Vowel sounds

Generally, French vowel sounds are short and don't glide Into other vowels. Note that the ey In café Is close to the English sound, but It's shorter and sharper.

symbol

english equivalent

transliteration

a

run

tasse

tas

al

aisle

travail

tra-vai

air

fair

faire

fair

e

bet

fesses

fes

ee

see

lit

lee

eu

nurse

deux

deu

ew

ee pronounced with rounded lips

tu

tew

ey

as in 'bet', but longer

musée

moo-zey

0

pot

pomme

pom

00

moon

chou

shoo

There are also four nasal vowels in French. They're pronounced as if you're trying to force the sound out of your nose rather than your mouth. In French, nasal vowels cause the following nasal consonant sound to be omitted, but a 'hint' of what the implied consonant is can sometimes be heard. We've used nasal consonant sounds (m, n, ng) with the nasal vowel to help you produce the sound with more confidence. Since the four nasal sounds can be quite close, we've simplified it this way:

symbol

english equivalent

french example

transliteration

om/on/ong

like the 'o'in'pot', plus nasal consonant sound

mouton

moo-ton

um/un/ung

similar to the 'a' in 'bat', plus nasal consonant sound

magasin

ma-ga-zun

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