Online French Tutor Network

French Beginner 1 – French Sounds


PRACTICE 1 – LISTEN AND MEMORIZE THE FOLLOWING SOUNDS

Alphabet

French uses the 26 letters of the alphabet plus a few “add-ons”: accents on vowels (è, é, etc…) or cedilla (ç).

When spelling your name -during a call for example- you will have to know how letters are said in French:

A Audio. Press to listen! B Audio. Press to listen! C Audio. Press to listen! D Audio. Press to listen! E Audio. Press to listen!
F Audio. Press to listen! G Audio. Press to listen! H Audio. Press to listen! I Audio. Press to listen! J Audio. Press to listen!
K Audio. Press to listen! L Audio. Press to listen! M Audio. Press to listen! N Audio. Press to listen! O Audio. Press to listen!
P Audio. Press to listen! Q Audio. Press to listen! R Audio. Press to listen! S Audio. Press to listen! T Audio. Press to listen!
U Audio. Press to listen! V Audio. Press to listen! W Audio. Press to listen! X Audio. Press to listen! Y Audio. Press to listen!
Z Audio. Press to listen!

Final consonant

Remember this before going further: Most of the time, do not pronounce final d, s, t or x in French words.

As an example, red letters are not pronounced in the following words:

  • un rebond (a bounce)
  • français (French)
  • un saut (a jump)
  • heureux (happy)

 

[é] sound

You will hear “é” in the following examples.

Note that “-er” or “-ez” at the end of a word is pronounced the same way as “é“.

Many French verbs in the infinitive end with -er.

French English
l’éducation
Audio. Press to listen!
education
révéler
Audio. Press to listen!
to reveal
Hervé Foucher
Audio. Press to listen!
my name!
aimer
Audio. Press to listen!
to love

[on] sound

You will hear “on” in the following examples.

French English
une maison
Audio. Press to listen!
a house
un garçon
Audio. Press to listen!
a boy
comprendre (*)
Audio. Press to listen!
to understand
un combat (*)
Audio. Press to listen!
a fight

note (*) that “on” before “p” or “b” is written “om“.

However, there is one particular case: un bonbon Audio. Press to listen! (a candy/sweet).

[ou] sound

You will hear “ou” in the following examples.

Hint: Pronouce “ou” like “oo“.

French English
la tour Eiffel
Audio. Press to listen!
the Eiffel tower
mourir
Audio. Press to listen!
to die
un mouvement
Audio. Press to listen!
a movement
vous
Audio. Press to listen!
you

 

[oi] sound

You will hear “oi” in the following examples.

French English
une fois
Audio. Press to listen!
once
un toit
Audio. Press to listen!
a roof
un poisson
Audio. Press to listen!
a fish
croire
Audio. Press to listen!
to believe

[oin] sound

You will hear “oin” in the following examples.

French English
moins
Audio. Press to listen!
minus (-)
un point
Audio. Press to listen!
a point
loin
Audio. Press to listen!
far away
un soin
Audio. Press to listen!
a care

[ai] sound

You will hear “ai” in the following examples.

French English
une maison
Audio. Press to listen!
a house
un balai
Audio. Press to listen!
a broom
une caisse
Audio. Press to listen!
a cash register
une naissance
Audio. Press to listen!
a birth

[en] sound

You will hear “en” in the following examples.

Note that “en” and “an” are pronounced the same way.

French English
encore
Audio. Press to listen!
again
comprendre
Audio. Press to listen!
to understand
les parents
Audio. Press to listen!
the parents
un camembert (*)
Audio. Press to listen!
a camembert (=a French cheese)

note (*) that “en” before “p” or “b” is written “em“.

French English
un enfant
Audio. Press to listen!
a child
un croissant
Audio. Press to listen!
a croissant (French speciality)
le gagnant
Audio. Press to listen!
the winner
un tambour (**)
Audio. Press to listen!
a drum

note (**) that “an” before “p” or “b” is written “am“.

[eu] sound

You will hear “eu” in the following examples.

French English
l’heure
Audio. Press to listen!
the time
la peur
Audio. Press to listen!
the fear
une fleur
Audio. Press to listen!
a flower
un auto-stoppeur
Audio. Press to listen!
a hitchhiker

N.B. The past participle of the verb avoir (to have) is written eu and is prononced like the letter U Audio. Press to listen!.

[in] sound

You will hear “in” in the following examples. Note that “in“, “ain” and “ein” are pronounced the same way.

French English
un magasin
Audio. Press to listen!
a shop
Tintin
Audio. Press to listen!
Tintin (comics hero)
malin
Audio. Press to listen!
clever
un timbre (*)
Audio. Press to listen!
a stamp

note (*) that “in” before “p” or “b” is written “im“.

French English
un pain
Audio. Press to listen!
a bread
un copain
Audio. Press to listen!
a friend
un train
Audio. Press to listen!
a train
demain
Audio. Press to listen!
tomorrow

 

French English
la peinture
Audio. Press to listen!
the paint
la ceinture
Audio. Press to listen!
the belt
un frein
Audio. Press to listen!
a brake
plein
Audio. Press to listen!
full

PRACTICE 2 – PRONOUNCE AND RECORD THE FOLLOWING WORDS

  1. BON
  2. JOUR
  3. BIEN
  4. VA
  5. VAIS
  6. SOIR
  7. ENCORE
  8. VOUS
  9. TU
You can use the following recorder from this page and save the audio file.
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