https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

Are 'est' and 'et' pronounced in the same way?

Some one told me 'est' is like 'ay' in 'May', while 'et' is like 'e' in 'egg'.

September 14, 2016

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems

They are pronounced the same, but there may be a liaison with "est" depending on the following word (this wouldn't happen with "et"), so it may sound like they are pronounced differently. E.g.:

Marc et un lapin. Marc and a rabbit.
"et" and "un" are pronounced separately and clearly.

Marc est un lapin. Marc is a rabbit.
"est" and "un" are slurred together where "un" sounds more like "est T'un".

That being said, I've been led to believe that in some areas (of France) et and est are pronounced the same in everyday speech, but when speaking with proper elocution, there may be a different pronunciation.

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Depends where, in some regions of France, and maybe other countries, yes, they are pronounced mostly the same. In Canada, there's a clear distinction between the two : et should be pronounced like 'ay' but without the diphthong (single sound), whereas est should be pronounced like the 'e' in "egg".

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

I found a video on this issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y4C3UbaFNQ

Please have a look if you still have problem with it. :)

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chiameur

In French, 'est' and 'et' are pronounced differently.

In phonetics (IPA), 'est' is pronounced as [ɛ] and 'et' is pronounced as [e]. ([ɛ] est une voyelle ouverte. [e] est une voyelle fermé.)

Examples for [ɛ] sound:

<pre>après, forêt, neige, vrai, maison, es, est A sentence contains two [ɛ] sounds: "Est-ce une erreur, professeur?" (Can you find them?) </pre>

Examples for [e] sound:

<pre> été, clef, pied, les, des, ses, ces, et A sentence contains three [e] sounds: "Samedi passé, j'ai volé." (Can you find them?) </pre>

Using English sounds to approximate French sound can be problematic. Unlike their counterparts in English, French vowels are short and "pure". There are no diphthongs in French (a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable). I believe that the 'AY' sound in 'May' is a diphthong, in phonetics, it is probably represented as [ei], not [e].

I hope this helps.

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chiameur

(I typed the response in Word and cut and paste it here, causing some formatting issue. Let me try to fix it here.)

In French, 'est' and 'et' are pronounced differently.

In phonetics (IPA), 'est' is pronounced as [ɛ] and 'et' is pronounced as [e]. ([ɛ] est une voyelle ouverte. [e] est une voyelle fermé.)

Examples for [ɛ] sound: après, forêt, neige, vrai, maison, es, est A sentence containing two [ɛ] sounds: "Est-ce une erreur, professeur?" (Can you find them?)

Examples for [e] sound: été, clef, pied, les, des, ses, ces, et A sentence containing three [e] sounds: "Samedi passé, j'ai volé." (Can you find them?)

Using English sounds to approximate French sound can be problematic. Unlike their counterparts in English, French vowels are short and "pure". There are no diphthongs in French (a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable). I believe that the 'AY' sound in 'May' is a diphthong, in phonetics, it is probably represented as [ei], not [e].

I hope this helps.

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/taramitzy

It's actually represented in English dictionaries as an "a" with a bar over it --- [which I cannot reproduce in this programme ] as in "fate". The final "y" sound is a common but not universal distortion.

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chiameur

Well. This is a good example for the difference between English and French.

In English, "a" with a bar over indicates a long a, or [ei] in phonetic symbol. The IPA phonetics for "fate" is [feit], according to Harper-Collin-Robert French-English Dictionary. This is different from [fet].

It is different from the [e] sound in the French "et". It is short and without the trailing [i] sound. Using the English long "a" to say "été", "et", etc, is one of the tell-tale sign of an American or British accent. On the other hand, the French speaks English with a French accent a lot of time because they shorten all English vowels.

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/taramitzy

The question was the phonetic rendering of the word May! French is very fortunate in having accented vowels, which are perfectly clearly distinguished and I thought had been very thoroughly dealt with already.

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/taramitzy

chiameur There is no Reply option at the bottom of your message so I'm having to answer my own. We are in perfect agreement about the sounds --- it's the various verbal descriptions that are causing confusion! What chance do machines have?!

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chiameur

If I am not mistaken, the phonetics for "May" is rendered as [mā) in Webster Dictionary, as you pointed out. That is equivalent to [meɪ] in IPA (I typed [mei] above). Both indicate the equivalence of a long vowel "a". It is different from the short, pure [e] sound in the French "é". For example, the French "mes" is pronouced as [me], not [meɪ]. The difference between the English "May" and the French 'mes" is subtle but obvious to the French. I wish I can always distinguish them myself. :-)

I am not a phonetician. English is my everyday language, but not my mother tongue. I hope I get it right.

p.s. To be sure, I double-checked the phonetics in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary and my own "Le Robert Dixel pour iPad".

September 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chiameur

taramitzy,

You are right. All the verbal explanation may just cause confusion. One should just listen to the native speakers.

I just read your previous post - "My French neighbours pronounce et as in chez, and est as in près ." They are absolutely correct.

The IPA phonetics for chez is [ʃe], and for "près", it is [pʀɛ].

September 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ginkkou

Et has to be pronounced é, and est will be mostly pronounced è, but can be pronounced é depending on the area.

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/muscletwink

Yes, this is the best answer out of the bunch. Pronouncing it like a diphtong ("ay" or "ey") is just ridiculous.

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

I spent some time on phonetics, and now i suspect that 'et' is like 'e' in egg, and there is no sound like 'est' in English. But anyway, the difference in voice is not significant to me.

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ginkkou

There is and it's not uncommon, it's the one in bed (and the one in egg, so you've got it wrong!). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-mid_front_unrounded_vowel

It's the sound of et that is much less common. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close-mid_front_unrounded_vowel

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/taramitzy

My French neighbours pronounce et as in chez, and est as in près .....

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

yup that's right.

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/taramitzy

I'll tell them you said so! Bises

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

Tell them I permitted the pronunciation. :)

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/John_982

It's quite tricky but dont get lost:
Est: Your mouth should make somehow a circle and sounds like an open "A"
Et: Your mouth should make a little like a straight line and sounds like a compressed "A" very deep voice)


Hope it helped
-John

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShannonYCJ

yes, this is indeed the way. thanks for your help

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/John_982

You're welcome :)

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/katie.bogie

they are right

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkMcDonn3

I've heard "est" pronounced...

  • et (couldn't remember example)
  • eh (la poche est petite)
  • e (la sac est rouge)
July 28, 2018
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