Why is this sentence "Première édition de la Semaine internationale de design textile africain de Ouagadougou." not, "Première édition de la Semaine internationale de design textile africain d'Ouagadougou"? Does this have something to do with Proper Nouns?

June 20, 2018


I found this but still not sure if there is a concrete rule about "de" contraction before a vowel. _de_contract_before_a_proper_noun/

Ouagadougou starts with a consonant sound "w".

Interesting read. I'm not sure whether that applies here. I think it may be more simple than that. de+vowel is contracted. de+consonant is not. "Ouagadougou" does not necessarily start with a vowel sound. It may have been initially transliterated by French people, so it begins with ou, but what if the English had arrived there first? For example, in what we call "New England" there is a a town called Woonsocket, Rhode Island. That's obviously an English transliteration. The French, had they landed there first, might have spelled it Ou'unsaquètte. In any case, it begins with what I call a W sound. Linguists--phonoligists, specifically--don't really make as big a deal about the distinctions between vowels and consonants as us layfolk do. They claim it's a matter of degree. (In fact, in arabic, the letter و can be rendered as a W or a U. Is it a consonant or a vowel? Depends upon whom you ask.) If you're really hard on the consonant side of things, then W as in Ouagadougou starts with a consonant sound. Why contract de with a W sound? It comes off as Dwaag... Kinda weird. If you really make it a hard W, then it probably should be rendered as de+waag...

I suspect that a Francophone copy editor at, say,, would probably let it slide either way. He's not a lingist, after all.

These are all just my ramblings and musings, take it for what you think it's worth. :)

That does make a lot of sense. Like in English we would say "an H" instead of "a h".

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