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Hey, guys! Welcome back for more French lessons. Today's lesson will be about la liaison Française which means the French liaison. Last time, I talked a bit about it and now we're going to get further and see all the information about the French liaison. So, you know, there is only one rule, the main rule to remember is a silent letter. We've seen that before. A silent letter is sometimes pronounced when the following word starts with a vowel sound. This is the rule.
Here are two examples - un grand arbre “a big tree”, un grand arbre. You see there is a “D” which is supposed to be silent, but here you have to say it because there is an “A”. It's a vowel sound “A”, arbre, arbre in French so you have to say - un grand arbre. So the idea is you say this word normally like as if this letter was silent - un grand arbre, then you have to add the sound before the beginning of the next word.
Here is another example - un petit oiseau “a small bird”. So here, you have to say petit, silent “T” and then oiseau, un petit oiseau.
We’re going to see all the different letters that are concerned with this “French liaison” la liaison Française. So first, let's start with the most common letter that is involved in la liaison. This is S/ X/Z, but the tricky thing is that the sound created is /z/ so with a “Z” like if it was a “Z” in French. So you have to remember that those three letters, when they're used as a liaison, they are like /z/.
So here are some examples - les arbres “the trees”, deux oiseaux “two birds” deux oiseaux, then you’ve got faux ami. Do you remember? Last lesson, it was about faux ami “false friends” faux ami. So here, you have to say it. Then, here is an example with a “Z” - venez ici. So here, you have to say it, venez ici.
So in those four cases, you always have to do the Z sound, but of course we are in French so there are exceptions and here are the two main exceptions and they both concern the letter “S”. So when you use a verb and there is a final “S” that is added, for example at the second person singular for the present for example - Tu manges une pomme. Here, do you hear it? I didn't do any liaison - Tu manges une pomme. “You’re eating an apple.” I’m not going to make the mistake not to disturb you so here you have to say - Tu manges une pomme.
There is another example with an “S”. Here, it's when like there is a plural so you need to add an “S” here so you say - Ils sont allés au cinéma. Here by the way, there is a liaison, but here, there is no liaison - Ils sont allés like it’s not an exception, but here, because there is a final “S” added to the verb, you have to ignore it - Ils sont allés au cinéma. “They went to the theater.”
This is the first case and then there is this inversion, you know, when you ask a question in French, sometimes when you want to be polite, you have to do an inversion between the subject and the verb. So here, when you say - Sont-ils arrivés? Sont-ils arrivés? “Did they arrive? Did they arrive?” Sont-ils arrivés? Here, you do the liaison, no problem, but here, between the subject and the rest of the sentence, you don't say it so here you don't say it - Sont-ils arrivés? Here, you have to do the liaison like classic, not an exception, but here it's an exception.
Let's check another example - Avez-vous essayer ce numéro? “Did you try this number?” Avez-vous essayer ce numéro? Here again, there is the subject vous “you” and the remaining sentence with an “E” but you don't have to say it because there is an inversion.
So here - Sont-ils arrivés? Avez-vous essayer ce numéro? Because there is this inversion, you don't have to say it.
So that's all for those three letters and yeah, it’s a bit more tricky than the two others, but be careful.
Then, let's move on to the next sound. This is quite an easy one, “P”, and you have to say it like a /p/ so no tricky rule here. But, usually words are not that common, words that end with a “P”. The main example is trop which means like “too” in too much, it’s too much.
So here are some examples - trop aimable which means “too amiable”. When you say it here, you have to say it - trop aimable.
Here, there’s another example - trop heureux which means like “I’m really happy”. So here, again, you have to do the liaison. But you have to be careful because when you say trop heureux, it sounds really like when you say trop peureux which means like “too sissy”, trop peureux, like there is no difference even for a French speaker when you say those two sentences. But be careful because you can sometimes be confused due to the liaison. This is not the only example. This is not the only example where you can find this homophony so be careful. Sometimes, when you hear someone, you will think of another word, but here, it's important to know that with the context of the sentence that trop heureux means heureux and not peureux. It depends.
So that one was an easy one, “P”, but here is another tricky one T/D sounds like a /t/ when you do la liaison Française “the French liaison”. T/D sounds like /t/. Do you remember un grand arbre? I said un grand arbre. So here is like a /t/.
So here are some other examples. Un grand elephant, quite similar to that one, un grand elephant. Un grand elephant like “a big elephant” un grand elephant. You can try to say after me to repeat. It's a good training for you.
