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I'm pretty confused by how to make someone understand I am trying to say tué, tu or tout.

Examples:

J'ai tué mon ami. (I killed my friend.)
Tu es mon ami. (You are my friend.)
J'ai tout, mon ami. (I have everything, my friend.)

Please help.

5
  • Watch out, the first should be "J'ai tué mon ami", which is very different. And the second should be "Je t'ai".
    – Joubarc
    Aug 18, 2011 at 14:01
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    @Joubarc: I suspect that the OP was thinking of some contracted form of "je t'ai eu, mon ami".
    – Phira
    Aug 18, 2011 at 14:24
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    Good news: you'll rarely use the first sentence :)
    – user22
    Aug 18, 2011 at 15:39
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    Lorsque "J'ai tout mes amis." est prononcé par un italien mafiosi, tu ne peux pas savoir si c'est ça ou "Je tue mes amis." (If I got you confused, ignore the comment, it's a joke)
    – Tipx
    Aug 19, 2011 at 4:21
  • « Je trouve ça vraiment triste qu'il se soit tu si jeune. ». In this movie (Lepage, 1998), there's a funny scene about translation (at 1h01:26) where this is translated as ...that he killed himself at such an early age until they realize it's rather that he stopped creating.... That's one for the books and because tu is a past participle, like tué, this makes for a challenge.
    – user19187
    Jan 4, 2020 at 18:32

3 Answers 3

15

Nevertheless tu, tué and tout have all three different pronunciations.

In International Phonetic Alphabet

For the records, sounds are from Wikimédia.

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  • 2
    The sound linked for tué is closer to [tye], but indeed, in informal speech, it would be [tɥe].
    – Evpok
    Aug 18, 2011 at 15:02
  • @Evpok yes... I know. Can't find a better sample.
    – M'vy
    Aug 18, 2011 at 15:11
  • no offence meant, just a clarification for IPA or French learners. Good answer anyway.
    – Evpok
    Aug 18, 2011 at 15:17
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    I actually do pronounce "tué" just like in the sample. Can't hear what's wrong with it.
    – glmxndr
    Aug 18, 2011 at 19:04
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    I believe the other comments are alluding to something I heard somewhere else: not all accents of French turn vowels like /y/, /u/, /i/ into semivowels before inflectional suffixes such as "é." In some accents, "tué," "lié" etc. are two syllables, apparently.
    – sumelic
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:09
5

To answer your question, "u" and "ou" are pronounced differently in French. However your first two sentences are incorrect, which is probably adding to the difficulty. The first should read J'ai tué mon ami and it's not totally clear what the second is trying to say.

For a real example of somewhere this can make a difference, note the difference between Vous lavez-vous? (Do you wash yourself?) and Vous l'avez vu? (Did you see it?) or of course dessus and dessous, or cul and cou...

2

The three are pronounced differently. I don't know the IPA codes, sadly, but you can see the differences there:

You probably pronounce "tout" correctly, but "tu" is a very different sound.

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