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How do you know when to pronounce the vowel at the end of a french word?

[deactivated user]

    I've noticed that sometimes you pronounce the vowel at the end of a word and sometimes you don't, and it would be great if someone could tell me how to know.

    June 18, 2020



    If the vowel is a you pronounce it. If it is e, then you pronounce it if it has a diacritical mark above it, as "parlé" in j'ai parlé avec ma mère. If it does not then you don't, as in "mère" in the example above. If it is any other vowel, then you have to determine whether it is part of a dipththong, as in "ai" in the example above. If it is not, as in fini, then you pronounce the "i". In resto you pronounce the "o", and in voulu you pronounce the "u".

    If your native language is English, then you can think of it the same way as you would English (for the most part). In English A, I, O, and U are generally pronounced at the end of a word. E is generally not pronounced. If it is to be pronounced then you will usually find a diacritical mark above it. (This doesn't always happen in English, but in French they generally have the courtesy to include that.)

    There are also subtle nuances. Think of the word homebound. The E in that word is officially "silent" but in many dialects it gets a bit of a small pronunciation. The same thing happens in french. Homme d'affaires should have a silent first E, but in some dialects you will hear a small pronunciation of it.


    Maybe you’ve noticed that the male voice pronounces them, and the female voice doesn’t? I’ve seen other users say that “he” has a southern France accent. It isn’t the words that demand to be pronounced that way—it’s the speaker.

    To try it for yourself, go to ttsmp3.com. Enter a sample sentence in the box, then choose the Duolingo voice to hear from the list below it. The female voice is called Léa, and the male Mathieu.

    Or maybe you’ve heard this happen in song lyrics? Many times singers pronounce syllables that aren’t necessarily pronounced in speech. Bonne chance !

    Timor mortis conturbat me.


    Actually this thing about the male voice having a french southern accent is rather surprising to me, and I don't think it's coming from french native speakers. A typical southern accent will indeed accentuate ending vowels, but it's only one characteristic feature among others, and it's not enough to make the male "accent" a southern accent.


    In French, at the end of a word, you pronouce all the vowels: a - i - o - u - é - è
    except this one: e.

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