On Google Translate, I notice that "votre aide" is pronounced "vo-traide". Likewise with "notre aide". This doesn't seem to follow the rules of a liaison because "votre" doesn't end in a silent consonant, so I think this is a pronunciation rule different to liaisons. It seems to be a rule whereby the consonant sounds at the end of a word is joined to the next word if it begins with a vowel sound.

I'm struggling to find any info about this pronunciation rule. For example

  1. Following this pattern, should "être amical" be pronounced "ê-tremical" as an example?
  2. Is this a rule that must always be obeyed or is it more of an optional contraction similar to "can not" and "can't" in English? Would pronouncing "votre aide" as two separate words be acceptable?
  3. Are there any occasions where such a contraction should never be used (similar to forbidden liaisons)?
  4. Is there a name for this rule?

Thank you.


1 Answer 1


"être amical" is typically pronounced "ê-tramical". The e muet at the end of être is silent, not pronounced, and the tr is pronounced in the same syllable as the a at the start of amical. This joining of syllables across word boundaries is called enchaînement. I believe it is optional to some extent: Wikipedia suggests that "It has been pointed out that French politicians and speakers (Jacques Chirac, for example) pronounce some liaison consonants, independently of the following word, introducing a pause or a schwa afterwards"1, i.e. apparently liaison without enchaînement sometimes occurs, but it seems to be an unusual feature of speech.

It doesn't occur with words that start with an h aspiré2: e.g. "une houe" is pronounced /yn.u/ not as /y.nu/.


  1. Liaison (French) (Wikipedia)
  2. The Elsewhere Condition and "h-Aspiré",* Gregory K. Iverson, Journal of Linguistics Vol. 19, No. 2 (Sep., 1983), pp. 369-376

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.