a pronunciation you have in ENglish. I would say, however, that it is quite close to the sound AN in the word "can't", but don't try to separate the N from the AN. and the "ge" is a soft syllable, which sounds very much like the last syllable of "garaGE". Hope it can help. If you go to the site LINGUEE, you will have a way to listen to a good pronunciation of the words you need.

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The exact way to pronounce the "an" vowel is like the sound of the 'o' in English word "hot" (i.e., tongue very back in the throat and mouth open), while nasalizing the sound (i.e., letting some air get out through the nose).

It is a lot simpler to analyze it this way. Apart from the nasalization, there is indeed a very close equivalent in English, as I have just commented ;)

As you point out, it is not read as spelled (like in Spanish). The sound of mANger, appears both with spelling 'an' and 'en'.

For 'an' it's always this sound, for 'en' it depends.

In this website http://pronouncefrench.net/vowels/nasalized-vowels/ there's a whole chapter explaining how nasalized vowels are pronounced and also how their pronunciation relates to spelling (when it does...). You might want to have a look.

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It is nearly impossible to answer this unless we know what your English pronunciation is like, and even then it would be difficult. In the long-run you'll find it easiest if you learn the IPA symbols and get a dictionary that uses them. Towards the endpapers of most dictionaries you can find a handy synopsis of most of the symbols.

If you were an RP English speaker I'd guess that saying "mon-jh" would be the closest, but really IPA is the way to go.

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If you are using Duolingo then there shouldn't be a problem with the pronounciation. They say it out loud for you. Tap on the word as many times as you like to hear it over and over. Also other variations of the word depending on context or plural e.g

mangeons, mangent, manges.

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