Appendix:French pronunciation

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents French pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. It is important to note that the IPA symbols used for vowels in the following table and in articles are the symbols conventionally used in French dictionaries, but are actually based on the pronunciation of European French of more than 100 years ago and no longer accurately represent current pronunciation. See the footnotes for more details.

English approximations are in some cases very approximate, and only intended to give a general idea of the pronunciation. See French phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds. In particular, English vowels are often diphthongs, while the French vowels are not.

French has no word-level stress, so stress marks are not used in transcribing French words. See here for explanation.

Consonants
  IPA   Examples English approximation
b invalid IPA characters ([:]) beau beau
d invalid IPA characters ([:]) doux do
f invalid IPA characters ([:]) fête; pharmacie festival
ɡ invalid IPA characters ([:]) gain; guerre gain
k invalid IPA characters ([:]) cabas; archque; aquarelle; kelvin sky
l invalid IPA characters ([:]) loup[1] loop
m invalid IPA characters ([:]) mou; femme moo
invalid IPA characters ([:]) nous; bonne no
ɲ invalid IPA characters ([:]) agneaux[2] roughly like canyon; Portuguese nh
p invalid IPA characters ([:]) passé spy
ʁ invalid IPA characters ([:]) roue; rhume[3] voiced counterpart of loch (Scottish English); Portuguese rr
s invalid IPA characters ([:]) sa; hausse; ce; garçon; option; scie sir
ʃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) chou; schème; shampooing shoe
t invalid IPA characters ([:]) tout; thé sty
v invalid IPA characters ([:]) vous; wagon view
z invalid IPA characters ([:]) hasard; zéro zeal
ʒ invalid IPA characters ([:]) joue; geai measure
Non-native consonants
ŋ invalid IPA characters ([:]) camping[4] camping
x invalid IPA characters ([:]) jota; khamsin[5] loch (Scottish English)
Semivowels
j invalid IPA characters ([:]) fief; payer; fille; travail yes
w invalid IPA characters ([:]) oui; loi; moyen; web we
ɥ invalid IPA characters ([:]) huit between yet and wet
Vowels
  IPA   Actual
modern
European
Examples English approximation
a invalid IPA characters ([:]) a invalid IPA characters ([:]) patte roughly like pat
ɑ invalid IPA characters ([:]) pâte; glas[6] roughly like father (or like bra in conservative accents and Quebec French)
e invalid IPA characters ([:]) clé; les; chez; aller; pied pay
ɛ invalid IPA characters ([:]) ɛ invalid IPA characters ([:]) mère; est; abdomen; faite best
ɛː invalid IPA characters ([:]) fête; mtre; reine; scène; caisse; rtre[7] says
i invalid IPA characters ([:]) si; île; y bee
ə invalid IPA characters ([:]) ø invalid IPA characters ([:]) le; reposer[8] again (often elided)
ø invalid IPA characters ([:]) ceux; jne roughly like bird (British English)
œ invalid IPA characters ([:]) sœur; jeune bird (British English)
o invalid IPA characters ([:]) sot; hôtel; haut; bureau roughly like law (British English) or note (American English)
ɔ invalid IPA characters ([:]) sort; minimum similar to not (British English) or caught (American English)[9]
u invalid IPA characters ([:]) coup too
y invalid IPA characters ([:]) tu; sûr judas
Nasal
ɑ̃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) ɒ̃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) sans; champ; vent; temps; Jean; taon[10] roughly like want (British English) or haunt (American English)
ɛ̃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) æ̃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) vin; impair; pain; daim; plein; Reims; bien[11] roughly like pant
œ̃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) un; parfum[12] roughly like pant (or, in conservative accents or Quebec French, roughly like burnt but without pronouncing the r).
ɔ̃ invalid IPA characters ([:]) õ invalid IPA characters ([:]) son; nom[13] roughly like don't
 
Suprasegmentals
IPA Example Explanation
ˈ invalid IPA characters ([:g]) moyen /mwaˈjɛ̃/[14] phrasal stress
. pays /pe.i/[15] syllable boundary
les agneaux /lez‿aˈɲo/ liaison[16]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The French /l/ is clear, similar to the pronunciation in Spanish and German but unlike the dark /l/ of American English.
  2. ^ In European French, /ɲ/ is often pronounced [nj] .
  3. ^ The French rhotic varies from region to region, but is usually uvular. The more common pronunciations include a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ], a uvular trill [ʀ], and [χ] (after voiceless consonants).
  4. ^ In European French, /ŋ/ is often pronounced [ŋɡ].
  5. ^ /x/ may be replaced by /ʁ/.
  6. ^ In European French, /ɑ/ is normally replaced by /a/.
  7. ^ In European French, /ɛː/ is normally replaced by /ɛ/. In Quebec French, /ɛː/ is often pronounced [aɛ̯].
  8. ^ In French, /ə/ is pronounced with some lip rounding [ɵ̞]; for a number of speakers, it is also more front and may even be phonetically identical to the vowel of neuf [nœf]. In European French, [ə] is rounded and fronted, making it phonetically similar to [ø].
  9. ^ In European French at least, /ɔ/ is partly unrounded, leading it to have somewhat of the quality of nut.
  10. ^ In European French, /ɑ̃/ is actually pronounced [ɒ̃], with rounding. In Quebec French, /ɑ̃/ is pronounced [ã].
  11. ^ In European French, /ɛ̃/ is actually pronounced [æ̃]. In Quebec French, /ɛ̃/ is pronounced [ẽ].
  12. ^ In European French, /œ̃/ is normally replaced by /ɛ̃/, pronounced [æ̃].
  13. ^ In European French, /ɔ̃/ is actually pronounced [õ].
  14. ^ Stress falls on the last full syllable of a phrase, except in emphatic speech.
  15. ^ Used sparingly.
  16. ^ Latent final consonant is pronounced before a following vowel sound.