Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/dlloyd212

[French] How does one differentiate between plural and singular aurally?

I'm performing some tasks on this app and imo there is no clear difference between the pronunciation of a singular noun or a plural noun and other words; such as:

Le vs. Les Garcon vs. Garcons Femme vs. Femmes

With English being my first language we also append an 's' for plural which is also pronounced. How can someone like me differentiate between a French singular or plural?

4 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Libby_S
Libby_S
  • 15
  • 14
  • 8
  • 6
  • 3

"Le" and "les" are pronounced differently ("luh" and "lay," approximately), but for the other words you need to rely on context. Look at the article, adjectives, and (for the subject of the sentence) the verb. In some cases, when the following word begins with a vowel, you'll get elision, which means the final constant sound carries over, like elles ont (the s would be pronounced here).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dlloyd212

Thanks for your replies. I guess French is grammatically pedantic unlike English. :-P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/905mmgo
905mmgo
  • 25
  • 19
  • 19
  • 7
  • 6
  • 2

The articles and the verbs will tell you if it is singular or plural. Also, the liaisons should help but the French audio is not that great. One more thing, in your example Les garçons if you do not use the proper C, the pronunciation is different. Ç is pronounce like and S in front of an O and the regular C is pronounce like a K in front of a O.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
lindakanga
  • 24
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

And this is an important rule to learn. It has an implication not only for " c ", but also for " g " that acts in a similar way, when the preceding vowel is an " a " or and " o ". This is a link that you might like to check out the " c " sound . It is about "Verbs ~er group - ~cer endings " But it will give you a lead to follow also on " g ". Just in case you are ok to look ahead a bit of where you are going. But always remember to have fun , and the best question is the one that you ask, not the one that you decide not to, and get frustrated by ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindakanga
lindakanga
  • 24
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Click on these audio files and listen to the difference : Press the back arrow key on your browser to return to this page.

" le " Male singular

" la " Female singular

" les " Plural - for either Male or Female

Then try to "phonetically" write down the sounds - in your own phonetic system. It is just for use at this stage of your journey. I found that was of help for me. Let me know how you go. (NOTE: these sound files comes from http://www.frenchtutorial.com . It is quite a neatly written site, but not thorough enough for me to give it a high recommendation - but it could be good to visit.) (NOTE 2: my favorite site continues to be http://www.audiofrench.com/index.html . I highly recommend it and it has a lot of word tables that you can link on to allow you to re-hear words, etc. I have also found it a great resource for pronunciation and verbs)

4 years ago