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Lesson Transcript

Hey, guys! My name is Pierre and I'm from France and welcome to this lesson. Today’s lesson will be about what not to pronounce in French. You know, French is really annoying. The way you say it and the way you write it, it's really different, and I'm here to show you that it's not that hard if you know the basics.
So first, I would like to introduce you to the common silent letters. First, there is this letter “H”. This is maybe the most common one. In French, “H” has no pronunciation. There is no aspiration unlike English. When you see “H” alone, it's always silent in French.
For example in homme which means “man”, you don't say the “H”. Same for haricot which means “beans” or for euh which is the French way to say when you're hesitating.
Then there is this combination “CH” and when there is this combination, you have to say it. It's almost never silent. For example cheval which means “horse” and then échec which means “chess”. But of course in French, there are many exceptions and those two words are exceptions; écho which means “echo” like in English and chorale which means “chorale”. “H” is silent here. You have to say just the “C” écho, chorale. Don't focus too much on those exceptions because usually it's always never silent, but if you really want some examples, just try to remember those two because maybe they are the most common ones, but don't focus too much on exceptions again.
Then let's move on to the next letter which is “R”. This letter is quite like never silent, but in some cases like when you see the combination “ER” in verbs, you have not to say the “R”. It's always silent.
For example in the verb manger which means “eat” or parler “to speak”, you have not to say the “R”. It's always that for the verbs with “ER”. Then you've got some other words that are using the same rule like premier. Just try to remember this one. It means first. Here, you don't have to say the “R”.
Let's move on to the next letter which is “X”. This one is really easy. There are three patterns that you have to remember and then after that, you're done. It's really easy. Those patterns are oix, aux, eux. You see, I don't say the “X”; oix, aux, eux. It's always silent.
Here are some examples - “voice” voix in French, no “X”; oiseaux which is the plural for “birds” so like many birds, usually you don't have X but here it's the plural form; and then heureux which is the adjective for “happy”. Many adjectives have this termination and you have to say it and you have not to say “X”.
Let's move on to the next category which is S, T, P, D category. It's almost always silence when it's at the end of a word. To remember that, here is a kind of little trick for you. You can think that French is stupid and in this word, you see all the letters that are almost always silent - S, T, P, D, stupid.
So here is an example - Le petit loup est méchant which means “The little wolf is nasty.” So here there, petit, you don't say the “T”, loup you don't say the “P”, est which is kind of an exception. Here, you see “S” and “T” and you don't have to say it just for the verb to be. So just remember that when you see “EST”. This is a common question. Don't say the “S” and “T”, but usually when you see the word est means “east”, you have to say it. So this rule is only when you see one letter at the end. When you see more than two letters, this is different. Then there is méchant, “T”, you don’t say the “T”.
But of course, there are exceptions and here are the two main exceptions that you have to remember. When you say “son” fils, you have to say the “S” and then there is this little tricky word plus. Sometimes, plus, you don't say it, you don't say the “S”, but when you say the word plus as “more”, you mean more, you have to say it - plus. So when there is the “S”, it means more. When there is not, this “S”, like when you say just plus but it's the same writing, you don't. It means “less”. So this is a kind of tricky word.
Then there is this combination with “S”. “S” is often the mark of the plural, but sometimes it's not and you also don't have to pronunciate when you add it after P, T, or D.
So here are some examples - temps which means “time”, des bouts which is the plural form for “pieces”, des bouts, you add the “S” because of the plural and you don't say “T” or “S”, and then there is des. Tu prends which is “you take” and always, when you conjugate verbs, you often have “D” and “S” and you don't say it. So these are the main letters that are silent - S, T, P, D. French is stupid.
Then, you’ve got some letters that are sometimes silent, sometimes they’re not so you just have to remember which words are like that. Those letters are B, C, F, G, L, Z. So here are some examples like maybe the main ones, just try to remember them and then only experience will help you to know which words are not silent. Plomb which means “plumb”, you don’t say the “B”. “B” is quite rare. Usually, you don’t have words with “B” at the end of the word. Then you have porc which means “pork / pig”. There is the “C” and you don’t say it, porc. Then this adjective gentil with the “L”, you don’t say it, but usually words that ends with an “L”, you have to say it. So this one is really a big exception, gentil. Clef / cerf “key / deer”, there is an “F”, but you don’t say it, but many words, you have to say the “F” so remember that. Then for “G”, long it means “long”. So in English, you have to say the “G”, in French, you don’t say it. Then this one, “Z” you often not say it in French, but sometimes, you have to say it. Here, you don’t say it - chez which means like I’m going to my place / I’m going to your place, translation for to; nez which means “nose”; riz for “rice”; and assez for “enough”. So here are some examples that you have to remember.
