is a sound that is pronounced through the mouth (and, in the case of nasal vowels
, the nose) with no obstruction of the lips, tongue, or throat.
There are a few general guidelines to keep in mind when pronouncing French vowels:
- Most French vowels are pronounced further forward in the mouth than their English counterparts.
- The tongue must remain tensed throughout the pronunciation of the vowel.
- French vowels do not diphthong. In English, vowels tend to be followed by a y sound (after a, e, or i) or a w sound (after o or u). In French, this is not the case - the vowel sound remains constant: it does not change into a y or w sound. Thus the
French vowel is a "purer" sound than the English vowel.
Hard and soft vowels
, and U
are sometimes called hard vowels
are soft vowels
, because certain consonants (C
) have a "hard" and a "soft"
pronunciation, depending on which vowel follows.
Vowels followed by M
are usually nasal
. Nasal pronunciation can be very different from the normal pronunciation of each vowel.
may change the pronunciation of vowels. They are required in French.
Detailed lessons on French vowels
A E I O U