3

I realized that the pronunciation of 8 in (say)1835, when 8 is adjacent to "mille", is different from its pronunciation in (say) 1928, when 8 lies in the first digit:

"Mille oui cent trente cinque" and

"Mille neuf cent vingt witt"

Am I correct? Or I am mistaken? Why do not we say "mille witt cent trwnt cinque"?

Your answer is very appreciated.

  • 3
    Huit prononcé 'oui-te' (wuit) est entendu dans l’est de la France. particulièrement dans les Vosges. La prononciation correcte : u-i s’il est suivi d’une consonne, sinon u-i-t'. – Personne Aug 12 at 17:58
  • 3
    @Personne et aussi en français de Belgique dont c'est une caractéristique très reconnaissable. – jlliagre Aug 13 at 1:56
  • A side note; you could tell 18-35 if you are having difficulty with the other pronounciation. So it would be heard like, dix-huit trente cinq. It's often singued that way in song for date, but you will never see that wrote that way as it's not the correct's way. – yagmoth555 Aug 13 at 17:25
  • 2
    @yagmoth555 I have never heard dix-huit trente-cinq in France to state a date. On the other hand dix-huit cent trente-cinq is still common. french.stackexchange.com/questions/1856/… – jlliagre Aug 14 at 23:31
9

We always pronounce the t at the end of huit, except when it is followed by a word beginning with a consonant.

  • 1828 : mille huit cent vingt-huit : we don't pronounce the former “t” because there is a consonant after (i.e. “c”) but we pronounce the latter.
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. To be honnest I hear the following:"mi-lui-cent-trente-cinqu. Is it near to the true pronunciation? – Ali Taghavi Aug 12 at 18:20
  • 2
    @AliTaghavi: Yes, it is. – Toto Aug 12 at 18:28
  • A notable exception: when counting, or in a count-down, we prononce the 't' even before another consonant: in "Cinq six sept huit neuf dix", or "dix neuf huit sept six". Also, of course, in front of a "h muet" as in "huit heures". – Evargalo Aug 13 at 8:56
  • 1
    @Evargalo: I would note that in a count/count-down there's a notable slight pause before the next number. If you have a pause (dot, comma, colon, semi-colon), then the next word doesn't matter. – Matthieu M. Aug 13 at 10:20
3

The final consonant of huit is often dropped when it is part of the phrasing mille-huit-cent simply because it rolls off the tongue better, but it would not be a mistake to pronounce it.

This elision can also happen when the word huit is placed before any word that begins with a consonant other than h, or when the word huit is followed by %. Examples from the Office Québécois de la Langue Française:

Éric commencera ses cours le 8 septembre. [ɥitsɛptãbʀ] (uit-sèp-tan-br) ou [ɥisɛptãbʀ] (ui-sèp-tan-br)

Le sondage indique que 88 % des personnes interrogées ont accès à Internet à la maison ou au travail. [katʀevẽɥipuʀsã] (ka-tre-vin-ui-pour-san) ou [katʀevẽɥitpuʀsã] (ka-tre-vin-uit-pour-san)

In my dialect of French spoken in the metropolitan area of Québec, this elision can also be applied to other digits, though is less common to do so in formal contexts. You can read more about it on the OQLF's website. Judging from people's comments, that is not a thing in France.

  • mille-cin-cent
  • mille-sè-cent
  • mille-neu-cent

Note that the pronunciation of the rest of the digit doesn't change. Even if you drop the t in huit, you should pronounce hui all the same. In the question, hui was approximated as oui and wi, but neither are exact. You'll probably just get yourself more confused if you try to rewrite French words as if they were made of English sounds.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. To be honnest I hear the following:"mi-lui-cent-trente-cinqu. Is it near to the true pronunciation? – Ali Taghavi Aug 12 at 18:19
  • 3
    I'm from Paris, France. The t in mille-sept-cents and the f in mille-neuf-cents are both pronunced. – Toto Aug 12 at 18:27
  • 1
    @AliTaghavi That is correct! – Domino Aug 12 at 20:03
  • 1
    I have lived in France (Île de France) over 20 years and agree with Toto; this answer is wrong. – goPlayerJuggler Aug 13 at 8:12
  • 2
    @Evargalo I never heard "mille sep cent" or "mille neu cent" either. It is unclear from Domino's comment if he agrees or not about this. Note that the all dashes number spelling is following the 1990 orthography reform. – jlliagre Aug 13 at 9:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.