1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. How to hear the "silent s"? E…


How to hear the "silent s"? E.g. "Les"

How do you learn to hear the "s" (or lack of it)? For example the difference between "le" and "les", or "Elle" and "Elles". They sound the same to me.

October 28, 2012



From my personal experience you just have to learn to look at the context, for example:

Le chat vs Les chattes

When you hear "chat" you know that the word is "le", when you hear "chattes" you know the word is "les".

Elle a quelque chose a dire. Elles ont quelque chose a dire.

When you hear "a" you know the word is "elle", when you hear "ont" you know the word is "elles".

Hope this helps!


Practice, practice, and more practice. I was the same way at first, but the more you listen to the lessons, the better you get at telling the difference. I have noticed, though, at least in this program, that "le" makes more of a "lu" sound and 'les" makes more of a "lay" sound.


Le chat is masculine singular, les chats is masculine plural. La chatte is feminine singular, les chattes is feminine plural.

The final 's' is heard only when the following noun starts with a vowel : les amis (lezami).

however 'les' (lè/lai) is not pronunced like 'le' (lö).

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