Then another example - Un petit abricot “A little apricot” Un petit abricot. So here, you do the liaison. Can you hear it? It's exactly the same sound - un grand elephant, un petit abricot. It’s always like “T”, elephant, abricot.
Here is another example like, again, there can be a confusion of homophony like - Il a tout à gagner, here you do the liaison because there is a vowel. It means like “He has everything to gain.”. When you say that, it sounds like when you say toute with an “E” like in toute la journée like “the whole day” toute la journée, but be careful because it's not the same word. So even for French people, that's a really common mistake like sometimes when they write, they add a “T” here because when they say it orally, the sentence, there is like if there is an /e/ but there is not - Il a tout à gagner. Here, it's just the liaison that makes it sounds like toute, but there is no /e/ so be careful with that - toute la journée “the whole day”.
Again, exceptions in French T/D, two exceptions you can find. First one is with the word et which means “and” - un chien et un chat “a dog and a cat”. Can you hear it? I didn't do anything here. Un chien et un chat, no liaison, neither here nor here, un chien et un chat. It's like it cuts the sentence so you don't say anything related to the liaison with an ET.
The other exception is interrogative adverbs. So when you ask a question like “How are you?” like how in French, you have to say comment, Comment est-il? “How is he like?”, question, Comment est-il? So here, you can hear that I do the liaison, but here, no liaison because this, comment, this is an interrogative adverb so you don't do the liaison here. Same with quand, Quand arrives-tu? Here, no liaison. Quand arrives-tu? “When do you arrive?” Quand arrives-tu? No liaison. You can hear it right?
Next, the letter “R”. This one, the main word is premier. When you say premier, you have to do the liaison if the next word is starting with a vowel sound. So here - le premier enfant “the first child” le premier enfant. Again, it’s like if it was the feminine form of le premier enfant, la premier, le premier, la premier. But here, you have to do the liaison like if it was a feminine form - le premier enfant. So here, there is the liaison.
But there are also an optional case when you can do the liaison but it's not mandatory. It's when you use verbs with “ER” at the end. When you say - aller au cińema like “to go to the theater”, usually French speaker don't say - aller au cińema, but you can say it. The most common way would be to say just aller au cińema, but personally, I don’t do the liaison here, but don’t be surprised if someone say it. So here, you can choose both, but I advise you not to do it actually. For “R”, just remember premier which is probably the main word that is related to this category.
Then there is the last one of the common silent letter which is F. Here, you have to say /f/, the sound /f/ which is a bit tricky and the main word concerned with that is neuf like “9”, neuf, neuf heures, neuf heures which means “9 o’clock / 9 hours” like it means both, 9 o’clock or 9 hours, neuf heures. So here, there is this /v/ sound. Even though, there is an “H” here, because the next letter is a vowel and “H” is silent, it means like in heures, the word starts with a vowel sound. It's not a vowel, but it's a vowel sound so you have to do the liaison here neuf heures.
Next, here is a new letter. Last time, we didn’t mention anything about /n/, the letter “N”, but here, this letter is concerned with the French liaison. This one is a bit more tricky than the other ones.
There are two ways to say the liaison with this letter.
The first one is like for the other cases, a kind of delay of the sound, like if you say - mon enfant, it’s like mon, so you say this word, mon, and then you do enfant, mon enfant, mon enfant, mon enfant, mon enfant.
So this is like the others, but the second case is a feminization which is quite similar with the “R”, but there is some sort of nuances. You have to say - bon apṕetit like if the word bonne was written, bon apṕetit, which is quite different. It's not a delay of the sound. It's like if you say the feminine form bon apṕetit, bon apṕetit.
Same with this example - certain plus ami. It’s quite difficult to say it, but you have to say certain ami. With experience, you will be able to say it properly. Don't focus too much on that. I wanted just to show you that there is a slight difference so don't be surprised, but that's quite difficult to understand when you're not a native speaker.
Then, I would like to show you some forbidden liaisons, three rules that applies for all the letters and that are three really important cases where you don't do the liaison. This is really important so remember them.
First case is between a nominal group and a verb.
So here in the example of - les enfants arriveront parici, and here, there is les enfants, the nominal group, and arriveront which is the verb. Did you hear it? I didn’t say anything here. I did a liaison here like it's common, but here, I didn't do anything, les enfants arriveront parici “the children will arrive from here” or from over there, les enfants arriveront parici. Because here, there is the nominal group and here, there is the verb, you don't say it.
