French, like English, can be very difficult in terms of pronunciation, due to intricacies like silent letters, multiple sounds

for a single letter, and endless exceptions to whatever rules you find. This site contains numerous lessons which explain the rules and exceptions of French pronunciation in great detail, which is great for advanced students but can be very confusing for beginners. Therefore, this lesson is an attempt to simplify French pronunciation, to make it easier for you to get started, even if you don't know how every letter combination is pronounced in every situation. While at some point, you will need to study more in-depth lessons on pronunciation, for the time being, this simplified pronunciation chart can help you get a good idea about how to pronounce new words. Whenever possible, I have provided English words which use the same spelling. Failing that, I used French terms used in English, but if you don't know how to say these ?la fran 蓷 ise, you will need to look them up in order to get the correct pronunciation. Failing either of these, I used an alternate spelling - these words are in [brackets] and the letters which make the relevant sound are in bold. When there is no real English equivalent, the nearest sound, if any, is explained in (parentheses) - for these letters and letter combinations, you should look really at the in-depth lessons. The LKL column indicates how I write that sound when spelling out pronunciation in other lessons. The letters and letter combinations are linked to detailed lessons, while the examples are hyperlinked to sound files in .wav format. Letter(s) A AI AU B C LKL English Sound a ay o b k s ?/td> CH D E, EU ?/td> ? ? EI EAU F G s sh d eu ay eh o f g zh father pain taupe baby can ceiling fa 蓷 de champagne dad de trop fianc?/td> b 皻 e noire eau de toilette fat gag mirage Examples quatre, un ami le lait, frais chaud, mauvais bonbons, bas caf?/a>, sucre ceinture, ni 鋃 e 蓷 va, cale 蔞 n chapeau, anchois la douane, mardi le, un feu 彋?/a>, g 幯 ial expr 鋊, une t 皻e beau, l'eau f 憝 rier, neuf gants, une bague il g 鋩 e, aubergine



hiver, un h 皫 ital

(always silent in French) I, ? ?/td> J K ee zh k na 鴳 e d 嶴?vu keep dix, un lit le jambon, d 嶴 euner un kiosque, le ski

(rare in French) L M l m (n) N n (n) O OI OU P PH o wa u p f little mom (nasal vowel) noun (nasal vowel) solo foie gras soup paper phone fleurs, mille Madame, comment le parfum, embouteillage neuf, noir un, le pain le dos, rose boire, trois douze, nous un p 鋨 e, la soupe une pharmacie, t 幨 廧 honer quinze, la banque rouge, une ceinture (similar to Spanish J, Arabic KH) S SC s sk s T TH TI U UE UI t t s u sassy scold science tight [tea] [silly] [food]* le sucre, un poisson les escargots les sciences la tarte, latomate le th?/a>, le th 殪 tre attention tu, une jupe saluer, la Suisse une nuit, fruit


k r


weh suede* wee cuisine*

*Approximation - see lesson

on U V v verve vert, un avion



un wagon (rare in French)


ks gz

express example

exprimer, taxe le x 廨鋊, un exemplaire




le yaourt, les yeux




la zone, la zizanie

1) le, la, l', les the definite article

French Definite Articles Les Articles définis
Definite articles | Indefinite articles | Partitive articles | Test on articles The French definite article corresponds to the in English. There are four forms of the French definite article:

Singular Masculine Feminine Before vowel or mute h le le garçon le père la la fille la mère l' l'ami, l'amie l'homme, l'histoire


les les garçons les filles


aspiré and H muet - French Pronunciation
There are two different kinds of H's in French, and neither one is pronounced. The H muet is silent - the word acts exactly as if it began with a

vowel. This means that contractions and liaisons are done as if the H were not there: l'homme, les hommes = [lay zuhm]. The other H is called H aspiré, but don't let the word aspiré fool you. The H aspiré is just as silent as the H muet; however, you cannot make a contraction or liaison in front of it: le homard, les homards = [lay uhmar]. H's in words borrowed from other languages are usually H aspirés. The following words and their derivatives begin with an H aspiré. As always, please note that there are exceptions and that the English equivalents given here are only guide. When in doubt, consult a good French dictionary. There will be an asterisk or some other symbol to distinguish between the two kinds of H's.

