paul emmings

How to pronounce french

This is obviously not to be as satisfying and complete as I wish but we need a start to everything. Let’s start with the obvious!


What to pronounce as a set :

- en / an / ean / em : like in Jean-Paul, temps (je vois la vie en rose)

- in / un / ain / ein : “1” Alain Delon (c’est un endroit)

- er / ai / ai(en)t / é / et : “é”, not “eee-rrr” (like in champs élysées palapalapa)

- ou : “ou”, not “ooo-uuu” (à minuit ou à midi, il y a tout ce que vous voulez)

- o / au(x) / eau(x) : o (aux champs élysées)

- eu : le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (here at 1:33)

- gn : “nieu”, ex : montagne (mountain, f) : montanieu

- on : “on”, not “ooo-nnn” (bonjour, Paris!)

- eil / eille : eyy (bouteille at 0:50)


What NOT to pronounce :

A. The last letters :

- -s, for nouns and verbs : les voitures (the cars) > lé voitur

- -z : nez (nose, m) > né, entrez (come in!) > entré

- -t : le chat (the cat, m) > le cha, tout (everything) > tou

- -d : lourd (heavy, m) > lour / prétend (pretends, 3PS) > préten

- -ps : temps (time/weather, m) : ten / printemps (spring, m) : printen

- -x : bijoux (jewels, m) : bijou / beaux (beautiful, pl m) : bo

- -e : arbre (tree, m) : arbr / chaise (chair, f) : chéz

B. Other letters :

- h- : hêtre (beech, m), humain (human, m), hérisson (hedgehog, m)

- -s-, sometimes : if you see a word with a ô inside, that accent was very likely an s put just after the o (hostel, hospital) ; if you ever see those words in a french text, you are not supposed to pronounce those -s-

- -d-, sometimes, in set expressions : la grand roue (the big wheel) > la gran rou, la grand-mère (the grandmother) > la gran mèr…


The S problem :

“s” can be said either “ss” > Frank Sinatra, or “z” > let’s go to the zoo

- if it’s the first letter, s- is a “ss” > sucre, m (sugar) : ssukr

- “sc” and “ls” together make also “ss” > fils, m (son) : fiss, scie, f (saw) : ssi

- “ss” are “ss”, no shit > poisson, m (fish) : poisson

- a final -s (NB : for a not-verb/not-noun) can be either “ss” or mute : tous as an adjectif indéfini, a comparative, a superlative or a negative = mute (il n’y a plu(s) de pain (there’s no more bread), c’est la plu(s) gentille (she’s the nicest)) ; as a pronom indéfini = “ss” (tous”s” ces hommes)

- when a word finishes with -s and the next starts with a vowel, you make the liaison : vous avez (plural you have) : vou zavé, les éléphants : lé zéléfan


The C problem :

“c” can be said either “ss” > science, f : ssienss, or “k” > carie, f (cavity) : kari

- c+a : “k” > café, m (coffee), cauchemar, m (nightmare) “cochmar”

- c+e : “ss” > cercle, m (circle), céleri, m (celery)

- c+h : ch (no shite) > chaussette, f (sock), chaud, adj (warm) “cho” ; exceptions : orchestre (m), charisme (m), schizophrénie (f), chlore (f, chlorine), choeur (m, chorus), chorale (f, choir), orchidée (f), psychologue (ep), archéologue (ep), chrétien-ne (christian)… : “k”

- c+i : “ss” > citrouille, f (pumpkin), citron, m (lemon)

- c+l : “k” > clé, f (key), classeur, m (binder)

- c+o : “k” > coquin, m (naughty) “cokin”, copain/pine (buddy) “copin”

- c+r : “k” > croquer (to bite), crétin-e (giant moron)

- c+u : “k” > culotte, f (panties), cuir, m (leather)


The G problem :

“g” can be either pronounced ‘softly’ > intelligent-e (smart), as in “jean” (w/o the d), or ‘hardly’ > ex : bague (f, ring), as in “game”

- g+e / g+i / g+y : soft G > gynécologue, gentil-le (nice), imaginaire

- g+a / g+o / g+u / g+consonant : hard G > gaffe (f, blunder), grammaire (f)


The annoying signs situation :

- ¨ : pronounce the two vowels separately : maïs “ma-iss” (m, corn), haïr (to hate) “a-ir”, Noël (m, Christmas) “no-él”

- ç : ss > maçon (bricklayer), français-e (french)

- oe / ae : “e” > oeuf (m, egg) “euf”, coeur (m, heart) “keur”, Laetitia “Létissia”

- ^ : orally I don’t make any difference, it’s often used to make a difference between words with the same spelling (dû/du, tache/tâche), the end

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On this day in music history: March 25, 1976 - “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”, the fifth album by Wings is released. Produced by Paul McCartney, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from January - February 1976. Unlike the previous four Wings albums that feature material written entirely by Paul McCartney, the other members of the band are asked to write and sing songs on the next album. This is done in part as a response to critics that feel that Wings is merely a vehicle for McCartney alone, with the other members acting as just sidemen and is not a “democratic” band. Issued just ten months after their previous album “Venus And Mars”, Wings will mount an extensive world tour in support of its release. In spite of tepid reviews from critics, it is another huge commercial success. It spins off two singles including “Silly Love Songs” (#1 Pop) and “Let ‘Em In” (#3 Pop).Original vinyl LP pressings as well as the singles feature custom label artwork, that is discontinued on later reissues. The album is remastered and reissued in November of 2014 through Hear/Concord Music in four configurations. The first is a two CD set including seven additional bonus tracks, a two CD + one DVD set, a remastered vinyl pressing, and as a high resolution digital download. “Wings At The Speed Of Sound” spends seven weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

If you can’t enjoy being with yourself, you’re gonna run into problems in life, I can promise you that. You’ll become co-dependent on everybody else entertaining you & making you feel good, which largely means you become a pain in the butt to people, a parasite.
—  Paul Chek [x]

Calmo, na paz que difunde
a sombra nos altos ramos,
que o nosso amor se aprofunde
neste silêncio em que estamos.

Coração, alma e sentidos
se confundam com estes ais
que exalam, enlanguescidos,
medronheiros e pinhais.


Fecha os olhos mansamente
e cruza as mãos sobre o seio.
Do teu coração dolente
afasta qualquer anseio.


Deixemo-nos enlevar
ao embalo desta brisa
que a teus pés, doce, a arrulhar,
a relva crestada frisa.


E quando a noite sombria
dos carvalhos for baixando,
o rouxinol a agonia
da nossa alma irá cantando.

—  Paul Verlaine, Em Surdina.