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I know French is well known for its illogical spelling with regards to pronunciation but I was puzzled at these two words being the same despite the conjugation being different and the addition of a syllable. But everywhere I checked the pronunciation appears to be the same.

https://conjugueur.reverso.net/conjugaison-francais-verbe-r%C3%A9cup%C3%A9rer.html

https://www.deepl.com/fr/translator#fr/en/r%C3%A9cup%C3%A9ras

https://www.deepl.com/fr/translator#fr/en/r%C3%A9cup%C3%A9reras

Is this really the case?

Also seems to be the same with other words that have a similar structure to this, like préféreras and préféras. I wonder what the reason for this extra syllable not affecting pronunciation.

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  • I guess you don't have the ear to tell yet, but they don't sound the same, neither on DeepL nor on google translate. There's an audible stop in "récupèreras". Also, just because the reason is obscure doesn't mean it's "illogical" :) Oct 11 at 8:39
  • @TeleportingGoat The chain of events that leads from "femme" as "fème" to "femme" as "fame" does have its logic but the end result from the point of view of the plain correspondence between spelling and sound is illogical; that's most likely what user Hasen has in mind.
    – LPH
    Oct 11 at 11:06
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In normal speech the vowel "e" (récupèrera) is not pronounced. However, this form is still not pronounced as "récupéra", there is a small difference which is enough to distinguish the two; this difference is simply that r is pronounced twice.

récupèreras isolated prononciation \ʁe.ky.pɛ.ʁə.ʁa\
                      normal pronunciation \ʁe.ky.pɛ.ʁ.ʁa\
récupéra                                          \ʁe.ky.pe.ʁa\

The following decomposition of the pronunciation gives the key to the pronunciation of the consecutive r's. Pronounce "récupére" and "rat" exactly as they are pronounced normally and finally do the same thing as you manage to pronounce them as close to one another as possible while still not changing the two r's into a long r or blurring them.

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  • 1
    @Hasen There is no doubt these two pronunciations have to sound different; anyone telling you it's not so is not fully aware of how French is pronounced. However, the pronunciations in the first link are different, and they are as should be, although "récupèreras" is pronounced fast. Try and listen again. Nevertheless, you are right in some way, it is sometimes too fast and so the pronunciation is not ideal; in other words it is not pronounced too well.
    – LPH
    Oct 10 at 11:39
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    @Hasen: I can definitely hear the difference, but that's because English isn't my first language. The main difference is that the \ʁ\ in récupèreras is geminated, which is not a phonemic feature in English, and therefore can be difficult for native English speakers to recognize as such in other languages. Oct 10 at 12:52
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    @IlmariKaronen is right: the difference between récupéra and récupérera is gemination. (And let me note that gemination is a very minor feature of English; it's the difference between black ace and black case.) Oct 10 at 14:50
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    @Hasen Reverso pronunciation for récupéreras is incorrect. On the other hand, the pronunciation differs between tu récupéras and tu récupèreras with Google translate. There is no gemination with it but a "careful" pronunciation where the schwa is not silent. Most French speakers do geminate the R in spontaneous speech, the exception being Southern accent.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 11 at 0:27
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    The lenght of the R sound is likely what makes the difference to native ears. I did a blind test with someone unaware of what was supposed to be said and the person correctly identified both form.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 11 at 10:57
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The e in récupéreras is e muet, like the second e in appeler or the final e in appelle. If pronounced, it would be a schwa, but schwa is often elided in present-day French. When schwa is pronounced vs. elided is a complicated topic.

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  • The second e in 'appeler' makes an 'er' sound just like in the English word 'waiter'. But it is indeed silent on the end of 'appelle'. I don't see how it can be muet between an l and r though..
    – Hasen
    Oct 10 at 11:27
  • @Hasan: I don't see how pronouncing appeleras where the second 'e' is an e muet is any harder than pronouncing ballroom with only two syllables. (Not that the French always make it an e muet.) Oct 10 at 23:25
  • So basically you're saying in modern day French récupéreras and récupéras are often pronounced in the same way? In any case, it's good that your answer is about récupéreras, which is what I asked about, unlike the other answer which is all about récupèreras which is not what I asked about.
    – Hasen
    Oct 11 at 6:08
  • @Hasen: récupéreras and récupèreras are nothing more than spelling variants of the same word. Spellings like récupèreras are recommended over spellings like récupéreras since 1990. This is only indirectly related to pronunciation.
    – sumelic
    Oct 11 at 6:44

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