The video at the link below contains the phrase "une belle sonnance" in the subtitles at about 15:37. 'Sonnance' isn't in any of my dictionaries and I'm drawing a blank on Reverso and Linguee as well. The phrase "une belle sonnance" throws up only two google results for me, as does "une belle sonance". The sense in these results seems to be "an attractive sound".

What I hear in the video certainly sounds like 'sonnance', which is evidently what the subtitler heard as well, so I'm wondering whether the speaker perhaps means something else, for example "une belle assonance".


Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

  • As you can see here (CNRTL), "sonnance" does not exist. I'll watch the video later and let you know, if you don't have any answer.
    – purerstamp
    Jun 7, 2019 at 12:17
  • On trouve « c'est une belle sonnance » à partir de 15 mn 15 sec.
    – LPH
    Jun 7, 2019 at 12:46
  • 2
    To the extent that a term's absence from TLFi shows that it doesn't exist, perhaps its presence here shows that it once did. (but I'm not sure if either of those two assertions is correct)
    – Papa Poule
    Jun 7, 2019 at 13:02
  • this word indeed does not seem to exist. But even in the subtitles it's written "sonnance". Jun 7, 2019 at 13:12

5 Answers 5


Effectivement, "Sonance" (sonnance) ne figure pas dans les dictionnaires généraux principaux. Cela ne l'empêche pas de se trouver dans la littérature, comme dans cet ouvrage d'électroacoustique de 1948 dans lequel l'auteur en donne une définition très précise…

Cela étant, dans votre extrait il semble qu'il s'agisse simplement d'une divagation, le mot étant apparemment mis pour "sonorité" ou "son" au regard du contexte.


"Sonnance", or "Sonance" are not French words, but errors.

He didn't mean "assonance" either.

"Assonance" is a French figure of speech.

  • Il faut les privilèges pour éditer sans permission, quand on pas la réputation il faut envoyer une suggestion de modification. Les suggestions ne sont pas acceptées si elles sont trop courtes, donc si c'est pour corriger une conjugaison ou une majuscule c'est pas possible. (Bon ok suiieriesesse a les privilèges mais de manière générale ça marche comme ça ^^ ) Jun 7, 2019 at 12:28
  • 1
    Oui, pardonnez mon commentaire (aussitôt supprimé). Merci pour l'edition.
    – shaax
    Jun 7, 2019 at 12:32

Sonnance is indeed not listed in dictionaries but was made up by Nicolas using regular French suffixation rules.

The word is a bit surprising to native French speakers but doesn't really make one cringe because the expected meaning is quite easy to guess.

Many words with the -ance or -ence suffixes are derived from adjectives/present participle in -ant, e.g.:

Abondant ↣ Abondance
Arrogant ↣ Arrogance
Dominant ↣ Dominance
Extravagant ↣ Extravagance
Ignorant ↣ Ignorance

In all of the previous examples, the -ance word means the quality of being -ant so from:

Sonnant (sounding, ringing, chiming, tolling)

a word meaning the "quality of sounding" was coined:

Sonnance, the quality of bien sonner.

We can draw a parallel between this technique and a notorious case whereby a former French Presidency candidate, Ségolène Royal, used bravitude. Everyone rightly understood it to mean bravoure, but this anecdote certainly didn't help her in the polls...

  • et voici comment des néologismes naissent :-) Jun 10, 2019 at 20:32

« Son(n)ance » n'existant pas , je pense qu'il a voulu dire « sonorité. »


Indeed, "sonnance" is an error. But after watching the video, I think this man wants to say something like "c'est une grâce et un bel écho que d'entendre cette voix interne qui nous dirige".

If so, the meaning is:

He has a voice, inside, who struggles against schizophrenia and while this voice is victorious, it's like a wonderful echo hearing this voice.

In other words, this voice sounds very nice, like a lovely sound. Accordingly you also may say "une belle sonorité".

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