Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

5.5: Phonétique

  • Page ID
    219911
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    La liaison

    French has a system of phonetic linking called liaison:

    Example: Shasta joue avec ses ͜ amis.

    Liaison is similar to the distinction in English between a and an:

    Example: A boy eats a banana. A boy eats an ͜ apple.

    Depending on the environment, liaison can be either obligatory (obligatoire), optional (facultatif), or forbidden (interdit).
    Below is a summary of some of these environments and the appropriate level of liaison.

    Liaison obligatoire

    1. determiner + noun

    Examples: un ͜ acteur, son ͜ ordinateur, les ͜ écrans, mes ͜ amis, trois ͜ enfants

    2. determiner + adjective / adjective + noun

    Examples: les ͜ autres ͜ entreprises, les petites ͜ annonces, les grands ͜ écrivains

    3. after a preposition or a short adverb

    Examples: sans ͜ elle, très ͜ utile

    4. pronoun + verb

    Examples: ils ͜ écrivent, on ͜ apprécie

    Liaison interdite

    1. singular noun + adjective

    Example: un client×honnête

    2. any noun that is a subject + the following verb

    Example: Vincent×arrive. L'enfant×est petit.

    3. before h-aspiré

    Example: des×haricots verts, ces×hérissons

    Liaison facultative

    1. after trop, pas, plus

    Example: trop important ou trop ͜ important, pas intelligent ou pas ͜ intelleigent

    2. plural noun + adjectif

    Example: les langues autochtones ou les langues ͜ autochtones, trois ͜ enfants adorables ou trois ͜ enfants ͜ adorables

    Le H aspiré

    The words starting with an H aspiré are of a Germanic origin. By contrast, words that start with an H muet are of a Latin origin. Long time ago, the H aspiré was not silent, it was pronounced. Now, although it is silent, H aspiré still behaves like a consonant: there is no élision before words beginning with an H aspiré and no liaison either. Try to remember which words have an H aspiré at the onset.

    Examples of H aspiré: la honte, la haine, un× handicap, le héros, la Hollande, des× hérissons, un× hibou, le hasard, la hiérarchie.

    Lisez les expressions suivantes.

    ces petits enfants

    ils arrivent

    deux héros

    pas encore

    de grands éléphants

    le premier hôtel

    aux écoliers

    aux anciens invités

    des étudiants ennuyés

    un petit éléphant

    des handicaps

    en Égypte

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


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

    • Was this article helpful?