I heard the sentence Car on a un and I notice that a un liaise with each other, but I cannot really hear what it sounded like. All I heard was an falling a.

Listen to 7:13 here.

Does it sounds like he say "Gar on nan"? How would you pronounce a un in this case. In my ears, a and un sounds almost the same; a is more "stiffer" and peaky while un is more a falling. But still, I cannot clearly hear if he melting a and un together, or include a new letter between just to make it sound more softer and fluent.

Also listen to c’est un moyen after 7:15. Does he forgot to pronounce the t or does this audio have sound issues?

  • 1
    à and un might have the same vowel quality in many French dialects, only differing by nasalisation, so that might be why you have trouble separating both sound: [ææ̃] Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 18:52
  • @Eauquidort So should I do a long 'a' when I doing "a un" then?
    – euraad
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 19:10
  • No, the nasalisation is still important. Just doing a long /a/ might sound off, and each vowel has a different prosody too (i.e. the pitch should vary). I was mostly remarking that as a learner you might have trouble picking both vowels apart because their can be distinguishing by nasality alone, which you're probably not as perceptive to than a native speaker Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


Jean says car on a un pronounced the Parisian way /kaʁ ɔ̃naɛ̃/. There is no extra phoneme between a and un.

Distinguishing nasal vowels from regular ones is a difficult task for people not using them in their native language.

No sound issue around 7:15. Jean just didn't make that optional liaison. Note that there is no requirement for consistency with liaisons.

  • The sequence 'on a un' in this instance of connected speech is maybe nasalized throughout and realized as [ɔ̃nãɛ̃] with no raising of the soft palate
    – grandtout
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 11:37
  • 1
    I think you misheard "et de se faire plaisir" as "c'est un plaisir", unless he said "plaisir" in two different places and I didn't hear one of them.
    – Oosaka
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 11:51
  • @Oosaka Absolutely. Thanks for spotting it.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 16:14

FWIW as a French speaker I clearly hear "a" and "un" in that sentence even if they melt together. Which isn't to say your observation of the sounds is wrong, just that the French-speaking brain knows to parse that sound sequence as those two vowels. I certainly don't hear any other sound between them.

As @jlliagre says, he doesn't make the liaison at 7:15 and it's not a mistake. Maybe it helps to notice the context: the "c'est" is quite long, suggesting he's using it a bit like "umm" to give his brain time to construct the rest of the sentence. This could be a reason why he didn't do the liaison here, as might have been more natural if the "c'est" and following "un" had been generated by the brain at the same time.

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