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How to distinguish words like 'il' and 'ils' (pronunciation of S at the end of the plural form of the words)

I have some problem with words like 'il' and 'ils' or words like 'elle' and 'elles' . i mean i can't hear the word and perceive it correctly . the S at the end of for example 'ils' is not pronunced or i don't hear it . please tell me how to distinguish them. same thing with : bois boit boivent buvez ... they make me get confused . is there a special section in Duolingo.com just for practicing pronunciation ?

December 4, 2012

1 Comment

  • 1853

Hi duo1man,

In French, many sentences are homophonous:

ex: Il mange une pomme. (3rd person masculine singular) // Ils mangent une pomme. (3rd person masculine plural)

ex: Elle n'aime pas les légumes. (3rd person feminine singular) // Elles n'aiment pas les légumes. (3rd person feminine plural).

When you listen to such sentences, sometimes you cannot distinguish if it's singular or plural: that is why we accept any homophonous suggestions on Duolingo, in the Listen challenges.

Sometimes, the liaisons between the pronouns and the verbs can make it possible to distinguish wether it's a singular or a plural:

ex: Il aime leur chien. (3rd person masculine singular). // Ils aiment leur chien. (3rd person masculine plural). In the second case, the sentence sounds like: "Ils-z-aiment leur chien" because of the liaison.

Regarding the verb "boire" (drink), there are no homophonous cases:

ex: Il boit de l'eau. (3rd person masculine singular). // Ils boivent de l'eau. (3rd person masculine plural).

ex: Boit-elle du thé ? (3rd person feminine singular). // Boivent-elles du thé ? (3rd person feminine plural). In the second case, the sentence sounds like "Boivent-t-elles du thé ?" because of the liaison.

The different endings of the conjugated verb "boire" depend on the pronoun or subject.

(Je bois, Tu bois, Il/Elle boit, Nous buvons, Vous buvez, Ils/Elles boivent).

In general, my advice is that you use the "slower" button, which could help you hear the words better.

And in the Vocabulary page, you can also practice your listening skills for the words that you have already learned.

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