51 votes
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Where did French's silent ending consonants come from?

This is a huge question. If someone has the time to give a more thorough overview, I invite them to, but here's a quick set of points to consider. Most of these end consonants are no mystery: they ...
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23 votes
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Quelle est la règle pour utiliser « mon » avec des noms féminins ?

La règle : Quand le déterminant possessif ma, ta et sa se trouve devant un mot féminin qui commence par un son voyelle, on emploie mon, ton et son. Ceci pour éviter d'avoir à prononcer deux voyelles à ...
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20 votes
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How can you tell the difference between "il parle" and "ils parlent"?

Phonetically speaking, you can't tell the difference between them; they are pronounced the same. And yes, it goes for all the other verbs where the third person singular is pronounced the same as the ...
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20 votes
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Correct pronunciation of 'Chez Albert': is there a liaison?

There is no single "liaison rule" in French but a gazillion of small scope "liaison rules" each one often with exceptions. Here is what the TLFI says about "z" liaisons: c) Liaison. Cf. Kamm. 1964,...
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20 votes
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What exactly do the French diacritics denote? And can they be implied/expelled?

Diacritics are part of French orthography. To take one example, "dû" is the past participle of "devoir". If you remove the circumflex, it becomes "du", the contraction of "de" + "le". Different ...
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  • 316
20 votes

Where did French's silent ending consonants come from?

In addition to Luke's answer, here are some comments about each of your examples: Temps was often written tems, tens or even tans in Old French. When French spelling was standardized, the variant ...
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19 votes
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Is the second 'T' silent in "petites" ?

The man actually pronounces the second t. Even though it is not as clear as the sounds from the beginning of the word, I distinctly hear it. If you play the video at half-speed, you can hear it being ...
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  • 486
19 votes

When and where is "oui" read /wei/?

Approval is often expressed with ouais (pronounced /wɛ/, sometimes /we/) instead of oui (/wi/) in relaxed spoken French. The difference is similar to using yep vs yes. A final /j/ might be heard in ...
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19 votes

Prononciation "bonshommes"

Bonhomme a une grammaire particulière car formé par agglutination d'un adjectif et un nom commun. Contrairement à bonheur qui suit le même schéma (bon + heur=chance, destin), le nom commun bonhomme ...
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  • 128k
17 votes

Quelles sont les lettres qu'on ne prononce pas à la fin d'un mot ?

Il y a quelques règles générales, mais beaucoup d'exceptions, surtout parmi les mots les plus courants. En première approximation, on prononce en finale seulement les voyelles autre que e, et les ...
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17 votes

When and where is "oui" read /wei/?

"Oui" is always pronounced /wi/ "Ouais" is vey common in French, it is slang for "Oui" like "Yeah" is slang for "Yes".
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16 votes
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Words ending on i/u, spoken with (IPA) [ɪç] – is there a system?

Look up "phrase-final vowel devoicing" for scientific articles on the subject. It's a relatively recent phenomenon in European French, whereby the vocal folds stop vibrating halfway through a vowel ...
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  • 9,101
16 votes

What exactly do the French diacritics denote? And can they be implied/expelled?

For reference, the usual diacritics are as follows. Accent aigu: é Pronunciation: Uniformly causes the vowel to be pronounced [e] (as in English "may"). There are some rare exceptions where it's ...
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16 votes
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Prononciation en français des mots d'origine anglaise

Il n'y a pas de règle absolue, c'est souvent l'usage qui dicte la prononciation des mots étrangers, comme celle des mots français d'ailleurs... Les mots comme python, Apache, Oracle, Android (...
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15 votes
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Pronunciation of "sa" and "ça"

In France the pronunciation is exactly the same : [sa]. But the context will always give you a hint about which one is used. En France, la prononciation est exactement la même : [sa]. C'est le ...
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15 votes
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Prononciation : "aidée" contre "aidé"

Il y a une variation régionale, oui. Historiquement, les séquences voyelles + schwa en fin de mot ont donné naissance à des voyelles longues quand ces schwas finaux ont cessé d'être prononcé. Cette ...
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  • 9,101
14 votes
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How is /a/ pronounced before n/m in French?

The widespread pronunciation is [pano] with no nasalisation. You might hear [panɔ] in eastern France, but this is unrelated to your question. A non native speaker might hear a slight kind of ...
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14 votes

Aren't all schwas sounded like /ø/?

Depending on the dialect of the speaker, schwa might be realised as [əʷ], [œ] or [ø]. Whatever this realisation might be, it's still its own phoneme, since it has a very different behaviour from /ø/: ...
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  • 9,101
14 votes

Why is the second S silent in "Sens dessus dessous"?

It seems that the reason for this unique pronunciation would be the ancient form of the word "sens"; this is suggested by the Wiktionnaire; « sens » dans cette locution vient de « c’en » et il est ...
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14 votes

Is there a difference in pronunciation for un, a, à, as and et, es and est?

Note: It is difficult to avoid using IPA to describe pronunciation. English vowels are absolutely not equivalent to French ones, so comparisons in dictionaries (e.g. "like the a in angel") are often ...
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14 votes
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Proper Middle French c. 1450 pronunciation for the "Le Roy Engloys" song

The most complete freely accessible source for the dating and chronology of sound changes in French is in my opinion the histolf site of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and especially its pages on ...
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  • 9,101
13 votes
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Le français est-il la langue la plus rapide?

Il y a deux facteurs qui entrent en jeu pour définir la vitesse d'une langue. La vitesse avec laquelle les syllabes sont énoncées influence la perception qu'on peut avoir de la vitesse de cette ...
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13 votes

Correct pronunciation of 'Chez Albert': is there a liaison?

L'exemple donné soulève deux questions : La liaison après chez : elle est obligatoire* : La liaison est aussi obligatoire entre une préposition ne comportant qu’une syllabe et le mot qui suit. ...
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13 votes
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Is there any hidden 'W' sound after 'comment' in : Comment est-elle?

In both the video and Google Translate's pronunciation, I think I understand what you're hearing. It seems to be an implicit glide between the /ɑ̃/ and the /ɛ/ simply as a function of the first being ...
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  • 16.7k
13 votes

Does French have the English "short i" vowel?

No, standard French does not have the vowel /ɪ/ (near-close front unrounded vowel), which is the English “short i”. The vowel which is normally written with the letter I in French is a close front ...
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12 votes

Saying phone numbers

Essentially, by intonation and pauses. For “80, 16”, one would say: Quatre-vingt. [pause] Seize. with a rising intonation at the end of “80”, whereas for “96”, one would say: Quatre-vingt-seize....
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12 votes
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Pronunciation of "du 11 septembre 2001"?

It is always correct not to elide the word preceding both cardinals and ordinals in French so you can take it as a rule without risk. Le un et le deux sont sortis au loto, à la une du journal, le ...
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  • 128k
12 votes
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Donc voilà pourquoi votre finale est muette ?

Personnellement il m'arrive de prononcer [dō] quand je parle de façon relâchée et que le mot donc n'est pas placé en finale de phrase et qu'il n'y a pas de liaison à faire. Par exemple : Tu viens ...
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  • 56.4k
12 votes
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Raison pour laquelle « é » s'appelle « e accent aigu » et pas « e accent grave »

Les langues évoluent et les intonations changent, mais l'origine des accents aigu et grave remonte pratiquement à l'Antiquité. Les accents français ont été hérités principalement du grec ancien, mais ...
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