Help talk:IPA for French

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W in oi digraph[edit]

It's important to note all the common cases where a sound occurs, so I noted the oi digraph as an occurrence of the w sound. Unfortunately neither of the letters really represents the sound, so it's a little misleading to bold either one of them. I bolded o, as the first in orthography as w is the first in pronunciation, and since it likely gave rise to the sound in the history of the language. What do others think: should we include this example, or should we not bold it at all? — Eru·tuon 00:58, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

That seems fine to me. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 01:04, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Made some modification[edit]

  • Added few more examples.
  • Perhaps someone could add final consonants are elided in many instances, but as already indicated here liaison "recovers" some of those omitted consonants when followed by a vowel sound in the same phrase, much like non-rhotic English dialects do with "r".
  • How could we use the syllable marker in French? Jɑυмe (xarrades) 21:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't know whether the syllable marker is ever relevant for French. Does French ever distinguish sequences like [u.i] vs. [wi], [i.e] vs. [je], or [u.a] vs. [wa]? I can't think of a case where it would, but my French is kinda rusty. —Angr (talk) 22:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
French phonology mentions pays [pɛi] and paye [pɛj] as a minimal pair for full vowel vs. glide, so in transcribing pays you could use the syllable separator if you wanted to be extra disambiguatory. — Eru·tuon 23:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Is [pɛi] disyllabic? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 00:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
If it is dissyllabic this example might work for French where stress is a bit different, but not for other languages that contrast different types of stressed hiatuses, compare Portuguese pais [ˈpajʃ] (diphthong) with país [pɐˈiʃ] (hiatus) and pias [ˈpi.ɐʃ] (hiatus). Nonetheless, i wouldn't oppose to use it in French to ease the reader to see some possible hiatuses.Jɑυмe (xarrades) 01:20, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Pays is disyllabic. Dictionaries give four different pronunciations, all of them with two full vowels: [pei], [peji], [pɛi], [pɛji]. The one given more weight currently is [pei], which is also what I hear when I listen to natives. See here. — AdiJapan 03:36, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Phrasal stress

I think moyen could be replaced by a phrase or short sentence... Something like tout est beau [tut.ɛˈbo]. What do you reckon? —Jɑυмe (xarrades) 15:44, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Dental or alveolar /n/?[edit]

According to Fougeron & Smith (1993) French /n/ is dental. Why French is listed twice; with an alveolar nasal nous [nu] and dental nasal connexion [kɔn̪ɛksjɔ̃]? Shouldn't French be deleted from the alveolar nasal article like Portuguese? Jɑυмe (xarrades) 15:56, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Looks like someone added it to alveolar nasal last year. I've removed it. (comment added 01:20 GMT, 31 March 2011 by User:Aeusoes1)
I'd like to suggest/remind that widest transcription be preferable for articles on a language like French and leave the dental marker as perhaps what is listed for "standard" phonology, but not in word or syllable transcriptions. SamuelRiv (talk) 18:24, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Voiceless uvular fricative rhotic[edit]

Doesn't the voiceless fricative variant of the rhotic [χ] appear quite often in spoken French, particularly at the end of a voiceless syllable (vaincre, etre). It seemed particularly common in francophone Switzerland where I spent a lot of time as a kid, and I seem to only have heard the voiced trill in France. I feel like it's marked enough to be relevant, again at least in the Swiss dialect, but I wonder if you think it's marked in Parisian France and/or if you think it would be worth adding in the notes as a variant here. SamuelRiv (talk) 20:45, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

If it's an allophone of a normally voiced consonant that occurs in a voiceless environment, I wouldn't say it's particularly notable to mention here, though French phonology would be a good place for that kind of information. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 23:42, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I guess the difference between a phoneme and an allophone, for a general language, would be defined by the phonotactics of the dialect itself. In this case, I am thinking that [χ] would be the dominant phoneme of at least this Swiss dialect, with the voiced form being the allophone. An example, a good determiner of this trait, would be the word raclette, which was distinctly [χaklɛt]. But honestly, this is a good thing to bring up against a published source. However, that can get messy - I read an essay on transcribing spoken versus musical French, and how the two would properly translate for singers of different languages, and the author there chose to transcribe both the spoken and sung rhotic as a flap [ɾ], presumably to emphasize the quickness of actual articulation. So... I don't know... is there a good standard or convention? SamuelRiv (talk) 01:49, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I think the convention is what we're using right now. What you're talking about, by the way, is probably more accurately described as distribution of phones rather than phonotactics, since the latter refers to rules regarding phoneme placement, not that of allophones. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 02:40, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

english equivalent for "i" is wrong[edit]

on the actual page for this vowel the example given is "free", here the example is "bitter". I'm no expert, so I hesitate to edit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, October 14, 2011 (UTC)

