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French Course with Mathilde, lesson 11 – Vowels and diphthongs

Phonetics is very important if you want to learn french language, french phonetics has some peculiarities like vowels and diphthongs. Indeed, as in English, some sounds don’t correspond to their spelling and you will need all your concentration for this lesson.

Les voyellesthe vowels

First of all, we’ll consider the vowels, because E and O have different pronunciations: o can be closed [o] as in photo (photo) or open [ɔ] as in port (port), e is silent at the end of a word or of a syllable, as in Madame (Mrs) and petite (little) it can be pronounced [ə] as in je (I) [ɛ] as in père (father), or [e] as in clé (key).

In French, the groups of two or more vowels, that’s to say the diphthongs, have a fixed pronunciation.

OI is pronounced [wa] as in moi (me) OU is pronounced [u] as in tout (all) AI is pronounced [e] as in paix (peace) or [ɛ] as in paire (pair)
EI is pronounced [e] as in enseignant (teacher) or [ɛ] as in reine (queen) AU, EAU are pronounced [o] as in beau (beautiful) EU is pronounced [ø] as in eux (them) or [œ] as in peur (fear)


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