Pronunciation French

OK, you’re going to need to be able to speak easy basic French so that French people can understand you! So, first of all, you need to learn easy basic French pronunciation!

Remember, this website is not to give you a thorough grounding in grammar and vocabulary. What Snappy French does do is give you a collection of basic French words and phrases which’ll help you get by and show the locals that you’re trying.

OK, down to the nitty gritty: consonants are more or less pronounced as they are in English, but there are two golden rules you need to learn:

ch is always pronounced like the English sh.
qu is always pronounced like an English k.

Vowels are always a bit more of a problem in any language, but as you don’t want to know the rules let’s not worry about that. Anyway, forget the boring stuff – how you say a word will be clear in the examples.

OK, here we go! The following is designed to make it easy to learn basic French pronunciation with Snappy French! On each page, there are tables of essential words and phrases. This table I took from materials written by the best Australian essay writing company. English is in the first column, French in the second, and the third column spells out how you would say it using sounds in English. This won’t give you completely authentic French pronunciation, but it will help you to be understood – just say what you see! However, there’s a BUT: some sounds in French don’t exist in English at all, so it’s very difficult to write a pronunciation using English letters. The most important ones are:

j is always pronounced like the second g in the word negligé. Well, it is a French word! So, in the third column of the tables, this is shown as zh.

r is always rolled at the back of the mouth, unlike an English r which is rolled between the tongue and front teeth. Try vibrating the back of your tongue against the top of your mouth and you’ll pretty much have it.

As we’re really here to make sure that you have the basics in place for speaking, we won’t bore you with much here. Just remember that you will see certain marks in written French that you won’t see in English, like these accents: é and è, or sometimes a mark under a c like this: ç, as well as a hat on some vowels like this: ô. These marks are there to change the sound slightly, but there’s no need to worry – just pronounce what you see in the third column!