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2.5: Phonétique

  • Page ID
    219884
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    Les voyelles /i/, /y/, /u/

    English speakers, especially those from the southern US, tend to "stretch" or distort vowels giving rise to what are called diphthongs. A diphthong is actually a combination of two sounds, a vowel and a glide or semi-vowel. Pronounce the English words I, out, and boy and you will note that the vowel actually changes its or sound. Try saying each word slowly and note how your jaw moves during the vowel.
    Unlike English, the vowels in French are never followed by a glide. You must learn to keep your lips, tongue and jaw stationary during the pronunciation of a French vowel, which will result in a pure sound. If you relax your mouth or jaw, you will produce diphthongized vowels that will give your French an American accent.

    Like all French vowels, the vowels /i/ /y/ /u/ require much greater muscular tension than do English vowels. Listen to the following words and note the difference in vowel quality (tense vs. lax) between French and English:

    French (tense) English (lax)
    si sea
    qui key
    Emilie Emily
    parti party
    tout too
    tôt tow
    chaud show

    Activité 1. Lisez les mots suivants.

    /i/ sorti parti pris mis
    /y/ vu cru bu eu
    /u/ ou chou loup sous

    Aknowledgment: some parts of this page are partially adopted from Francais Interactif.


    2.5: Phonétique is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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