So so far, we’ve seen five different patterns; H, R, X, if you see H alone or in “ER” only in verbs and in the adjective premier and X in those three patterns, oix, aux, eux, you have to be silent. You don’t say those letters. So this is the first three letters that are important for you to remember and then there is S, T, P and D which is almost always silent so this is the main one that you have to remember in addition to those ones, S, T, P, and D, French is stupid. Then, you’ve got those letters that are more tricky - B, C, F, G, L, Z and you have to remember some examples and if you really have to remember one category, I think you should really remember with the “D” because there are many words with these exceptions.
Let’s move on to the training part. Here are some sentences. I’m going to read them and you will see which letters are not or are silent. Try by yourself before I’m going to say it. So here is the first one. Did you try? Okay, the answer is - Ils ne sont pas assez grands. So here, there is this “S” that is silent and there is this “T” and this “S” is not silent due to the liaison which is introduced by this vowel “A”. In the next lesson, I’m going to deal with the French liaison so don’t worry about that. For now, it’s only common silent letters. So you have to say it here, but usually, it’s silent so don’t worry for that. Then there is the “Z” and the “D” and “S” that are silent. Ils ne sont pas assez grands which means “They are not big enough.”, Ils ne sont pas assez grands.
Let’s move on to the next one. Did you try? Okay. The answer is Je suis heureux dꞋêtre amoureux. So here again, there is a liaison because “H” is silent and here, there is a vowel, but don’t worry about that. Here, “X” and “X”, you don’t have to say it. Je suis heureux dꞋêtre amoureux. It means “I’m happy to be in love.” Je suis heureux dꞋêtre amoureux.
Next one, this one is a bit longer. Try by yourself. The answer is - Les chevaux courent plus vite que les boeufs. Here, there is an “S”, you don’t say it, here there is an “X”, you don’t say it, the “T” here, the “S” here even though it means more, you don’t say it because here, there is an adjective after that and when you say plus with an adjective, if there is no vowel, you don’t say it. So here, plus vite. This “S” and then boeufs, you don’t say the “F” and you don’t say the “S”, but please be careful. When there is no “S” at the end of bouefs, you have to say the “F”, boeuf, but here, you don’t say it. This sentence means “The horses run faster than the cows.”, which is in French - Les chevaux courent plus vite que les boeufs.
Then, there is this sentence. Try by yourself. The answer is - Mes cheveux sont trop longs.It means “My hair are too long.”, and here all the words have a silent letter, Mes cheveux sont trop longs.
This one now, try by yourself. Jꞌai pris plus de temps que prēvv. So here, there is this silent “S”, but here, you have to say it, Jꞌai pris plus de temps, more time, so you have to say it. It’s different, even though here it’s more, but it’s with an adjective. Here, it’s plus alone so you have to say it because it means more. Then there is temps, “P” and “S”, you don’t say it and this is fine. Jꞌai pris plus de temps que prēvv. “I took more time than expected”. Jꞌai pris plus de temps que prēvv.
Then the last one, try by yourself. This one is a little bit tricky. So the answer is - À lꞌest du parc, ilya des noix qui ont poussés. So here, you can see that I have to say “EST” because it’s not the verb to be, it’s not the verb it. It’s east so in French, you have to say “S” and “T” here so à lꞌest, à lꞌest du parc. Here again, there is a “Z”, but you have to say it. This is not one of the word I wanted you to remember so parc, you have to say it. Ilya des, you don’t say it. Noix, here again, there is the pattern “OIX” so you don’t say it. Qui ont, here there is this silent “T” and then poussés. À lꞌest du parc, ilya des noix qui ont poussés. “At the eastern part of the park, some nuts started to grow.” À lꞌest du parc, ilya des noix qui ont poussés.
So did you try and did you manage to do it? It’s okay if you don’t have a perfect score. It’s practice. You need to learn and it’s normal to fail. So you can watch this video again and try the sentences again and remember all those patterns.
Next lesson, I will introduce you to the French liaison, but for now, it’s only silent letters.
I hope to see you again for more French lessons. Bye guys!

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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Bonjour Wolfgang,

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Wolfgang B Burst
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