Don’t trust written French #1

posted in: Pronunciation | 0

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One of the biggest mistake student make when they learn French is to grab a book, learn a lot of rules, words or tenses. Then, they think if they keep learning like that, they will speak it in few years. It’s true but what they are learning won’t help them to speak with confidence. Languages are not about grammar and exotic conjugation. Languages need to be spoken. I really emphasize on how French people speak and what you have to know if you want to understand them and be fluent. A couple of advice are to drop that book, interact with native speakers and don’t trust written French.

If you’ve ever tried to read a French text, you know that the spelling can be weird. In French, we like to trap readers. That’s why we put a lot of silent letters and pronounce many different combinations of letters the same way. In this article, I will explain you how you should read the French vowels. In an other article, I will clarify consonant combinations.

Before beginning, I would like to explain a little something about the accents. In French, we use them a lot but they just change the pronunciation of the letter E. If you see an accent on any other vowel, don’t freak out. You’re gonna be fine. So, let’s learn how to read vowels and combinations.

 

Vovels

Some lines have the same color, it means that it’s the same sound with a different spelling.

 

*all those written combinations or letters can be pronounced in 2 different ways. The first one can be very open and the next one very close. Mastering this rule is quite hard and would recquires an article to explain it.

vowel-sounds

Nasal Sounds

If you know a little bit about French, you’ve heard that we have nasal sounds. Those sounds can be very hard to get for English native speakers. In this chart, I just want to introduce the spelling of those sounds. All of the nasal sounds are composed of one or two vowels followed by the letter N. The N can be replaced by M at the end of a word and before B and P.

nasal-sounds

 

*The sound EN have 2 pronunciation. In the combination IEN, EN = IN. So yes, we do have 10 different ways to write the same sounds and, No, French people aren’t crazy. Don’t trust written French

 

We reviewed how to write all the vowel sounds of the French language. In the next article, we’ll learn the consonant combinations.

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