la hache hacher le hachisch la haie le haillon la haine haïr le hâle haleter le hall la halle le halo la halte le hamac le hameau la hampe le hamster la hanche

axe to chop hashish hedge rag hatred to hate suntan to pant hall market halo break hammock hamlet pole hamster hip

haut le havre la Haye le heaume héler hennir le hérisson la hernie le héron le héros le hêtre heurter le hibou hideux

high haven The Hague helmet to hail (a taxi) to neigh hedgehog hernia heron hero beech tree to strike owl hideous

la hiérarchie hierarchy hisser hocher le hockey la Hollande le homard Hong-Kong la Hongrie la honte le hoquet hors la houille le huguenot huit hurler la hutte to hoist to nod hockey Holland lobster Hong Kong Hungary shame hiccup outside coal Huguenot eight to shriek hut

le hand-ball handball le handicap le hangar hanter harasser harceler hardi le hareng le haricot la harpe le hasard la hâte hâter handicap shed to haunt to exhaust to harass daring herring bean harp luck haste to hasten

Which definite article to use depends on three things: the noun's gender, number, and first letter. If the noun is plural, use les. If it's singular starting with a vowel or mute h, use l'. If it's singular and starts with a consonant, use le if it's masculine and la if it's feminine.

Meaning and usage of the French definite article The definite article indicates a specific noun. Je vais à la banque - I'm going to the bank. Voici le livre que j'ai lu - Here is the book I read. The definite article is also used in French to indicate the general sense of a noun. The article is not used in this sense in English. J'aime la glace - I like ice cream C'est la vie ! - That's life! The definite article changes when preceded by the preposition à or de - the preposition and article contract into a single word. Learn more

2) être verb

to be

Everything you need to know about the irregular French verb être
Être is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to be." Être is also used in some idiomatic expressions and as an auxiliary verb for compound tenses and the passive voice. To Be Être means "to be" in many senses that this verb is used in English. 1) It is used with adjectives, nouns, and adverbs to describe a temporary or permanent state of being: Il est beau - He is handsome Je suis à Paris - I'm in Paris Nous sommes français - We're French Il est là-bas - He's over there 2) Être is used to describe someone's profession; however, note that the indefinite article is not used in this construction in French: Mon père est avocat - My father is a lawyer Je suis étudiant - I'm a student 3) Expressions with être

Notes There are a number of English "to be" expressions which are translated in French by avoir (to have): avoir froid - to be cold avoir raison - to be right avoir xx ans - to be xx years old more expressions When talking about the weather, French uses the verb faire (to do/make) rather than être: Il fait beau - It's nice out Il fait du vent - It's windy Quel temps fait-il ? - How's the weather? Être as an Auxiliary Verb 1) Être is the auxiliary for some verbs in the compound tenses: Je suis allé en France - I went to France Nous étions déjà sortis - We had already left Il serait venu si... - He would have come if... 2) Être is used to form the passive voice: La voiture est lavée - The car is washed Il est respecté de tout le monde - He is respected by everyone Conjugations Present tense je suis tu es il est nous sommes vous êtes ils sont 3) avoir verb to have

Everything you need to know

about the irregular French verb avoir
Avoir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and literally means "to have." However, it is also used in numerous idiomatic expressions and as an auxiliary verb. To Have Avoir means "to have" in most senses, including having in one's possession and currently experiencing. J'ai deux stylos I have two pens. J'ai trois frères I have three brothers. J'ai mal à la tête I have a headache. J'ai une idée I have an idea. J'ai été eu I've been had (tricked). Note: Avoir à can mean "to have to," but that expression is more commonly translated by devoir. Expressions with Avoir Avoir is used in a number of idiomatic expressions, many of which are translated by the English verb "to be": J'ai 30 ans I am 30 years old. J'ai soif I am thirsty. J'ai froid I am cold.

