SmartPhrase.com: French: Pronunciation: Helpful Books for French;

Where is French Spoken?
French is spoken by over seventy millon peole world-wide. France is the main centre for the language, but the French language is also spoken widely in parts of Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, and the USA.

The Alphabet
The French use exactly the same 26-letter alphabet as in English. The five vowels are the same, although their pronunciation differs somewhat, and accents may be used on many letters as described below.

Accents
Acute () and grave (, , ) accents are used in French, and are called l'accent aigu and l'accent grave respectively. The circumflex (cironflexe) accent (, , , , ) may be used on any of the five vowels. The grave and circumflex accent marks are often used to distinguish between homonyms. There are two other accents used in French; one is the diaereses (trma) (, , , , ), and occurs in only a very few words. It indicates that two adjacent vowels must both be pronounced. The final accent is called cedille and may occur only on the letter c. It indicates that it should be pronounced softly (like s, rather than the hard k). Unusually, this accent is marked below the character, thus: .

Consonants (and combinations)

b

• like b in boy

c

• like c in peace, or
• otherwise - like c in cat (always hard with cedille)

ch

• like sh in shadow

d

• like d in dog (generally silent at the end of a word)

f

• like f in fish

g

• before a, u or o - like g in gymnastics
• otherwise - like g in go

gn

• like ni in onion

h

• silent

j

• like g in germ, but much softer

k

• like k in king

l

• like l in lime

m

• like m in me

n

• like n in nice (generally silent at the end of a word)

p

• like p in pit (generally silent at the end of a word)

qu

• like qu in quick, but harder

r

• rolled/trilled like r in Spanish or Scottish (generally silent at the end of a word)

s

• like s in sit, or
• like s in nose (generally silent at the end of a word)

t

• like t in tape, but softer (generally silent at the end of a word)

v

• like v in vase

w

• like w in window

y

• like y in year

z

• like z in zoo, but softer



Vowels

a

• like ea in heart
• () as above but more open

e

• like u in butter, but longer
• () like ay in day, but sharper
• (, ) as above but more open

i

• like ee in feet, but shorter

o

• like o in more, or
• (generally when at the end of a word) like o in no

u

• like ew in pewter, but with lips more pursed

SmartPhrase language pronunciation guide. Helping you to speak better French and talk with an accent the French people can understand. Explaining the pronunciation of individual letters: consonants and vowels. Pronouncing phonemes and diphthongs. Phonology, phonetics, and dialects of speech. Language pronunciation guide for spoken sounds, speech, and talking.

French: Pronunciation
General Words
Food & Drink
Staying Places
Transport
Money & Banks
Going Out
You & Family
Shopping
Medical
Problems
School
Numbers
Be Understood
Pronunciation
Helpful Books


SmartPhrase.com
Home
Phasebook