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French Course with Mathilde, lesson 23 – Nasal vowels

French Phonetics about nasal vowels: the vowels that come before consonants M and N and have to be pronunced ina different way.

Nasal vowels are vowels that come before the consonants –M and –N and are pronounced in a peculiar way:

–          AN, AM, EN, EM, AON, AEN are pronounced [ɑ̃] as in enfant (child)

–          IN, IM, YN, YM, AIN, AIM, EIN, EIM, UN, UM are pronounced [ɛ̃] as in pain (bread)

–          ON, OM are pronounced [ɔ̃] as in coton (cotton)

–          OIN is pronounced [wɛ̃] as in moins (less)

–          IEN  is pronounced [jɛ̃] as in bien (good)

Attention! there is no nasal sound in case of double m or double n, as in pomme (apple) or italienne (Italian), and when m or n are followed by –e, as in moine (monk)

Do you remember that  we also talked about liaison? when you do the liaison with a word ending with a nasal vowel, you have to pronounce the final –n or –m. This phenomenon is called denasalisation. Compare:

Bon [bɔ̃] – bon ami [bɔnami]

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