Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Virginie: Bonjour!
Eric: Eric here. Pronunciation season 1, Lesson 2. French Consonants. Hello and welcome to pronunciation, season 1 at frenchpod101.com, where we study modern French in a fun, educational format.
Virginie:So brush up on the French that you started learning long ago or start learning today.
Eric: Hey thanks for being with us here today Virginie. What are we going to be looking at in this lesson?

Lesson focus

Virginie:Today you will work on your French consonants pronunciation.
Eric: And the consonant of the sound that is not obstructed by either your lips, your tongue or your teeth.
Virginie: Uh that’s a very scientific definition Eric.
Eric: I just pulled that out of my dictionary.
Virginie: French language has a total of 18 consonant sounds.
Eric: And some of those are French specific right?
Virginie: Well we share most of them with other languages but of course English speakers for example have a really hard time pronouncing some of them.
Eric: Like the "r".
Virginie:Yes "ra", “re”, “ri”, “ro”, “ru”.
Eric: Beautiful. Was that some kind of poem?
Virginie:Yes it is.
Eric: But that is a pretty challenging sound though right?
Eric: Except for the Germans.
Virginie: Oh Germans use it way more than the French do.
Eric: So do you have a pronunciation tip for us?
Virginie:Yes the "r" sound comes from your throat and so does the sound "g".
Eric: Well pretty much all of us know how to make a “g”.
Virginie:Yes. So we are going to make that "r" happen by linking it with "g".
Eric: Okay for example "gros" which is spelled g-r-o-s and means “big”.
Virginie:Yes "gros". Now you know the feeling you have in the back of your mouth when you say "g"?
Eric: We will try to force it a little and your "r" should come out.
Virginie:Don’t hesitate to exaggerate at first.
Eric: And don’t mind the people around you on the bus.
Virginie:At the worst, they will think that you have a frog in your throat.
Eric: Another good word to practice your "r" is "gras" which means fat, gras. Go ahead and repeat after Virginie.
Virginie: "gros", “gras”, "gros", “gras”.
Eric: Right. Now there is another similar sound right?
Virginie:Yes it’s the "rr" sound and it’s called the "Georges Brassens rr".
Eric: And George Brassens was a French singer from the 50s. This is a little bit of a more old French sound.
Virginie:Yeah it’s not a very common sound nowadays. It’s almost completely disappeared.
Eric: But you can hear it in some of Edith Piaf’s songs for example.
Virginie:Yeah it sounds like this: "emportée par la foule"...
Eric: Wow! What a singer! Very nice Virginie. Do you have any other sounds for us?
Virginie:Yes it has to do with dessert.
Eric: Great. I am all ears! I am assuming that this would be not ordering a dessert when you want to get a dessert.
Virginie:Exactly and this is a common mistake because the words dessert and desert sound very much alike in French.
Eric: And they do in English too, actually.
Virginie:That’s true. Well in French though, the difference is between the two sounds "s" and "z".
Eric: Okay. So let’s say I’m at a nice restaurant in Lyon.
Virginie: Lyon, good idea. I am tired of only hearing about Paris.
Eric: And Lyon has a great culinary tradition. So I am done with my delicious "steak tartare" and I’d like something sweet. What should I ask the waiter for?
Virginie:You will ask for like "la carte des desserts" which is the dessert menu.
Eric: So dessert is "dessert" d-e-s-s-e-r-t.
Virginie:Absolutely, two “s”.
Eric: And what if I mix "s" and "z" and actually ask for a "désert".
Virginie:Well the waiter then might bring you a cup of sand.
Eric: Ah okay because I am asking for a desert. Okay so to sum it up, "dessert" is d-e-s-s-e-r-t and it means dessert.
Virginie:Yes and "désert" which is desert just one s is desert.
Eric: If you are reading a text, obviously the spelling is going to help you enough. It’s "s" or "z".
Virginie:Yeah it usually does. For example, at the beginning of a word, the letter S is pronounced "s". At the end of a word, it can be either silent or pronounced "s".
Eric: And when squeezed in between two vowels, it’s generally going to be pronounced "z".
Virginie:Yes and ss is always pronounced "s" just like in dessert "dessert".
Eric: Okay I think it’s time for a little more practice. Why don’t we talk about the difference between "v" and "b".
Virginie:Yeah that might be helpful for Spanish speakers out there. There maybe a few Spanish students listening to our show.
Eric: So what’s the difference between "v" and "b".
Virginie:Well, when you say "v" you use your lower lip and your upper teeth. They sort of vibrate against each other.
Eric: I see and "b" is sort of like a percussive effect between your two lips.
Eric: Interesting. So when a sound is not part of your language, obviously it’s going to be a little harder to pronounce.
Virginie: Absolutely. Well let’s try a little phonetic exercise. I am going to say two different sentences and you out there try to hear the difference.
Eric: Let’s go ahead.
Virginie: First sentence "Je vois la mer." and second sentence "Je bois la mer."
Eric: I heard the difference but I think that’s because those two sounds actually exist in English. Let’s hear one more time with the translation.
Virginie:"Je vois la mer."
Eric: I see the sea.
Virginie:And "Je bois la mer."
Eric: I drink the sea.
Virginie:Then, once you can hear the difference between "v" and "b" you can start practicing.
Eric: Okay great and what’s next?
Virginie: A little practice tip. You can practice by saying some words over and over like "vague" which is wave and "bague" which is ring.
Eric: "vague" v-a-g-u-e, wave, and "bague" b-a-g-u-e, ring.
Virginie:Yeah include those into sentences that you repeat until you feel the difference.
Eric: Great. Okay I think we are done with the consonants practice but I have one last question for you. Who has the easiest time pronouncing French?
Virginie:Well I know it’s quite easy for German people and it’s easy for Italians too.
Eric: And what about English speakers?
Virginie:Well they do a pretty good job. Okay well thank you guys for listening to us yelling crazy sounds.


Eric: And thank you for yelling with us. That just about does it for today but before we go, we want to tell you about a way to drastically improve your pronunciation.
Virginie:It’s the voice recording tool.
Eric: Right. The voice recording tool in the premium learning center.
Virginie: Record your voice with a click of a button.
Eric: And then play it back just as easily.
Virginie: So you record your voice and then listen to it.
Eric: And compare with native speakers.
Virginie: And adjust your pronunciation.
Eric: This is going to really help you improve your pronunciation.
Virginie: Okay thank you all, au revoir!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What is the French consonant you have the most difficulty with?

Thursday at 01:06 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Salut !

Where Can I get the Flash App? I have searched Playstore on my Android. I can't find it.

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:59 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


Regarding the Voice Recorder tool please note that it is developed by Flash, therefore in order to take full advantage of this feature, Flash needs to be installed and allowed on your browser and device.

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Thursday at 08:26 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Bonsoir !

I am subscribed to Premium Learning but I can't find the voice recording tool in Vocabulary.

Can you please look into it?

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 07:18 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Bonjour öztürk !

Vous êtes toujours aussi enthousiaste, bravo !

Quelle est votre leçon préférée ?

Bonne journée

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Saturday at 06:24 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Merci beaucoup et c'est génial!

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 05:42 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Bonjour Angela !

Merci pour votre commentaire ! Vous m'avez fait rire ! :laughing:

Comment allez-vous ?

Bonne journée et à bientôt !

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Angela K. Lacey
Monday at 11:35 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

So, basically, if I am choking on a gigantic jaw breaker, I can properly speak French?:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 10:13 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hola Elena,

gracias por tu comentario! If you need any help please let us know!


Thursday at 12:54 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Gracias por pensar en las personas que hablamos español como primera lengua :smile: