https://www.duolingo.com/rafaelb

Pronunciation difference between 'es' and 'et'

When hearing, for instance, the sentence 'tu es un lion', how do I know that is the expected answer and not 'tu et un lion' (you and a lion)?

November 21, 2012

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/NvrG0Smpl

First of all, "you and a lion" would translate "toi et un lion", but I can understand the difficulty due to the vocal synthesis. The only difference between the two sentences when pronuncing it would be the liaison between "es" and "un". "tu es un lion" is in fact pronunced "tu es-z-un lion".

November 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/elka

I agree with NvrGOSmpl - es is like "het up" or "let up" etc and "et" like "a" in "hay" or "way"etc.

November 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There is indeed a difference in pronunciation between "es" and "et". The first one is a closed "é" (can't find a perfect equivalent in English, sorry) and the second one an open mouthed "è" (like "let")

November 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/NvrG0Smpl

It seems you switched the two pronunciations: "et" is pronunced /e/ "é" and "es" is pronunced /ε/ "è". Furthermore, when you are talking to someone from most of the south of France, he/she will pronunce both words /e/ "é", whereas every French should and will make the liaison "tu es z'un lion"

November 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Oups! you're right for the switch. And yes, many French people wrongly pronounce these words. For example, it is very common that many wrongly use the "é" sound instead of "è" at the end of words like : Poulet, Français, etc. But then, it becomes a "purist" concern!

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/NvrG0Smpl

As a southern french, I personnally don't consider it a mistake to pronunce these words with an "é", but a part of my accent... ;-)

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Talae

Just checked in the Larousse dictionary (http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/poulet), and must confess I'm amazed to see you're right about « poulet ». I was pretty sure it was an "é", but it is indeed an "è" (pulɛ) . My bad !

December 7, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/daymann

It seems that if the French pronounce it this way, it isn't wrong then

October 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/elka

Sitesurf - this is very odd. I think you've switched them again!

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

No, this time I am sure, poulet and français are to be pronounced "è", like "let".

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/elka

Strange! "let" has a very short "e" sound. the equivalent of francais in English would be "ate" or "late", roughly.

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes indeed, it is definitely a short è, no diphthong here, so you cannot associate "ate" nor "late" to that sound. "Les, lait, anglais, paraît..." same story, short è.

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/NvrG0Smpl

"Les" is not such a good example since it is usually pronunced /le/ "é" even if it can sometimes be pronunced /lɛ/

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Talae

It is sometimes pronounced /lɛ/... incorrectly. I can't think of any situation when it is correct. Accents are fine by my book, and even charming sometimes, but it's not "proper" French. Any example that would show I'm wrong ?

December 7, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/elka

I think one of us is French and the other English, and we each know how we would represent our own language's pronunciation! I'd write "touche" but I haven't got accents on my keyboard.

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/elka

Thanks! But - "late" in English sounds just like all of those to me. Which I think you mean too. The puzzle for me is that you give that a grave accent - which I understand to be like "pere" and "mere" etc (forgive no accent). Can you clarify where I'm going wrong?

November 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There is a difference between "late" and "let" in English, because in "late", you have a diphtong, i.e. there are two sounds :'è + i'. What I meant is that "es, français, les, lait, anglais, paraît..." are all to be pronounced è - like "let" or 'père/mère', with a short open sound, no diphtong. Now when you learn the basics of a foreign language, you generally learn the so called "pure" pronunciation, i.e. without any regional accent. I learnt English at school with teachers speaking more or less the "Oxford-Cambridge" non-accented English. If you learn French, you will probably have to learn to pronounce it as the Tours inhabitants (240km south-west from Paris).

November 23, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/elka

Only one vowel sound in "late"! What is this dipthong business? I confess my English is more Cambridge than Oxford, which has its own idiosyncracies, but not two sounds in "late".....which has a completely different sound from "pere" etc.

November 23, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

My first English lesson, when I was 11, a long time ago, started by the pronunciation of vowels. Number 1 is a duck, number 2 is a goose, etc. then number 8 is a snake = diphtong = {ei} in phonetics ; and number 10 is a hen (single sound = {e} in phonetics = è in French. Therefore, late is 8 and let is 10... and père as well.

November 24, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/mjlagrande

If you say it really slowly, right before the t sound there's a little "i" (or "ee") sound. As an english speaker, I didn't notice it until I realized that it's impossible to sustain the sound "ai" (as in lay lei or late). There are actually two sounds, l(eh) + (ee)t.
Anyhoo, père, mère, lait, les, anglais, ect. use the "let" sound. Et, mangez, mangé, ect. use the "late" sound.

December 11, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/cyborg99

you literally pronounce the s in tu es, so I don't see much confusion, and that is very rare ion Freench it seems, so one would be very lucky for that, et is like "eh" or "ey", depends, or not really, it's what you hear

September 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/emberlym

isn't it suppose to have a liaison with "est un"?

December 28, 2013
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.