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Un : a, Le: the (masculine). Normally you would say "le homme". But there's a rule, you can't have 2 wovels following each other, so you make an ellipse, the same than in English when you say "I'm" instead of "I am" (except that these 2 forms are correct). So, instead of "le homme" (not correct because of the rule), you say "l'homme". The "e" has been replaced by '.
In French, a "liaison" is when a normally silent consonant at the end of a word is pronounced at the beginning of the word that follows it. Usually, liaisons are required between two words when the first one ends with a consonant (ex: "es") and the second one starts with a vowel (ex: "un"). They are also required when the second word starts with a "mute H" (ex: "honnête" which means "honest"). Cautious: consonants in liaisons sometimes change pronunciation. For example, an S is pronounced like a Z when it is in a liaison.
- ex: "Tu es un garçon" means "You are a boy", and is pronounced like "Tu es-Z-un garçon"
- ex: "Tu es honnête" means "You are honest", and is pronounced like "Tu es-Z-honnête"
The pronunciation (or not) of liaisons follows specific rules. Liaisons are divided into three categories:
There are many cases, but here are a few examples: Nominal group: "un homme" (pronounced "un-N-homme"), "les amis" (pronounced "les-Z-amis") Verbal group: "vous avez" (pronounced "vous-Z-avez"), "ils ont" (pronounced "ils-Z-ont") etc.
There are many cases, but here are a few examples: After a singular noun: "un garçon intéressant" (you should not say "un garçon-N-intéressant") After "et" (and): "un homme et une femme" (you should not say "un homme et-T-une femme") Before a "h aspiré": "les haricots" (you should not say "les-Z-haricots").
There are many cases, but in this particular case, a case of optional liaison is after verbs that are not followed by a pronoun: "L'enfant prend un sucre". You can either pronounce: "L'enfant prend un sucre" or "... prend-T-un sucre".