The French Alphabet
1. French g=English j, French j=English g, French I=English E 2. Vowel following Q=Mouth in the “ee” formation, say “oo” 3. This is the vowel pronounced when saying the name of the letter Q 4. Rare in French words, can sound like English W or English V 5. X can be French Z, English X, or the English S
6. Y is usually pronounced like the French I
The aigu is placed over the letter “e” like this: é
The “é” sounds like the “a” in babe.
“É” is an ay sound stopped before its completion—as though someone did not let you finish your word! The French “–er” makes the same sound as the “é.” L’accent grave:
Found on the letters “a” and “e”
Looks like: “à” and “è”
The letter à sounds like the “a” in the English word “papa” The letter è sounds like the short “e” in the English word let L’accent circonflexe:
Looks like a hat on top of all the vowels
It puts an extra stress on the vowel so that you hold it a little longer â = the aa sound like father
ê = the eh sound like met
î = the ee sound like meet
ô = the oh sound like hole
û = the uu sound like super
Cédille literally means “little zed” or “little z”
Attached to the bottom of the “c” like this: ç
Makes the C sound like an S
Indicates two vowels written together should be pronounced separately (le Noël – Christmas (no-el) and haïr – to hate (ha-eer) are examples)
Liaison and Elision
Used to help French pronunciation flow more easily
Occurs when the final consonant sound of a word is connected to the first vowel or silent h of the following word. L’Elision
Used for the same reason that a liaison is used: to help the flow of a sentence when a word begins with a vowel Only used when the articles “le” and “la” precede a noun that begins with a vowel or a silent “h” Elisions are obligatory in French: example one must say and write “l’arbre” (the tree) not “le arbre”
“Chien” means “dog” in French
Vowels before “M” and “N”
In the following clusters you begin to pronounce the last letter (the “n” or “m”) but you do not finish the sound. The vowel that comes before the “n” or the “m” is said to be “nasalized.” an – “on” without finishing the n sound – ahn
ain, aim—the en sound in “pan” without finishing the n sound en – same sound as an – ahn
ein, eim—like the “an” sound in “and” without finishing the n or even starting the d in – the en sound in “pen” without finishing the n sound on – “on” with a closed mouth (into a little circle) and do not finish the n sound - ohn un – same as in - uhn
am – same as an, except start an “m”
em – same as am - ahm
im – same as in except with an “m” sound instead of an “n” sound - ihm om – same as on except with an “m” instead of an “n” sound - ohm um – same as im - ihm
Basic Conversation Dialogue
Have a good day.
Je m’appelle _____ .
My name is ______.
Comment vous appelez-vous?
What is your name? (formal/plural greeting)
What is your name? (informal greeting)
À tout à l’heure!
See you later!
*Second e only used when female is speaking
comment ça va?
How’s it going? (informal)
How’s it going? (very inf.)
à tout à l’heure
See you soon
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