Then, there is this second rule, singular noun followed by adjectives. Maybe it's a bit tricky, but you might get it - un sujet intéressant (an interesting topic). Here, there is a silent “T”, but I don't do the liaison - un sujet intéressant. Can you see the difference between - un sujet intéressant and un grand arbre? Here, this is the noun, this is the adjective, adjective - noun. Here, this is the noun and here the adjective. So here, you don't say the liaison in that case - un sujet intéressant, no liaison.
Same here - un enfant anglais. Here, there is this liaison, but here, there is no liaison like “an English child” un enfant anglais. Liaison, no liaison.
The last one is really famous in France like sometimes with “H” you have to ignore it. The main word is probably the most famous word among French people is - haricot like there is a kind of debate about that word - Jꞌaime les haricots verts. Here, there is an “H” and you don't say it - Jꞌaime les haricots verts. “I like green beans.”
Even though there is a kind of new rule that allows you to say it, I advise you not to say it if you want to sound like a correct French guy.
So here are the three rules you have to remember. Some words with “H” are also like that, but haricot is really the most famous one and you need to remember that one I think.
Let's do some training. Training is a good way to express and to train yourself like to improve. Like this is theory and now training practice. So I'm going to read the example, but before that, I would like you to try to say the sentence and see if you can manage to find where there is the liaison.
So here first sentence. Did you try? Okay. The answer is - Ils ne sont pas assez grand. Ils ne sont pas assez, here, there is the /z/ sound, grand, so here no liaison. So here, only here - Ils ne sont pas assez grand. It means like “They’re not big enough.”. Do you remember it was a sentence from last lesson - Ils ne sont pas assez grand. So here you know why there is this liaison now, okay?
Next sentence, try to say it. The answer is - Les adulte et les enfants aiment manger une glace. Les adulte et les enfants, so here you don’t say it. Les adulte et les enfants aiment manger une glace. Here, you can say manger une glace, but it’s not mandatory, you don't have to do it. So I'm just going to keep it like that - Les adulte et les enfants aiment manger une glace. “Children and adults like to eat ice cream / like eating ice cream.”
Let's move on to the next one. Try to say it! The answer is - Le premier animal que jꞌaieu était un oiseau, like “The first pet I’ve ever got was a bird.” Le premier animal que jꞌaieu était un oiseau. Le premier animal, here, you have to do the liaison. This is this case. Le premier animal que jꞌaieu était un oiseau, so here again, two liaisons, était un, so this /t/ sound, était un oiseau. Here, this is “N”, un oiseau. Le premier animal que jꞌaieu était un oiseau. You have to say it here.
Next one, try to say it - Tu te lèves à neuf heures. So here, there is this “S” which is at the end of a verb. Based on this rule, you don't say it - tu te lèves à neuf heures, even though there is this “A”, you don't say it. Here, you have to say it. You remember the only example with “F” which is “V” sound. Tu te lèves à neuf heures like “you woke up at nine” tu te lèves à neuf heures.
The last sentence is… Try to say it. The answer is - Les petits haricots verts sont aussi bons que les grands. “The small green beans are as good as the biggest ones.” Les petits haricots verts sont aussi, so here, you do the liaison, sont aussi bons que les grands, aussi bons que les grands, so that's all for this sentence - Les petits haricots verts sont aussi bons que les grands. Here, I strongly advise you not to say it - Les petits haricots verts sont aussi bons que les grands. Did you manage to find all the liaison? If you did, that's really good but if you did not, it's okay like you will get used to it.
So far, we've seen this main rule like when there is a vowel sound, a silent letter might be pronounced and here are all the sound S/X/Z for /z/ sound, P for /p/ sound, T/D for /t/ sound, R for /r/ and F for /f/. So remember that. Then, there is also this N which is involved in a lot of liaison. If you can remember that and the three exceptions rules, that's really good. Remember the three rules sometimes with “H”? When a singular noun is followed by an adjective and between nominal group and verbs - les enfants arriveront, nominal groups - verbs. So remember the three rules and all those different sounds and those two exceptions among those two categories. If you remember that, that's perfect like there are some other rules, some other exceptions but they’re the main ones and that's really important if you can memorize it. You will improve with experience and that's a good basis for learning how to do “the French liaison”, la liaison Française. It was Pierre and I hope you enjoyed it and see you next time.


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Wednesday at 06:52 PM
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Hello Gary,

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Gary Duffy
Tuesday at 08:14 PM
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Good clear lesson as always with Pierre but hard to read some of the writing on his white screen when following the practice for example. Time for you to go electronic perhaps? Kind regards

Wednesday at 05:33 PM
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Hi Aug,

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Monday at 03:45 AM
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Wow this is hard