How to pronounce accented vowels

Alphabet, accents and special characters

Alphabet, accents and special characters

Can you still remember the first time you read a text in French? First of all, you will probably find the typical French special character and Accents noticed. Now let's take a closer look at what these little signs mean and how they help you.

The alphabet

The French alphabet consists 26 letters and some special character. In German, the umlauts (au, eu, ö, ü and ä) are added. This does not exist in French, but there are a number of orthographic characters such as that Accents, the Cédille (ç), the Trema (ï, ë, ü) and the Ligature (æ, œ). You use these signs mostly in connection with vowels, but also with some consonants. Here is an overview for you:

  • a: â, à, æ
  • e: ê, è, é, ë
  • i: î, ï
  • O: ô, ò, œ
  • u: û, ù, ü
  • c: ç

In this small text you will find a number of special characters hidden:

  • N / Aïma, sa sœur et son père veulent sortir ce soir. Corn or similarù ? Ils ont déjà quelques idéit. Le père veut all au théâtre, mais les filles préfèrent all au cinéma. Le père dit: Ça va, mes filles, ce soir, on va aller au cinéma, corn pour être sûr: La prochaine fois, c'est le théâtre!
  • Naïma, her sister and her dad want to go out tonight. But where? You already have some ideas. Dad wants to go to the theater, but the girls prefer to go to the cinema. Dad says: All right, my daughters, we're going to the cinema tonight, but to be sure: next time it will be the theater!

The accents

In French you will meet three Accents, the accent grave (`), the accent aigu (´) and the accent circonflexe (^). The Accent grave stands above that e, a, O and u. It is directed to the top left. On the e he causes you to do that e pronounced openly, like the German word "Bär".

  • J'ai un père, une mère et un frère. (I have a father, a mother, and a brother.)

The accent on the letter a and u serves only to distinguish homonyms, i.e. identical words, such as la (you and (there) or ou (or and (Where). There is also a nice donkey bridge: No count swims on the Oder! This motto says that the ouif it means "or", without an accent is written.

The Accent aigu is just above that e. It is directed to the top right. He does that e closed and pronounced long like that e in "camel" or in French été (Summer) or égalité (Equality).

The Accent circonflexe can about all vowels stand and looks like a little one top, roof out. The vowels are not influenced in their pronunciation. Small exception: If the accent circonflexe is above the e, the pronunciation becomes like by the Accent grave in a more open e changed.

The ^ replaces a s from the Latin original word that has disappeared in the course of linguistic history, e.g. B .: lat. fenesmeetêtre (Window). In addition, the accent circonflexe is also used to differentiate between homonyms, such as sur (on and sûr (for sure).

The cédille

The cédille is a small s-shaped hook under the c. When pronouncing the c you should pay attention to a few things in French. Follows a c a e, i or y, so a light vowel, that's how it will be c as a [s] pronounced: cinéma (Movie theater). Follows a c a a, O, u or some other dark sound, that is how it will be c as a [k] pronounced: cuisine (Kitchen). That stands c with Cédille, well çthat's how it will be ç also like a [s] pronounced: leçon (Lesson).

The apostrophe

You usually use the apostrophe for Articlesto that Meeting of two vowels to avoid. It replaces the vowel at the end of the first word if the following word has a vowel or h must begins as at leOrdinateur → l'Ordinateur.

The Trema

The trema comes on the vowels i, u, e and rarely on that y in front. It indicates that two consecutive Vowels pronounced separately from each other be like Noël (Christmas) or égoïste (Egoist). You probably know it from the name of the car brand Citroën.

The ligature

Ligature means that two vowels contracted will and how ö or Ä are pronounced, namely œ and æ. Most often you will encounter it in the word sœur (Sister) or in curriculum vitae (Curriculum vitae).

The liaison

From one liaison if you speak a word with you s, n, r or t ends and with the vowel or the h must of the following word merges, as with un‿homme or avant‿hier. So you're talking one here Consonants from the usually mute is. The liaison is compulsory in some words, in others only optional and then a characteristic of an advanced language level.

Nasal vowels

They are particularly typical of French Nasal vowels. These are vowels that are pronounced through the nose when one is behind them n or m stands. Just try to pronounce the following sentence with your nose closed - this way you have pronounced all the vowels of French correctly:

  • Un bon vin blanc. (A good white wine)

And now: Bon courage, just try your hand at the French pronunciation!