Translation:One of my friends lives in the suburbs.
I read below that the word the (L') is added for a better sound, but I'm confused by this sentence structure, in that they used the L' but in the translation there is no "THE" here, AND that they used no the (LA) in front of banlieu, yet there is a THE in the translation here. What gives? How do we know when or not to use the word "THE?"
You can be 99% sure that when the English includes "the", the French will have le/la/les.
But it does not work the other way around.
"one of my friends" = l'un de mes amis - addition of "le", elided to l' in front of "un" - optional, you could have "un de mes amis"
"en banlieue" : in the suburbs - "en" means "dans le/la/les". This case of preposition "en" in front of a location works with regions and feminine countries*: en France, en région parisienne, en Alsace... so it is part of the 1% where the English has "the" and the French does not have le/la/les.
- masculine countries work with "à/aux": aux Etats-unis, au Japon, au Mexique...
Does "banlieue" have a negative connotation in French? I am from Germany, and for me, the "Banlieues" are where the cars are burning and the under-privileged live, so it clearly is a negative word.
The movie "Banlieue 13" also has a clearly negative message about the Banlieues
And indeed they are not pronounced the same. "A" is more open than "u". For a native English speaker, you might say "a" rhymes with "ma!" but "u" sounds like "huh." Either way the n is going to be nasalized, not pronounced as a separate sound--think of pinching together something right behind your nose.