Accents in french

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Accents in french

  1. 1. ACCENTS IN FRENCH Produced with assistance from the Association of Independent Schools of NSW ` ‘ ‘ ^ ^ `
  2. 2. L’accent circonflexe en français ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
  3. 3. The “hat accent”, as we call it, can be put on top of all the vowels in French: a => â e => ê i => î o => ô u => û
  4. 4. Important: this accent never changes the pronunciation of the vowel itself. All it does is tell us that there used to be an s in the word in the middle ages which has since disappeared. This is very useful to know for an English speaker because that “s” is often still present in the English equivalent as shown in the various examples:
  5. 5. French English hôtel hostel forêt forest maître master pâtes pasta se hâter to hasten une quête a quest un hôte,une hôtesse a host, a hostess un hôpital a hospital la côte the coast
  6. 6. The case of être NB it also explain why when you conjugate the verb être, it always starts with either an e or an s je suis, nous sommes, tu es, vous êtes, il est, ils sont, elle est, elles sont
  7. 7. é versus è ` ` `
  8. 8. With these two accents there is a slight nuance in the pronunciation in French. • é [ e] like in café (note the sense of the stroke for acute) • è [ ε] like in mère (note the sense of the stroke for grave)
  9. 9. The hard part… • These two phonetic sounds can be written in a number of ways. • Memorising this will improve dramatically your reading ability in French
  10. 10. These are the different ways these sounds can be spelt: • [ e] du thé, une épée, s’appeler, chez • [ε] chère, le chêne, une princesse, une reine, une baie

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