I already read this

Why isn't a nasalised vowel used for "divin" here?

answer, but I felt like I needed a more complete answer.

I know that some nasal vowel at the end of words are denasalized during liaison (although sources seem to disagree on the exceptions), but I haven't been able to find out what the resulting vowel is. What are the rules?

For example, are the examples of words ending in "-un" or "-um" /œ̃/ that denasalize during liaison, and if so, would the resulting vowel be /y/ or /œ/?

  • 1
    There is no denasalization in il leur en a donné.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 11, 2017 at 14:06
  • @jlliagre, is this because the word "en" never denasalizes? Are there any words that end in "-en" that do?
    – dainichi
    Oct 11, 2017 at 14:14
  • 1
    As far as I know, words ending with a consonant followed by -en do not nasalize in the first place (e.g. hymen, pollen, spécimen) except examen, réexamen and ben (for bien) . The latter keep their nasalization and rhyme with -in, not with -an like en which has a unique pronunciation. Among them, only ben might trigger a liaison. Otherwise, with words ending with a vowel followed by -en (mostly are in -ien), the denasalization is optional. Bien arrivé can be pronounced \bjɛn‿aʁive\,\bjen‿aʁive\, \bjɛ̃n‿aʁive\ or \bjɛ̃n aʁive\ (no liaison) depending on the speaker.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 11, 2017 at 20:20
  • @jlliagre "As far as I know, words ending with a consonant followed by -en do not nasalize in the first place [...]". Wow, I never realized this, I guess I had made a false generalization from non-final "en" and the one-word "en". Thanks for opening my eyes. I'll change the question.
    – dainichi
    Oct 12, 2017 at 5:14

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, words ending with -un do not denasalize when they participate in a liaison, which is rare.

The liaison is mandatory with un, aucun, commun

Un avion \ɛ̃n‿avjɔ̃\ or in a wide Paris area \œ̃n‿avjɔ̃\

D'un commun accord \komɛ̃n‿akɔʁ\ or \komœ̃n‿akɔʁ\

Aucun artiste... \okɛ̃n‿aʁtist\ or \okœ̃n‿aʁtist\

but forbidden with most if not all other words in -un like chacun, embrun, importun, opportun, jeun.

Chacun arrive... \ʃakɛ̃ aʁiv\

Words ending with -um do not nasalize in the first place. They are pronounced \ -ɔm\ , e.g. album \albɔm\

There is a unique exception : parfum \parfɛ̃\ or \parfœ̃\ which never liaises.

The cases of denasalization in French seems to be limited to finals in [ɛ̃] and [ɔ̃].

Ancien ami \ɛ̃sjɛ̃n‿ami\, \ɛ̃sjen‿ami\ or \ɛ̃sjɛn‿ami\

Son ami \sɔ̃n‿ami\ or \sɔn‿ami\

  • Thanks! How about "brun"? I know it wouldn't usually cause liaison, but could it possibly come before a noun in archaic language or something?
    – dainichi
    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:37
  • I don't see any case where brun would cause a liaison.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:48

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