In English, "okay" is pronounced /oʊˈkeɪ/ . When I hear a French saying that word, I can't hear neither the final /ɪ/ phonem, nor the /ʊ/ phonem. It seems to me /o'ke/ is said instead. Is that the most usual pronunciation?

  • It's frustrating to have a question downvoted without reason. Apr 5, 2020 at 12:05
  • Not clear why, sometimes when there's a perceived implication that the language is lacking, that might rub some people the wrong way. I understand your frustration.
    – user19187
    Apr 5, 2020 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


You are right, the 1st syllable is pronounced either [o] or [ɔ], and the 2nd syllable is pronounced [e] or [ɛ] in French. Whether one is used or the other are simple regional and/or individual variations. You can hear some sound samples here.

If you use the English prononciation in a conversation in French, it will be understood, but will give away that you are a foreigner (or, if you are a native speaker, that you are a snob who wants to show off their English or American accent).

  • "Snob" is a bit judgemental. I've known several people in my life who happened to have a very good accent for personal reasons like having lived in an English speaking countries for some years or simply English teachers. You're not alone though, this is unfortunately often considered as showing off... on the other hand speaking English with a French accent is also mocked so I'm not sure what people are supposed to do...
    – Laurent S.
    Apr 4, 2020 at 18:40
  • 1
    @LaurentS. This seems a bit off-topic and I don't quite understand your point. I assume that what you meant with "a very good accent" is "a strong English accent". If you're talking a language X with the accent of another language Y, I don't consider it "good". The ideal would be to speak French with a French accent and English with an English accent. Apr 5, 2020 at 12:15
  • @AlanEvangelista Having a “good accent” when pronouncing obviously foreign (and not entirely assimilated) loan words and names generally means pronouncing them according to their original language, imo. In the context of an English discussion, an anglophone pronounces “déjà vu” poorly if she uses the pronunciation given for the English Wiktionary entry, and well if she pronounces it as it should be in French.
    – Maroon
    Apr 5, 2020 at 18:49
  • @Maroon But would the native English speaker recognize nonchalant without putting emphasis on the T or do you consider that fully assimilated. That just came to mind after listening to Cuomo's brother on CNN, seems that word is trending. But then again, I think I heard it too in a song by Sinatra. I mean how long should it take before OK gets assimilated into French, it's been in use for a century now. Also, consider smartphone, in France they might pronounce the ending like fun, (and the ar is different but I can't do IPA) yet there is no way I would ever use that because I reject it.
    – user19187
    Apr 5, 2020 at 23:09
  • @Maroon Also, coming back to O.K., after listening to both En and Fr prononciation I can find no real difference but length. I speculate the perceived difference comes from a different setup in the first syllable. The difference is imho highly overstated, most likely ear of the beholder type of thing. Then again, sound is not my forte.
    – user19187
    Apr 5, 2020 at 23:19

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