Please spell them out for me, and not link to videos, sound clips, or Google Translate. Please spell them out like in this example...

Bake = Bayk, the "ba" in "bake" rhymes with the word "bay", and the "ke" in "bake" is just the usual, pronounced "k" sound.

That is a very detailed and easy way for me to understand and remember the pronunciation of words, especially in a different language. It is very important for me to figure this out. Here are the words that I need to figure out how to pronounce...



Bon sang



Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me.

  • 5
    "Spelling out" words - as you say - is not a good way to tell you how to pronounce words for various reasons which cannot be explained in a comment, here are a few. 1- The way it will be "spelled out" depends on how the person who does it interprets it in English which might not be their mother tongue. 2- The way you interpret this "spelling out" depends on your own pronunciation of English. 3- There are sounds in French that cannot be interpreted into English because they do not exist in English. – None Sep 15 '17 at 16:28
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the way to learn how to pronounce a word in a foreign language is either to listen to it or to look at its IPA transcription. – None Sep 15 '17 at 16:31
  • As I already explained, that is, indeed, a good way for me to learn them... All you have to do is look up how words are pronounced in English the correct way, and then you have the way that it will be spelled out, and I'll understand how it's pronounced... And as for the sounds in French that "can't be interpreted into English, then be more specific, and specify the exact sounds that are necessary to pronounce the word correctly. This question is not off-topic because there is not "a way" to learn this. Like I said, my way is the way that I described... – user8611261 Sep 15 '17 at 16:48
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    The example you gave about "bake" works because all words are in English. But for most, there is no relevant correspondences. Especially for "on", "an", "in" (and most of vowels). @user8611261 be sure this can not work. – lemon Sep 15 '17 at 16:49
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    That may be understandable, but it's not accurate. There is no "y" sound in "merde," There's M, then a sound that's roughly the same as the "e" in "bet" in American English, then an "R" sound that doesn't exist in English, then D which is roughly the same as D, then nothing except in certain circumstances and/or accents. I mean, if you say "MEHRD" slowly and clearly enough people will understand you, but that's not how to pronounce "merde," that's how to mispronounce it effectively. Having said that: * ZOOT * I * BOH SAH with a bad head cold * MEHRD * MOSS with a bad head cold – Lore Sjöberg Sep 15 '17 at 17:09

Rather than let the comment thread get too messy, I'll offer an answer, though I'm also going to suggest that it's off-topic.

What people are saying is right: French has different sounds than English, even the ones that are spelled the same. If you learn a French word by reference to English sounds, it won't be French.

So understandably you've tried to master those sounds using advice like "more like th than d". I can see how that might be useful, in that you might end up pronouncing d with the tongue touching the back of the teeth where it should be. The end goal is fine.

But instead of wondering "What would a d sound like if it were more like a th?", two common approaches for self-study are either to listen to the French sound over and over and repeat it back till it sounds the same, possibly by recording yourself and playing it back — or else learn the technical names for things, in this case a "dental stop".

The advantage of these approaches is that you have a reference point and a model, and also, once you've learned how to make that sound you don't need a new word explained from scratch.

However, if you want a shortcut and aren't interested in mastering the French sounds, I suggest starting from an English word and tweaking it instead of going sound by sound. Here, I'd start with bared with an m: "mared". Easy enough. If you want to improve the accuracy, try for the back-of-the-throat French r (for which there's no English equivalent, by the way); the d with the tongue touching the back of the teeth; and a little puff of air after the d for extra emphasis, not required.

At the end of the day it depends how accurate you want to get. If you want a quick and easy version based on English, say "mared". If you want an accurate pronunciation, take the time to learn the accent or the system rather than, to make an analogy, buying flea market knockoffs. :)

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  • Well, thank you for the information... Like I said, it's not off-topic, but whatever... I'll figure this out some place else, then... – user8611261 Sep 15 '17 at 17:50
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    @user8611261 StackExchange terminology is kind of vague for my tastes. The label "off-topic" also covers "not a question that really advances learning, even though it's on the topic of French language and learning". I realize you'd disagree with that assessment too, but hopefully it's less bizarre than "off-topic". – Luke Sawczak Sep 15 '17 at 18:36
  • "not a question that really advances learning even though they're on the topic of French language and learning" is also invalid, because, like I said a hundred times already, this method does advance learning for me, so it's practically just as bizarre... – user8611261 Sep 15 '17 at 18:38
  • @user8611261 Hopefully without rehashing too much or sounding critical, from our perspective as French learners and speakers, what you gain from that exercise doesn't contribute much to a complete understanding of French. I mean, maybe it'll be a step to eventually getting the true French sounds, and you'll be able to generalize to other words. But it feels like learning to play Chopsticks with one finger before starting piano. It could work fine and you could learn Chopsticks, but you'd probably have to unlearn it when you decide to take lessons. – Luke Sawczak Sep 15 '17 at 18:46
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    @user8611261 We certainly do want to help, but we disagree on what helping looks like. Believe me, we go to much greater lengths to answer questions with little or no external motivation. :p But you can absolutely disagree with our way of seeing it and get another kind of help. And please feel welcome to keep asking questions in the hopes that some of them stick. Sorry this turned out negatively and all the best with your French learning. – Luke Sawczak Sep 15 '17 at 20:12

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