"en" in "examen" ist pronounced /ɛ̃/. Are there examples for "em"?


The characters "em" can be pronounced /ɑ̃/ (temps), /ɛm/ (totem), /əm/ (demi), /em/ (tremolos), /am/ (femme) but not /ɛ̃/.


You got a good answer from jlliagre, who did a great job at tracking the various pronunciations of ‘em’ in French.

I only want to mention a regional (Quebec) way of pronouncing certain words that contain ‘em’, though from all the examples I could find, it appears to include only cases where e comes with an accent, and the pronunciation would be /ɛ̃m/, not /ɛ̃/.

  • même /mɛ̃m/
  • blême /blɛ̃m/ (but je blêmis /ʒə blɛːmi/, nous blêmissons /nu blɛːmisõ/, etc.)
  • problème /pʁɔblɛ̃m/ (but problématique_ /pʁɔblemat͜sɪk/)
  • Carême /kaʁɛ̃m/ (but crème /kʁɛm/)

Also interesting, these are true /ɛ̃/ sounds, despite the usual realization /ẽ/ in Quebec of the French phonem /ɛ̃/.

  • There is indeed a nasalisation here in Quebec French but même is also pronounced with a diphthong, transcribed /mɛ̃ɪ̯̃m/ or /mãɪ̯̃m/.
    – jlliagre
    Apr 29 '17 at 18:04
  • @jlliagre These are indeed variations on it, though what is described in the post is the general "proper" pronunciation, that is, generally the closest you'll get from that of our European cousins. Apr 29 '17 at 22:33

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