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How to pronounce the French U

Step-by-step instructions


Many French students have trouble with the letter U. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to pronounce the French U.

Difficulty: average

Time required: a few minutes a day

Here's how
  1. Open your mouth.
  2. Say O.
  3. Draw out the O until your lips are where they would be to make a W sound.
  4. Purse your lips as tightly as you can.
  5. Keeping your lips pursed, say E.
  6. Voilà the French U!

  • Go back to page 1 to listen to sound files with the letter R.
  • The French U sound does not exist in English. The closest sound we have in English is OU as in soup, but unfortunately the French have that sound as well with their OU. You must be able to tell these sounds apart.
  • The U sound is always spelled U and the OU sound is always spelled OU, so they are easy to tell apart in writing.
  • Practice the distinction between U and OU with this exercise.
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