Vowel Sounds I ([e], [?], [?]) The letter é is always pronounced [e]. The sound [e] is much like the vowel sound of day. Été summer Armée army Été (etay) armay er, es, and ez at end of word pronounced [e] Vowel sound of day -er répéter to repeat téléphoner to telephone repAtay telephoneay -ez nez nose chez home knee shuay es les The ses its Lea Sea ai at the end of a verb is pronounced [e]. Vowel sound of day -ai j'ai I have je finirai I will finish je donnai I gave Je ay Je fineray Je donnay English speakers tend to pronounce [e] with a diphthong, a slightly wavery sound caused by movement in the tongue. In French, the [e] sound is tense -- pronounced with little tongue movement. Observe... English [e] bay say okay French [e] bé ses oké [?] identical vowel sound of pet. The letters ê, è and e are normally pronounced [?]. Vowel in pet bête beast belle beautiful mène bring mère mother telle such Bet Bell Men Mare Tell most of France, ai at the end of a word --pronounced [?] (pet) [except with verbs ] ending ai +consonant, et endings es ending accent appears over the e Note: When [?] comes at the end of a sentence, it sounds much more like [e] untrained ear might sound exactly like [e]. To most French speakers, the difference is real and important. le palais palace le lait milk le fait fact près close dès soon la forêt forest Lou palay Lou lay Lou fay Pray Day La foray On the left are words with endings that are pronounced [?]. On the right the endings are pronounced [e]. Dès (day) ~from Des (dee) ~of et (ee) ~and il est (ee ay) ~it is épais (eepay) ~thick l'épée (leepee) ~sword fait (say) ~fact fée (see) ~ fairy la claie (luh clay) la clé (luh clee) ~the hurdle ~key mais ( may) ~but mes (me) ~ my prés (pray) ~near pré (pree) ~pre tais (tay) ~? tes (tee) ~your s, t, e are silent at the end of words es is [ay] sound ai is [ay] sound è is [ay] sound ée or é is [ee] sound-at end of word Overlap: [e] or [?] ai and ei are pronounced at times as [e] (day) and at times as [?] (pet). If ai or ei are found within a syllable that ends in a vowel sound (an open syllable) the pronunciation is [e]..(day) Laid (lay) enseigner (onsunay) peiner (pennay) j'ai (je ay) f they are found within a syllable that ends in a consonant sound (a closed syllable) the pronunciation is [?]... Laide (led) enseigne (onsegna) peine (pen) j'aide (je ed) Claire (clare) aile (el) faible (febla) Has an [e] at the end makes the constant before heard laid(lay) laide(led) [En] like ?o? in on The [?] sound is similar to the u sound of knuckle. The letter e of these short one syllable words is pronounced as [?]. je me te le se ce que de ne Jeuh Meuh Teuh Leuh Seuh Ceuh Queuh Deuh neuh
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