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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate French Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn the remaining 9 French vowels.
ɛ, ɛ̃, œ, œ̃, ɔ, ɔ̃, a, ɑ, ɑ̃
Some vowels may be hard for you to distinguish, especially for English speakers, so make sure you listen carefully!
Are you ready?
Then let's get started!
The first vowel is...
ɛ
faite (done [feminine])
peine (penalty)
est (east)
It's identical to the E sound in the word 'red'.
ɛ, ɛ (slowly)
ɛ, ɛ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɛ̃
impair (odd)
pain (bread)
daim (deer)
This is identical to the previous sound, except with nasality.
When you pronounce vowels normally, the sound is made by expelling air through the mouth. But with nasal vowels, you expel air through the mouth AND the nose. Try to pronounce the sound without obstruction from the lips, tongue, or throat. The idea is to direct the passage of air into the cavity that exists behind that small, fleshy part that hangs down from the roof of your mouth.
Try to pronounce the E in the word 'red' while pronouncing it through your nose.
ɛ̃, ɛ̃ (slowly)
ɛ̃, ɛ̃ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
œ
sœur (sister)
jeune (young)
peur (fear)
This is identical to the two previous sounds, except that the lips are rounded and there is no nasality.
Try saying the word E sound in 'red' while rounding your lips.
(pause)
Now listen to the native speaker.
œ, œ (slowly)
œ, œ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
œ̃
brun (brown)
un (a [masculine])
parfum (perfume)
This is identical to the previous sound, except *with* nasality.
Try saying the E sound in 'red' while rounding your lips and pronouncing it through your nose.
(pause)
Now listen to the native speaker
œ̃, œ̃ (slowly)
œ̃, œ̃ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɔ
minimum (minimum)
sort (fate)
école (school)
It's the same as the OU sound in the word 'ought'.
ɔ, ɔ (slowly)
ɔ, ɔ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɔ̃
champignon (mushroom)
nom (name)
son (sound)
This is identical to the previous sound, except that there's nasality.
Try saying the OU sound in the word 'ought' while pronouncing it through your nose.
ɔ̃, ɔ̃ (slowly)
ɔ̃, ɔ̃ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
a
femme (woman)
banane (banana)
patte (leg/paw/hoof)
It sounds very similar to the A sound in the word 'pat', though not as whiny.
Try moving your tongue further back into the mouth, so that it assumes a more centralized position. It should sound a little deeper as a result, and instead of a whiny sound, it now has a 'darker' quality to it.
The resulting vowel should sound somewhere in between the A sounds of the words 'pat' and 'bra'.
Listen to Mailys.
a, a (slowly)
a, a (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɑ
pâte (dough)
glas (tolling bell)
hâte (haste)
It's identical to the A sound in the word 'father'.
ɑ, ɑ (slowly)
ɑ, ɑ (slowly)
And the last vowel is...
ɑ̃
sans (without)
champ (field)
temps (weather)
This is identical to the previous sound, except that there's nasality.
Try saying the A in 'father' while pronouncing it through your nose.
Listen to Mailys.
ɑ̃, ɑ̃ (slowly)
ɑ̃, ɑ̃ (slowly)
Well done! You've just another 9 vowel sounds in French.
ɛ, ɛ̃, œ, œ̃, ɔ, ɔ̃, a, ɑ, ɑ̃
You can now pronounce any vowel that could possibly appear in the French language!
Isn't that great?
Well that's it for vowels.
In the next lesson, you'll start learning consonant sounds.
Which vowel sound was the most difficult for you to learn? Please comment and share your thoughts.
See you in the next Ultimate French Pronunciation Guide lesson!

16 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Which vowel sound was the most difficult for you to learn? Please comment and share your thoughts!

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 05:06 PM
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Bonjour Karl,

Yes, that's right!


Bonjour Tanvi,

Which sounds are still unclear exactly? :-)


Bonne journée,

Marion

Team FrenchPod101

Tanvi
Monday at 04:23 PM
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Not able to distinguish the sounds, any other lesson for this? Thanks

Karl
Friday at 08:00 AM
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Why does the graphic at 1:12 show rounded lips? This is not mentioned in the narrative. Should this sound be pronounced with rounded lips or not?


Merci,


Karl

FrenchPod101.com
Wednesday at 01:55 AM
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Bonjour Ana, Kim et Don,


Merci pour vos commentaires !


Nous allons prendre notes de vos remarques.


A bientôt !

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Ana
Thursday at 02:56 AM
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I don't understand why there's a backwards C for an "o" sound? I have also never seen a backwards C written in French. Please clarify!!!

Kim
Thursday at 10:59 PM
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When Maily pronounced œ̃ her lips weren't rounded, so it sounded like ɛ̃.

Please correct me if i am wrong?

Don
Friday at 10:00 AM
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These pronunciation videos are great!! It helps so much to be able to see the mouth positions!

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:02 AM
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Bon courage Nina et merci pour votre commentaire !


Continuez comme ça ! :thumbsup:


A bientôt et bonne semaine !

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Nina
Tuesday at 11:19 AM
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I think that this is the area that I need to study the most. I will be watching this video a lot :grin:

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 01:03 PM
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Hello Mark,


Thank you for posting.


The blue dot is meant to indicate where you should focus your muscles to produce the sound.


If the blue dot appears on the tongue, it indicates approximately where and which part of the tongue (how far back-forward, and how high-low) you should move it to, and the point where you should feel a slight strain / air pressure — if any.


If the blue dot appears on the lips, it indicates that you should either round or purse your lips to produce the sound.


For consonant sounds in other lessons, if the blue dot touches any of the gums or teeth, it is showing the contact point.


I hope that helps!

Let us know if you have any question.


Cheers,

Lena

Team FrenchPod101.com