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What is the real purpose of the c-cedilla? (ç)

« Ç » should be pronounced like « s » , right? If so, then why do we have a regular "c" without a cédille pronounced like a "s" so much? « Ceci » , « Cela » , « Ces » , etc. ?

September 12, 2017



The cedilla is used to change the K sound into an S sound.

It is necessary when you need to keep an S sound in front of a hard vowel: a, o, u.

  • ça [sa], garçon [gaʁɔ̃], gerçure [ʒɛʁsyʁ] (chap)

The consonant C naturally sounds S in front of a soft vowel: e, i, y

  • ce, cet, ces, ceci, cela, celui, celle, ici, un cigare, un cycle ...


I forgot something:

In French the letter Y is a vowel as well and a soft one: un cycle [sikl]


Merci pour l'explication! Je comprends maintenant.


Hi Sitesurf, the forum under my account LanguageButcher got disabled. Do you know why? Did I violate something? Thanks.


Like in English, e, i and y change the pronunciation of the previous c from hard (k-y sound) to soft (s-y sound). In French, ç is used to indicate a soft sound where the c would otherwise be hard. In other words:

  • ce, ci, cy, ça, ço, çu = s
  • ca, co, cu, c + consonant = k
  • ch = sh


To torture foreigners ;)


Probably, that's also why there are noun genders. :P


Cédille always make the 's' sound, never 'k' sound. The letter 'c' make both 's' and 'k' sound. 'Ç' softens a sound when if used 'c' could pronounced 'k'.


So why don't the words i mentioned have a cédille? Shouldn't they?


What do the numbers beside your language flags mean?


Your language level.


Merci Mark, pour votre explication en profondeur, je comprends maintenant.

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