1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. Pronunciation of the name 'Ja…


Pronunciation of the name 'Jaques'

The popular french name 'Jaques' is often pronounced 'Jock' (soft J) but in the nursery rhyme 'Frere Jacques' it is pronounced 'Jack-es' Which is the correct way?

April 15, 2018



That's an interesting question. You seem to be asking about the e muet, the "silent e".

In everyday speech, the unaccented letter e is silent in certain positions, notably at the end of words. To learn more about which e's are silent, do a search for "e muet".

In heightened speech, however, these "silent e's" may be pronounced. Heightened speech may include poetry (especially poetry where the number of syllables per line is important) or songs. It may also include situations where the speaker is pronouncing his words very carefully (perhaps because he is worried about being misunderstood) or where the speaker is angry and raising his voice.

In everyday speech, the words "frère Jacques" are two syllables. In the kind of heightened speech I'm talking about, however, you might hear as many as four. The nursery rhyme requires all four syllables to be pronounced because there are four notes in the melody.


It is regional. You will find in the French course for English speakers that the female and male voice have different pronunciations of words that end in an "e" sound. The woman won't pronounce it but the man will.


Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.