The example for i was changed recently, and you're right, it's incorrect: French i is [i], but bitter has [ɪ]. I've corrected the example. — Eru·tuon 04:48, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Add x[edit]

Title. And add uy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:21, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

AFAIK, neither /x/ nor /uy/ are phonemes of French. Angr (talk) 12:46, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
What about Puy-de-Dome, then ?Eregli bob (talk) 05:02, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
[pɥid(ə)dom]. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:03, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Should non-distinctive vowel length be shown in transcriptions?[edit]

It was pointed out to me elsewhere that the transcriptions are intended for people who have perhaps little knowledge of French. These readers can hardly be relied on to supply vowel lengths automatically. Older French-English dictionaries did include vowel lengths systematically. Perhaps that's less common now, though. (talk) 06:17, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

We do that for Italian, so I don't have a problem with that. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:22, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Tu like cute ?[edit]

I am not sure this is a good example. In both American and British english, "cute" seems to be pronounced like "cyute" ( as distinguished from "coot" ), and the distinction in pronouciation which appears in "stupid" and "New York" does not seem to occur. Yet I never heard a French person pronounce "tu" like "tyu".Eregli bob (talk) 04:54, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

That's the closest thing we've got in English. It's either that or "no English equivalent" which IMHO isn't as helpful. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:04, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
If you're not clear on how it's an approximation, French u is [y], and the vowel in cute is [ju]. French [y] is a front rounded vowel. English [j] is an approximant equivalent of the front vowel [i], and [u] is a back rounded vowel (though actually it's almost central in many dialects of English). If you fuse the frontness of [i] and the roundedness of [u] into one sound, you get [y]. Therefore, [ju] is a good approximation for [y]. It's not an exact equivalent, but it's the best we have in English. — Eru·tuon 15:27, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
The American pronounciation of "tube" is much more similar to the French "tu", than "cute" is.Eregli bob (talk) 06:17, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
That vowel is much closer to that of French nous than of tu. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 14:13, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
IMO approximations are useful only if they would be understandable if used instead of the phoneme they approximate. I don't think it would be understandable if someone tried to speak French with [ju] instead of [y], though (although it probably would be if [œ] or [ø] was replaced by the approximations listed here). It might be better to give instructions on how to pronounce the sound in such cases ([y] is not that hard – it's just a rounded [i]). Double sharp (talk) 07:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
That instruction is less helpful than you think. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:48, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps something like "pronounce [i], but with rounded lips", then? Double sharp (talk) 14:13, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Same thing. Friends have told me that telling speakers to modify their ee vowel with rounding often results in a diphthong or an oo vowel. To me, your measure of does-it-work-when-speaking-the-language is a slippery one, but is probably the most concrete measure we could have; I'd say it should make the difference between whether or not we say a sound an English sound "roughly" corresponds to that of a given language. For French, /juː/ roughly corresponds with [y]. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 14:42, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

The value of the open vowel[edit]

According to the article, French phonology#Vowels, the open vowel is central, not front. Why is it tagged a front vowel {{IPAlink|a}}, not {IPAlink|ä|a}}? Speaking about Fête's edit. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 23:50, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

I honestly know nothing about the question itself, but the user in question has been indefinitely blocked from & fr.wikt for introducing factual errors repeatedly. Salvidrim! 00:18, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
It's hard to say either way. More than likely, the vowel's quality depends on speaker or it may depend on if the speaker in question has one or two low vowels. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:59, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Once again, someone seems to be confusing vowel symbols with cardinal vowels. Although the cardinal vowel /a/ is a front vowel, the symbol /a/ stands for whatever openish vowel a language has that's not really back enough to be transcribed with /ɑ/. It covers a whole range of articulations, some of them central. Angr (talk) 09:53, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Yep, not being rude but Fête must be overestimating his own understanding of the IPA to say that it is really a complete level at his user page. Portuguese /a/ varies between central and near-back, still it is transcribed with the symbol for cardinal vowels. In my personal opinion I find the marking of the IPA a as front ridiculous and absurd, it currently generates far too much confusion for people learning the alphabet like what we got here. But then the fact that I'm obsessed with the sounds of Portuguese and would love to transcribe it narrowly as [ə̠ ~ ɜ̠ ~ ɐ̠ ~ a̠] also strenghthens this opinion. lol (talk) 15:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

pâte /bar equivalence[edit]

The article currently gives an equivalence for 'pâte' and 'bra' as an example of the 'a' sound (a). This is surely wrong. 'Pâte' has a short 'a', as in the English verb 'to pat'. About this sound /yn pat/  'Bra' has a long 'a' as in 'father' and 'after'. About this sound Audio (UK) . Am I missing something? Span (talk) 04:36, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

