I just thought that I would point out in the "Plurals Irregular" section that the computer generated French voice does not pronounce what is called a "liaison" with "yeux" when there should be one pronounced there.
A LIAISON is where you blend words together by pronouncing the end of one word into the beginning of the word that follows it. This phenomenon happens in French most frequently when a vowel begins the second word.
For example: "Les amis."
Normally, "Les" pronounced by itself sounds something like "lay" in English, while "amis" sounds like "ah-mee." HOWEVER, because there is a LIAISON between the two words, the phrase "Les amis" is pronounced "lays-ah-mee" - in other words the "s" at the end of "les" is pronounced just before going into the word "amis." This is a LIAISON.
The word "yeux" (eyes) takes a liaison because in French the letter "y" is considered as kind of a half-vowel. So, the computer voice gets this WRONG. She pronounces "Mes yeux" as "may yuh" - it should be: "mays-yuh" (sorry for the transliteration, but I hope you all get my drift here).
So, to recap, "yeux" takes a liaison when you are pronouncing the word.
Would there be a liaison in "Les hiboux" ("the owls") as well? The computer doesn't pronounce it, but I seem to recall that there should be one in this situation...
Hi. I am French and there's indeed NO liaison in "Les hiboux". there are two kinds of "h" in French the "h aspiré" (aspirated h) and the "h muet" (silent h). The aspirated h forbids any liaison or elision (le haricot, le hibou) whereas the silent h allows it (l'homme, l'hélice). I actually don't know if there's a rule to decide whether or not an h is silent.
dingledork this is a really good question.
While I can't speak for the word "hiboux" in itself (but I will ask someone I know who is French later this week), in general a good 95% of words that begin with "h" in French DO NOT TAKE LIAISON. This is, in fact, to help emphasize the fact that there is an "h" at the beginning of the word. So, for example, if you hear someone say: "lays ee-boo" as opposed to "lay ee-boo," you can assume from the first phrase that the second words starts with the vowel "i," (so it would be the made up words "les iboux") while the second phrase contains a word that begins with "h" (or in other words "les hiboux") because there is a clear break between the sound "ay" and "ee." However, this rule clearly does not apply to all words that begin with "h." "Homme," for example, DOES have a liaison. I believe that this is because it is such a commonly used word that it is mostly unmistakeable in context - and you will find that there are a handful of other "h" words ("huit" in "dix-huit" --- "dees-wheat" --- excuse the horrible transliteration which does not accurately reflect good pronunciation) which also have a liaison. Take, for example, the word "la haine" (hate) and "la aine" (groin). The only way to differentiate between these two in a sentence is to emphasize the "h" in "haine" by DROPPING the liaison. I hope this makes sense. Message me if you need more clarification.
Apart from the thorough explanation which Mason has made, I would add that the s in liaison turns into a z, and this tends to be at the beginning of the next word as opposed to the end of the first word. Therefore, may -zyuh, to use his transliteration.
Anytime. If I catch other ones (and there are many as hapersmion has pointed out) I will write them up.
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