French Pronunciation: the Liaison

French Pronunciation: the Liaison

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Added by January 27, 2022

THE LIAISON: IMPROVE YOUR FRENCH PRONUNCIATION

Knowing how to make a liaison in French is key if you want to improve your pronunciation of the language. Watch this video if you’d like to know more and enjoy a new feature: free downloadable exercises to work on the French liaison in your own time, available HERE!

HOW TO MAKE A LIAISON IN FRENCH

Hi guys ! Première vidéo de 2022. On va parler d’amour, et de prononciation! OUI OUI, love and pronunciation! Can’t see the link between the two ? Well, trust us, romantic Frenchies, to dare make that link and call it UNE LIAISON. Let’s start with some pronunciation…

FAIRE LA LIAISON ENTRE DEUX MOTS consists in linking two words together. The first word needs to end with a consonant, and the next one needs to start with a vowel sound. 

Example : un ami, – normally you don’t pronounce the « n » of « un » since it’s a nasal sound, but with the liaison you do ! → un ami (and not un / ami)

Here’s another example : les [z] amis – watch out here, the « s » of LES turns into a « z » sound

DIFFERENT TYPES OF LIAISONS

  • un [n] amour, des [z] amours
  • J’ai neuf amis – Here the letter “f” turns into a “v” sound. [neuvami]
  • On part quand elle arrive. – Here notice that the « d » of « quand » turns into a [t] sound
  • Ce rendez-vous est trop important – Liaison with the letter « p »
  • un hôtel, dix hôtels – here you can notice that when making the liaison with the letter “x”, as in “dix”, that “x” turns into a “z” sound. Also, the word HOTEL starts with a silent « h », and we make the liaison too.

WHEN TO AVOID THE FRENCH LIAISON

Note that some words starting with an « h » stop the liaison from happening. Why ? I wish I knew. It’s just the way it is, I guess.

Examples :

  • Je voudrais des haricots. – don’t say [day-zareeko]… not very pretty !
  • Mon livre est en haut. – EST and EN are linked, but not EN and HAUT.

One last thing about this LIAISON. English speakers tend to try and pronounce the last consonant of the first word first, and then read the second word separately, as in : les amis [layz – amee] 

But what you should do is pronounce the last consonant of the first word as part of the first syllable of the second word. Don’t say [layz -amee] but [lay-zamee]. Hear the difference ?

Here are other super common liaisons we use in French : 

  • ELLE A should be pronounced ELLE A
  • IL A – IL A
  • IL EST – IL EST
  • ELLE EST – ELLE EST
  • ON A – ON A

Within a sentence, we’ll have :

  • IL EST À LA MAISON – double liaison here.

OBLIGATORY AND OPTIONAL LIAISONS IN FRENCH

Note that some liaisons should definitely be made and others are kind of optional. It’s would be too long to tell you which ones are which here, but note that the optional liaisons may make you sound slightly more formal. Having said that, there’s one liaison that foreigners tend to make and that should never be made, it’s the one with the word ET.

  • IL EST PARTI ET ELLE EST RENTRÉE CHEZ ELLE.
  • JE VOUDRAIS UN VERRE ET UNE BOUTEILLE DE VIN.

That’s it for prononciation. MAIS OÙ EST L’AMOUR DANS TOUT ÇA ? Never very far, don’t you worry. Because in French, the word UNE LIAISON also means « a love affair ». Same logic as the pronunciation rule, really. We link two items together ! Here, instead of two words, we connect two people, two hot bodies getting together, merging into one… 

LA PRONONCIATION FRANÇAISE EST TRÈS SEXY! Oh là là…

Just embrace it ! And next time, I’ll give you more hints on how to speak like the French and understand them better. Mastering the liaison is key, you’ll see… 

In the meantime, go to my Qaya store and download some practice exercises on the LIAISON, for free, with an mp3 file to help you. And I’ve actually included more details as to which liaisons are obligatory and which ones should be avoided. 

BON FRANÇAIS. And please subscribe to my youtube channel if you haven’t already. 

JE VOUS RETROUVE LA SEMAINE PROCHAINE  POUR UNE NOUVELLE VIDÉO!

In the meantime, work on your French accent

…And visit the “Oh La La, I Speak French!” YouTube channel now!

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