For speakers who make a distinction between [a] and [ɑ], the latter is more back, like the vowel of bra, even if it isn't long. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 14:56, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your comment. Are you agreeing that there is no equivalence? Span (talk) 20:37, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
There never is crosslinguistically. These are approximations. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 20:55, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
The sound in 'pâte' is the same as 'cat' in English. Span (talk) 20:58, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Depends on which dialect of English and which dialect of French. Most dialects, the vowel of cat is [æ] or [ɛə], even a front articulation of [a] is a weak approximation. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 00:22, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I think the article is mistaken. It states that 'patte' sounds like 'pat' and 'pâte' sounds like 'bra'. This is misleading and unhelpful to readers as is. Span (talk) 00:39, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
It's my understanding that there is dialectal variation among French speakers in this regard, including a number of speakers who do not make a distinction between pâte and patte. The speaker in the audio sample (who, by the way, sounds more like he's saying butt than pat to my anglophone ears) may be such a speaker. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 00:43, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Maybe I'm missing something, but the vowel in English 'pat' is pronounced [æ] in pretty much every dialect of English, isn't it? I don't see how that's in any way equivalent to the [a] in French 'patte'. Maitreya (talk) 09:23, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
None of these vowels are. Again, they're approximations. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 16:03, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

di + vowel[edit]

Would like to see an indication on pronunciation of di + vowel. Many West African proper names (for people and places) are rendered in French with this spelling, but English speakers read it as a hard "d" with an extra syllable. Heard frequently in connection with the 2013 conflict in Mali that involved at one point the town of Diabaly (dee-ah-bah-lee, rather than like diable; the local Bambara pronunciation would actually be closer to jah-bah-lee).--A12n (talk) 16:39, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Marginal phonemes[edit]

What about adding [ʎ], [dʒ] and [tʃ]?

Also perhaps, if I achieve consensus, /ʎ/ among the main phonemes, as I think it is hugely inadequate to render yeísmo in every transcription since many people still use the lateral phoneme so it is still something reversible. If the person just doesn't like it, he/she would know that the true value of [ʎ] in his/her personal preference is [j]. People often transcript cot-caught merger, non-rhoticity, Portuguese merger of unrounded mid vowel-onset diphthongs and Brazilian lowering of schwa in articles here, to me it seems like madness. The phoneme is still there for a lot of people, if not the most, their case is just dialectal, everybody will know about London's lack of coda /r/, São Paulo's lack of final /ɾ/ in infinite verbs or Spanish debbucalization and merger of final /r/ and /l/ when they travel there, using it in Wikipedia has no purpose at all. If there was, we would have vowel sets such as /ʌʊ ~ əʊ ~ ɒʊ/ to transcript the RP/Cockney/Estuary English diphthong instead of using "American-centric" /oʊ/. Lguipontes (talk) 06:14, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Everything I've read about French phonology says that [ʎ] is rare among French dialects. Do you have something that says otherwise? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:06, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Already at Google. I was not searching about it right now, but anyway, we know that, while yeísmo is happening since the start of the Modern Era in French, it still was there 40 years ago; also, the fact that American English doesn't have /ɒ/ don't mean we will conflate this in the /ɑː/ set on the transcription. I will try my best, luckily English and Portuguese have a lot of French and I am used to Romance grammar. :P Lguipontes (talk) 16:56, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Good luck on the search. If you find a ref for an article you think might help but you can't access, let me know and I'll try to get it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 17:16, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
This 2005 Lithuanian research over French phonology states that "[a] part la sonante mouillée [lʲ] et l’expirée [h], le consonantisme du moyen français est celui du français moderne. L’élimination de la sonante [lʲ] qui passera plus tard à [j] ne créera pas de relations nouvelles dans le système puisque la langue possède ce dernier phonème depuis des siècles. Il existe cependant des dialectes qui connaissent de nos jours la consonne mouillée [lʲ], tels les dialectes du Midi et de l’Ouest de la France." at page 21, "[c]e qui caractérise le XVIe siècle, c’est essentiellement la réintroduction de consonnes qui s'étaient amuïes, et le règlement, partiel et provisoire, de la prononciation des voyelles finales. Ajoutons cependant quelques précisions: le [l] mouillé existe toujours, il se maintiendra [that is, will continue to be so] jusqu'au XIXe siècle (on prononce [file] et non [fij]) ; les [r] sont «roulés», ils deviendront dorso-vélaires au XVIIe siècle." at page 28 and that "[c]omme le consonantisme moderne est déjà constitué en moyen français, il subit juste quelques retouches aux XVIIe et XVIIIe éliminant les derniers restes des caractéristiques d'autrefois, telle la mouillure du [l'] qui passe à [j] dans le parler populaire parisien dès la fin du XVIIe, mais se maintient dans l'usage jusqu'au milieu du XIXe. Dans le système consonantique, il ne reste à partir du XIXe qu'une seule consonne mouillée—[ɲ]." (I believe they use this symbol for the same sound of Brazilian nh.) at page 35 even though "3) II existe des hésitations dans la prononciation [lj][j] et [nj][ɲ]: milliard [miˈljaːr — miˈjaːr]; panier [paˈnje — paˈɲe]; gagner [gaˈɲe — gaˈnje]" at page 41.
It seems that what previously were palatal or heavily palatalized lateral and liquids are for the most part non-lateral approximants and nasal approximants now, though some conservative speakers still have them the most ancient way (so IMHO at least for half of the French more closely fits Portuguese allophonies – just using sounds that demand less energy in articulation, and mastering liquids is indeed hard, not really a merger to the point you can neither hear the difference nor produce it – rather than Spanish yeísmo, seseo and English vowel and wh/w mergers, but we can't have the evidence as Portuguese is much more prone to both lateral and palatal minimal pairs than any other Gallo-Iberian AFAIK). They didn't mention Occitan or Arpitan interference (BTW they are so endangered now that I wouldn't expect) as one would expect from someone with a basis in Linguistics... that one was the best (most recent, complete, factually accurate, citing other people, not-my-native-language) I found and could understand (in 3 hours of research and 9 of sleep, I must admit). I could draw by it that it still is a phoneme, with a near-extinct presence in Oïl and Breton areas (true dying, if we are really to compare this with Spanish, only starting by the mid-1800s), a weak among the Provençals, and a mild presence in Corsican-, Arpitan- and other Occitan-speaking lands. Lguipontes (talk) 06:27, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, none of that is surprising. I don't think there are enough dialects to make it worthwhile to change our transcriptions, though. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 11:58, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