4) de of, from preposition

French Prepositions de
De is a very important and versatile preposition with many different meanings and uses in French. As a preposition, it can express or indicate all of the following:


Possession or belonging (learn more) le livre de Paul la biblioth 鋂 ue de l'universit?/td> Paul's book the university library


Starting point or origin (learn more) partir de Nice Je suis de Bruxelles to leave from (out of) Nice I'm from Brussels


Contents / description of something une tasse de th?br> un roman d'amour cup of tea love story (story of/about love)


Defining feature le march?de gros une salle de classe wholesale market classroom


Cause mourir de faim fatigu?du voyage to die of / from hunger tired from the trip


Means / manner of doing something 嶰 rire de la main gauche r 廧彋 er de m 幦 oire to write with one's left hand to recite from memory

When followed by the definite articles le and les, de contracts with them into a single word:

For example de + le = du du salon

de + les = des des villes But... de + la de + l' de la de l' de la femme de l'homme

Verbs with de

Expressions with de

? vs de

De vs Du, De la, Des More prepositions French grammar

5) un, une, des a, an, some indefinite article French Indefinite Articles Les Articles indéfinis
Definite articles | Indefinite articles | Partitive articles | Test on articles The singular indefinite articles in French correspond to a, an, or one in English. The plural corresponds to some. There are three forms of the French indefinite article. Singular Masculine un Feminine une des Note that the plural Plural

un garçon une fille des garçons un ami une amie des filles indefinite article is the same for masculine and feminine nouns, whereas the singular has a different form for masculine and feminine. Meaning and usage of the French indefinite article The indefinite article usually refers to an unspecified person or thing. J'ai trouvé un livre - I found a book. Il veut une pomme - He wants an apple. The indefinite article can also refer to just one of something:

Il y a un étudiant dans la salle - There is one student in the room. The plural indefinite article means some: J'ai acheté des haricots verts - I bought some green beans. Veux-tu des livres ? - Do you want some books? When referring to a person's profession or religion, the indefinite is not used in French, although it is used in English. I know, I know, the exceptions never end. :-( Je suis professeur - I am a teacher. Il va être médecin - He's going to be a doctor. In a negative construction, the indefinite article changes to de, meaning any: J'ai une pomme ==> Je n'ai pas de pommes. I have an apple ==> I don't have any apples. Learn more

6) je I subject pronoun 7) il / ils* he, it / they subject pronoun 8) ce this indefinite demonstrative pronoun 9) pas not negative adverb 10) à to, in preposition Notes *I would have listed il and ils separately, but they were combined in the

source document. Words with different forms but the same essential meaning (such as le and la: masculine and feminine definite articles) are combined into a single listing. Words with different grammatical functions (such as le: definite article and le: direct object pronoun) are usually listed separately. This list of the most common French words is adapted from the following source: French Coordinating Conjunctions - Les Conjonctions de coordination
Learn about French coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join words and groups of words of equal value. By equal value, I mean that the two (groups of) words have the same nature or the same function in the sentence. Examples 1. J'aime les pommes et les oranges. - I like apples and oranges. Apples and oranges are both fruits, and I like them both. 2. Il ne mange ni la viande ni les l 嶲 umes. - He eats neither meat nor vegetables. Meat and vegetables are both foods, and he doesn't eat either of them. 3. Veux-tu aller en France ou en Italie ? - Do you want to go to France or Italy? France and Italy are both places, and you can go to one of them. 4. Je veux le faire, mais je n'ai pas d'argent. - I want to do it, but I don't have any money. I want to do it. I don't have any money. Each of these statements is a complete idea.

French coordinating conjunctions car for, because

donc ensuite et et... et mais

so next and both... and but

ne... ni... ni neither... nor or ou ou bien puis soit... soit now, yet or or else then either... or