So "oi" in French is pronounced as wah phonetically. But does French have the "oy" sound like other Romance languages do? But that I mean "oy" as in "boy" or "toy" or "hoy"(in Spanish).

This is a diphthong with a mid back rounded starting point [ɔ ~ o] and a high front offglide [ɪ ~ i j].

  • Not a diphthong but two nuclei in a row: égoïste
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 17:23
  • You’d think it would – [oj] would be the expected pronunciation of oille, which seems like a perfectly reasonable sequence. But I can’t seem to locate any words that contain it at all. Given that the most obvious ancestor of such a sequence, Romance *olia, generally becomes euille [œj], it’s quite possible there aren’t any. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 17:47
  • Sursilvan Romansh is also considered to lack the /oj ~ ɔj/ diphthong.
    – Michaelyus
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 18:00
  • Are you asking about Modern Parisian French, and limiting the inquiry to etymologically Romance words?
    – user6726
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 18:42
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    You might want to update the question with some linguistic terminology, like “diphthong with a mid back rounded starting point [ɔ ~ o] and a high front offglide [ɪ ~ i j]” since that generalizes away from being the exact same as the English sound towards a sound LIKE the English one. In phonology, we should always consider speech sounds in the context of their systems.
    – Graham H.
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 2:19

2 Answers 2


There are several words of foreign origin used in French that contain the /ɔj/ diphtong, including barzoï, boy-scout, boycotter, cow-boy, foil, goy, joystick, spoiler, and monoï.

In addition, there is at least one word (a very French one because it names the French language family spoken in the Middle Ages) that contains this "oy" diphtong, it's the word oïl found in langue d'oïl

Listen to it pronounced here

  • 4
    Langue d’oïl, of course! I feel rather silly now for not thinking of that… Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 20:13
  • So barzoï would be pronounced "bar-zoy" and not "barz-wah"? I take it if the i has an umlaut on it that is what makes the difference, no?
    – Mr X
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 18:38
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    Yes, barzoï rhymes with Tolstoï.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 20:15
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    @QuintusCaesius-RM Correct. We can also call this diacritic trema encompassing both umlaut and diaeresis.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 7:30
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    @fdb No, neither /o.i/ nor /oj/ but /ɔj/. You would even risk not being understood if you pronounce it with two syllables, la langue d'eau-île??
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 17:05

To complete the answer of @jlliagre, here is a tool from the French Wiktionary, with all the words that contains /ɔj/ in their pronunciations: Anagrimes. This tool gives 1430 words (lemmas, but also declensions and demonyms).


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