"Vin" = "uh"?[edit]

I'm not a native French speaker, but the English equivalent given for ɛ̃ ("uh" as in "uh huh") seems way off. - ClaireJV (talk) 21:57, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

  • demain :

In Modern Parisian French, /ɛ̃/ becomes [æ̃]. (talk) 13:14, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Being a native speaker who has lived in different regions of France, I agree and would even add (though I'm no phonetician) that this is the standard Metropolitan French pronunciation, except for some parts of the South. [æ̃] or [ã], I'm not sure, but definitely not [ɛ̃]. Actually, all the descriptions of nasal vowels sound wrong to me, except [œ̃] which does exist but mainly in the South. And I'm pretty sure I have a standard pronunciation for these phonemes - I'm still talking only about Metropolitan French. As this is just my native, non-professional opinion, does anyone know of any source supporting this? Tanynep (talk) 09:22, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Actually, I found a related discussion here. Tanynep (talk) 21:38, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

English approximation for "ʁ" as "loch?"[edit]

I think the English approximation for "ʁ" as the "ch" in loch is wrong, no? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:06, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Pretty spot-on for Belgium, actually, and probably the best we can do for the standard sound. — lfdder 03:12, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

é = air (Australian accent)??[edit]

This seems highly odd for a number of reasons. First, while Australia is awesome and Australians are, to a man (and woman), quite excellent people, it's probably not that useful to provide a pronunciation example that requires knowing a particular sound in an accent with which comparatively few people around the world are intimately familiar. Second, and more importantly, I don't think that the Australian 'air' is anything like the French 'é'. A better example would be 'hey', which both sounds a lot closer to 'é' and has the additional benefit of sounding broadly similar in nearly every English dialect. -- Hux (talk) 02:38, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Actually, according to Australian English, the vowel of air is [eː], which is indeed similar to French é, aside from being long rather than short. — Eru·tuon 02:03, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Example: "Says"[edit]

Under sample English, it gives "Says" as an example for ɛ, what I used to call "Long A".

However, we routinely pronounce that word as"Sez". Better to list "Days" or "Ways" or even "Weighs" as the example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:13, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Those would be closer to /e/. — kwami (talk) 22:02, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
You're missing the point. The example is supposed to have a word pronounced sez, rhyming with fez, not a word pronounced with ay, rhyming with weighs. The French sound being exemplified is [ɛː], not [eː] or [eɪ]. — Eru·tuon 01:19, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Maybe we should use fez, then. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 02:24, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Fez is a pretty rare word. Something like red would be better. (With voiced sound triggering long vowel in many English dialects, and no vowel shifts or allophonoic pronunciations that I know of occur before d, as opposed to n or l or r.) — Eru·tuon 03:02, 18 January 2015 (UTC)