51 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 17.9k
23 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 57.1k
23 votes

How at normal speed, is "on en a un en haut, hein?" pronounced by natives?

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 ...
  • 137k
21 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 ...
  • 137k
20 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 12.1k
20 votes
Accepted

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,...
  • 137k
20 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 316
19 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 137k
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 ...
  • 137k
18 votes
Accepted

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 (androïde)...
  • 137k
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".
  • 1,149
16 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 9,156
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 ...
  • 17.9k
15 votes
Accepted

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 ...
15 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 9,156
15 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 9,156
14 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 137k
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/: ...
  • 9,156
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 ...
  • 39k
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 ...
  • 2,040
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. ...
  • 57.1k
13 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 17.9k
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 ...
12 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 12.1k
12 votes
Accepted

Why is there no cedilla on the c in porcelaine ?

C can be pronounced [k] or [s]. C is pronounced [k] before a, o, u, or any consonant (except h). Call this the "hard" C. calembour cour cul croquer C is pronounced [s] before e, i, y. Call this ...
  • 17.9k
12 votes
Accepted

Prétéqueuseuteu

Ce n'est pas du patois, c'est vraiment comme dit le texte (« comme eût prononcé la cuisinière de mon grand-père ») un élément de prononciation. Les enfants qui ne savent pas encore bien parler, et ...
  • 57.1k
12 votes
Accepted

Prononciation de "2h41"

Parce qu'il s'agit en fait de minutes : deux heures quarante-et-une [minutes]
  • 14.5k
12 votes

Do I have to learn /o/ or /ɔ/ separately?

A contrast between close-mid /o/ and open-mid /ɔ/ is present in many varieties of French. But the distribution of the two sounds varies between accents. Some accents have distinctions in vowel length ...
  • 2,773

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