I'd like to have this in narrow-detail IPA or by explanations of the sort "pronounce it as if it were spelled like ####" (made-up-frenchish-orthography string).

Also: is this a reasonable sentence, say, spoken\heard internally upon finding one needs a certain kind of screwdriver, and remembering that one has one?

Please state your dialect or register for any answer or answers. Thanks!!

(Originally came up in discussing good example utterances for demonstrating Academy French to American English users)

  • I'd say it's reasonable, though it might cause someone to crack a smile on realizing how it sounds. Personally I would do liaison only between the first three words.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jun 5, 2022 at 20:10
  • I think it is a question of splitting it in rythmic groups. I'd say it as thee words: "onena un enhaut"... but I am not a native, and I suspect that it might also depend on the exact context.
    – Roger V.
    Jun 6, 2022 at 6:15
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    it is awfull for a native speaker to say that, at least to me. Dont bother the final hein, it will come after a rather long pause. There is only one liaison bwnt on and en, rougly speaking onnen a un en haut, just an extra n to apply.
    – mh-cbon
    Jun 6, 2022 at 6:51
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    @mh-cbon Your comment is surprising. The liaison between en and a is mandatory and always done and the sentence is considered unremarkable by everyone I ask, not at all awful.
    – jlliagre
    Jun 6, 2022 at 7:41
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    These questions always surprise my wife and my cat when I start suddenly repeating them loud. I mostly agree with @mh-cbon, except that I would add the a in the first mashup: onnena un en haut. As from where: Versailles.
    – WoJ
    Jun 6, 2022 at 7:48

2 Answers 2


On en a un en haut, hein ? is a reasonable and common French sentence. It doesn't surprise French ears at all. There are only mandatory (the first two) or forbidden liaisons here so no variants to expect on that side.

I pronounce it that way: /ɔ̃.n‿ɑ̃.n‿a.œ̃.ɑ̃.o ‖ ɛ̃/ which is close to Parisian French except un that I pronounce /œ̃/ instead of /ɛ̃/ there.

Here is a video where On en a un en haut ici is said around 3'13".

See also: Problem with the pronunciation of sequences of “in”, “a” and “un” vowel sounds

  • Do Parisians pronounce "un" as /ɛ̃/? If so, does that not make Parisian French non-standard? Jun 12, 2022 at 10:16
  • @peanutjelly Sort of but not if we consider the de facto standard is how Parisian TV speaks.
    – jlliagre
    Jun 12, 2022 at 12:51

OnNONa UHnonHO (uh is nasal; ho rhymed with hoe)

  • 7
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    – Community Bot
    Jun 6, 2022 at 16:58
  • 2
    Actually, the pronunciation is wrong, you confuse "en" and "on" at the beginning.
    – gouessej
    Jun 7, 2022 at 9:38
  • I don't think it can be wrong, I mean, what dialect and what corresponding IPA are you imagining? Should I be speaking French, here? In certain/any contexts? Still need mentoring. Nov 16, 2022 at 8:15
  • Actually, we French would slightly simplify the pronunciation of "OnNONa UHnonHO", effectively turning it into "Hon Hon Hon" when speaking at native speeds. We might consider adding some context to make the swap self-evident, usually adding "BAGUETTE" at the end, but it really depends if we're home talking to our family, or chatting with a stranger in a less casual French. Anyway, something close to "Hon Hon Hon BAGUETTE" is how I would pronounce "On en a un en haut" by default. Nov 16, 2022 at 9:54

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