I have come across the following sentence lately:

Je mets fin à un conflit.

How am I supposed to pronounce ɛ̃ (fin), a (à) and œ̃ (un) after one another? Is there a way to go about it? Should I fuse the first one with the second or the second with the last one or all of the three? It's highly confusing for me as a beginner.

  • 2
    It's not been mentioned in the answers, but for most of France (and possibly other French speaking countries), we don't make a difference between "in" and "un". I personally would say "/ɛ̃aɛ̃/" here. If you're learning France French, you can skip all phonems from this chart with a (†) before them (I hope Belgian people won't kill me for saying that). Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 8:04
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    @TeleportingGoat A large part of France but not most of it. The difference is still made in the former Langue d'oc and Franco-Provençal area, which cover more than one third of France territory.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 13:02
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    @jlliagre: Ça m'a plutot l'air d'être moitié-moitié francaisdenosregions.com/tag/brin Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 15:31
  • @StéphaneGimenez Oui, un peu plus d'un tiers. Ce qui est notable, c'est que la plupart des gens de la zone qui ne fait pas de distinction est incapable de produire le son et même de percevoir la différence entre "in" et "on".
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 15:52
  • Tu peux t'entrainer avec « On en a un en haut » si t'as envie de te challenger. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 10:46

5 Answers 5


There is usually a very slight pause between fin and à un conflit but all these vowels might be also pronounced in a row.

In poetry, hiatus tend to be avoided but in regular prose/speech, French has no problem with successive vowels, whether nasalized or not.

For example, the sentence:

Tu as en haut un houx aérien.

has eight successive phonetic vowels /ty a ɑ̃ o œ̃ u aerjɛ̃/ but can be nevertheless easily pronounced by any native French person.

Here is another one that could technically be heard in a primary school:

Haie a un A, un I et un E et eau a un E un A et un U qui se suivent.

/ɛ a œ̃ a œ̃ i e œ̃ ə e o a œ̃ ə œ̃ a œ̃ y kisəsɥiv/

Nineteen phonetic vowels...

  • 1
    I mean, that is absolutely horrifying! in Hungarian, we have words like "fiaiéié" (vowel-collision) or "megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért" (too long word) but these ones with their own special pronounciations are the worst!
    – user17274
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 20:00
  • 1
    actually, this is the best answer I have ever got on any SE site. it made me laugh so hard. thank you!
    – user17274
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 20:01
  • It seems Hungarian can even coin fiaiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiéiért ... ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 20:10
  • yes, but it is something that will never be said.
    – user17274
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 20:14

If like many French speakers you merge /œ̃/ with /ɛ̃/ to produce [æ̃] with æ̃ more open than ɛ, you'd have in theory the following sounds /ɛ̃aɛ̃/. My guess is that this sequence would be nasalized throughout and be realized as [æ̃ãæ̃] with a glide from æ̃ to ã and back to æ̃.

I think further that in an allegro style of speech, there would indeed be fusion between the sounds so that you'd end up with something close to [fæ̃:] as a way to pronounce fin à un.


Wow! Lotta great and good answers

Parisian-areal native registers (mostly BCBGish) that come to mind:

your answer is "the latter" (I can't say it fast enough to make it really sound as if the first was also involved in the phonation of the double-nazal final.

One more almost-native vote for: Monophthong + Diphthong.

So... which dialects are you most interested in after "bland/broadcaster-standard/relaxed-"textbook" ?

  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 9:37
  • On comprend rien au post, et en plus il semble induire en erreur avec le peu qu'il dit. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 9:41

While maintaining the nasal vowel, the n in fin can be liaised with à. As is normal when there is no consonant to provide a liaison and the second word does not start with an aspirated h, you can introduce a glottal stop between the words: à'un. (In English we tend to introduce a y sound. Do not do this in French!)

By the way, the English word is pronunciation, not pronounciation.

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    You can't liaise here. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 15:20
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    You can't liaise here because there's no liaison after singular nouns (except in a few fixed expressions like fait accompli, where I assume it's left over from days when there was liaison after nouns). Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 13:46
  • My apology; my mistake. I thought 'fin' was one of those exceptions. Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 0:34
  • Actually, looking on the web, there are some sites that list fin as an exception. But I don't believe it is in current-day French. Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 21:17

You can't pronounce that too fast; use the indicated sounds, taking care to pronounce each nasal vowel fully so as to avoid blurred sounds; it's difficult for natives too as the usual distribution of sounds in French is based on the principle of having a consonant sound between any two vowel sounds (principle that is, at times, transgressed).

There is no other way, no adition of phantom consonants, no fusion.


In order to pronounce « un » in a distinctive manner a slight glottal stop is used. Here is what the free encyclopedia says about the French glottal stop (coup de glotte) ;

Le français, en le nommant h « aspiré », possède aussi un coup de glotte linguistique, qui ne se trouve qu'à l'initiale vocalique de certains mots présentant à l'écrit un h- (mais pas exclusivement : certains mots qui débutent à l'écrit par une voyelle sont précédés d'un h « aspiré » non écrit, comme onze) ; ce h aspiré ne se manifeste normalement que par l'absence de liaison qu'il entraîne avec le mot précédent (on parle aussi de disjonction ; voir psilose), absence qui peut être accentuée par un coup de glotte devant voyelle mais se manifeste le plus souvent devant consonne (où il apparaît comme l'un des moyens de marquer la disjonction) : les enfants [lez‿ɑ̃fɑ̃] mais les hérissons (avec h aspiré) [le eʁisɔ̃] (voire [leːʁisɔ̃] dans une diction plus rapide), accentué en [le ʔeʁisɔ̃] quand on veut insister sur la disjonction et surtout petite hache, réalisé [pətit ʔaʃ] (ou [pətitəaʃ], avec un e caduc dans le Sud de la France) puisque [pətitaʃ] ne marquerait pas la coupure.

COMPLÉMENT 2, suggéré par un commentaire, et finalement rendu possible grâce à cette ref : Syllabification en français et en arabe moderne dans le cadre de la théorie de l'optimalité, DR. ABDELWAHAB ELSAADANI, Professeur adjoint en Linguistique française, Faculté de Pédagogie, Université de Mansourah

                                                             p. 6 de la référence

![enter image description here

                                                             p. 10 de la référence

2.1 Syllabification et resyllabification en français

Dans toute langue, les segments s'organisent d'abord et avant tout en syllabes CV puis en syllabes plus complexes. C'est le cas du français:

  • CV: cas

  • CVC: car

  • CVCC: carte

  • CVCCV: carton

  • CVCCVCV: cartonner

  • CVCCVCVC: cartonnage

  • VC: or, VCC: arme, VCCV: armer

  • VCV: ami

                                                           p. 12 de la référence

enter image description here

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    That would be great to add some reference regarding the statement: “French is based on the principle of having a consonant sound between any two vowel sounds.” It is a first for me, and I could probably find hundreds of individual words that have two vowel sounds in a row. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 17:16
  • @Montéedelait True, it would be better if this statement were supplemented with a reference; unfortunately, I can't get back at the source where I got that. Anyway, that's mostly true and the theory of liaisons is such that it tends to introduce these missing consonants between words (un navion, deux zétangs, …).
    – LPH
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 17:31
  • Pourquoi cette réponse se fait trasher et downvoter comme ça ? Elle est particulièrement riche et intéressante : Même un francophone natif comme trouve à y apprendre des trucs. Vous êtes raides, les gens... Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 9:43
  • 18th century French poetry had the rule that you should avoid hiatus; that is, you should not put a word ending with a vowel directly before a word beginning with a vowel. I don't believe this was ever the case with prose. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 18:51

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