attendre, atteindre (and other near-homonyms)
I'm just wondering if it's my ear, or are these two words effectively homonyms (that is, pronounced virtually identically)? The more I study French the more true and possible homonyms I'm findings, and it seems that some depend on the specific accent of the speaker. I suppose another one is the -ai ending of future simple tense and he -ais ending of conditional, such as 'je parlerai' and 'je parlerais'. I like to use Forvo, and these two sound about the same to my native English speaking ear. I presume that in normal conversations or text, the context should make the distinction clear most of the time.
"attendre" and "atteindre" are not homonyms. In the verb "attendre", the sound "en" is heard as in the French word "parent". In the verb "atteindre", the sound "ein" is heard as in the french word "matin".
I hope you can understand my English? ;-)
French people will pronounce attendre and atteindre the same. In Québec atteindre has a more nasal sound in the middle of the word.
Parlerai and parlerais will sound exactly the same except when followed by a word that begins with a vowel, in which case the "s" can be heard. This is an example of the thing which à mon avis makes French sound so good and feel even better, which probably has a name but I don't know it.
Je vous vois (the s at the end of vous is silent). Je vous attends (the s at the end of vous is spoken). J'ai acheté quelques chemises (silent s at the end of quelques) J'ai acheté quelques ordinateurs (spoken s)
Hope this helps
The "s" being silent or not depends on whether the next word starts with a vowel or with a consonant. When you have a vowel, as in "Je vous attends", you pronounce the "s" as a "z". When you have a consonant, as in "Je vous vois", it is silent. I think Viviane Gironde is absolutely right, "attendre" and "atteindre" have a different pronunciation - but she explains it much better than I could :)
attendre is pronounced /atɑ̃dʁ/ and atteindre /atɛ̃dʁ/ (there is a clear difference)
-ai can be pronounced both /e/ (é) and /ɛ/ (è), -ais is pronounced /ɛ/