Hi French linguists and French people,

I am just a beginner, so I might be wrong. I am teaching myself ONLY on Duolingo and the internet. I am really trying to learn the difference between ɔ and o̞. I find that the ɔ has a "o̞" OR "ɞ" sound ONLY before L and R and sometimes M and N, whereby the ɔ sounds like ɔ as in FOR.
[ɔ] (open O)
[o̞] (mid O)
[o] (closed O)

Here are some examples.

alors (ɔ as in for) [alo̞r],
absolument [apso̞lymɑ̃],
d'ordinaire (ɔ as in for) [do̞ʀdinɛʀ],
soleil [so̞lɛj],
communément [ko̞mynemɑ̃],
forêt [fo̞re̞],
gomme [go̞m],
ordinateur [lo̞ʀdinatœʀ],
corps [ko̞ʀ],
cochon [ko̞ʃɔ̃],
Cambodge [kɑ̃bo̞dʒ],
donner [do̞ne],
époque [epo̞k],
Europe [øʁo̞p],
homme [o̞m],
comme [ko̞m],
comment [ko̞mɑ̃], etc.

French ɔ (open oh) (ɔ as in awkward); (more open oh)
................ OR (ɔ as in for) [o̞] (less open oh),

  • 3
    Related: Do I have to learn /o/ or /ɔ/ separately?
    – sumelic
    Commented May 3, 2022 at 6:08
  • I do not pronounce all the o's marked as [o̞] in your question the same way and nobody complained or missed to understand what I was saying.
    – jlliagre
    Commented May 3, 2022 at 9:28
  • 3
    Are you sure that you're not being led astray by the vowels in English (or whatever your first language is)? The English vowels don't match the French vowels, even when they're represented by the same IPA symbols. Commented May 3, 2022 at 11:31
  • Here you go: youtube.com/watch?v=146w1aSSvx0 in terms of internet learning.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 3, 2022 at 17:53
  • 2
    I don't think an answer to the question is possible. Prononciation differs based on regional and personal habit. A single locutor can even use different prononciation of the same word in different sentences. I personally do.
    – ArwynFr
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 1:07

2 Answers 2


As a beginner, you really shouldn't worry about this. Just consider the open and closed "o" and you'll be fine.

The pronunciation of "o" in particular is heavily dependant on accents so there isn't even a right answer. Some open "o"s can be slightly less open depending on various things like position in the word, position of the word in the sentence, general mood and intent of the speaker, etc. but there are no rules for that.

With time and after listening to enough spoken French it will come naturally.


The symbol always signifies the same sound, so the ɔ always has an ɔ sound. What you're asking I think is what letters have this or that sound. The o in soleil and most of your examples is the short u, represented as an upside down v. When followed by an r the o is ɔ. The o̞ is in 'haut' and words ending in -ot, etc. Many of the French vowels are grossly and bizarrely misrepresented in phonetic transcription. Do not pay attention to that. Pay attention to how they are actually pronounced.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 15:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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