French pronunciation of some specific groups of letters

After having studied the basics of the French pronunciation, you may notice that there are some couple of letters which have a specific pronunciation of French.

Groups of vowels:

  • on / om

We pronounce written “on” or “om” like this:

It’s a nasal sound. There are a few nasal sounds in French, they are all in the following sentence: Un bon vin blanc.

You can find “on” in bon (good) but also in pont (bridge); bonbon (Candy); pompier (firefighter)…

  • In / en / ein / un

We pronounce these groups of letters:

We can find “in” in intérieur (inside); pin (pine)…

We can find “un” in the article un (a/an for singular masculine words)…

We can “ein” in plein (full)…

We can find “en” in bien (well)…

It’s also a nasal vowel.

  • oi

We prononunce “oi” like this:

We find this phonem (=sound of a language) in oie (goose); emploi (employment), froid (cold)…

It’s an oral vowel.

  • euil / ueil / oeil

We pronounce these groups of letters:

We find “euil” in écureuil (squirel), feuille (leaf); portefeuilles (wallet)…

We find “ueil” in “accueil” (reception)

We find oeil in oeil (eye)

  • eu

We pronounce “eu” like this:

It’s a long sound.

We can find “eu” in eux (them); curieux (curious); il pleut (it’s raining)…

Groups of consonants:

  • gn

We pronounce these two letters:

We can find “gn” in champignon (mushroom); chignon (bun); peigne (comb); signe (sign) …

  • ph

We pronounce this group of letters like “f” :

phénoménal (phenomenal), phrase (sentence); photo (photo)

  • ch

We pronounce “ch” like this:

cheval (horse), chevalier (knight), chapeau (hat)…

Don’t hesitate to repeat the sounds and the words with the audio. It’s by speaking that we improve our pronunciation.

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