nasalized vowels in French

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  • Gez

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The nasalized vowels are an, en, in, on, un.

    Note that "en" will be pronounced as "an" in most cases (e.g., enchanteur), but sometimes will be pronounced as "in" or "un" (e.g., examen).

    Also, the difference between "in" and "un" is very, very subtle. For most people it's the same sound. So, we have an, on, and in.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    mon ami [mõ na mi]
    mon enfant [mõ nã fã]
    mon instinct [mõ n3~s t3~]
    mon humble avis [mõ noe~ bla vi]
     

    ronanpoirier

    Senior Member
    Brazil - Portuguese
    Ah, yay! :)

    Oh, so it seems like French has 4 nasal vowels:

    An/En = Nasal A
    In = Nasal È
    Un = Nasal ?
    On = Nasal O

    So UN is a nasal for what? :p
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Ah, yay! :)So UN is a nasal for what? :p
    un humble citoyen perdu dans les embruns

    The nasal vowel represented by the digraph <un> is slowly disappearing from colloquial French. Many French speakers now replace it by the other one represented by the digraph <in>. Even those who do utter it are not always aware they do.

    In phonetics <un> is represented by the o + e ligature with a tilde above.
     

    KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    Qcumber said:
    [...] Even those who do utter it are not always aware they do. [...]
    :) I utter it and I'm aware I do, is another free statement like yours.

    Some actually say it the same, but others don't. And some can't hear those subtle discrepancies, that doesn't mean they don't exist... But it's obvious there is a tendancy to reduce those differences nowadays when speaking.
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    In the fifties in the school I learned to pronounce <un> and <in> in a different way, and it wasn't difficult. Twenty years later in Paris people didn't understand me if I pronounced the indefinite article <un> instead of <in>. Did it really change between 1955 and 1975?
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    :) I utter it and I'm aware I do, is another free statement like yours. :p )
    Obviously I made myself misunderstood.
    I should have said: "Not all who utter it are aware they do."
    I didn't mean all those who utter it are not aware they do.
    Is that clear now?
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    In the fifties in the school I learned to pronounce <un> and <in> in a different way, and it wasn't difficult. Twenty years later in Paris people didn't understand me if I pronounced the indefinite article <un> instead of <in>. Did it really change between 1955 and 1975?
    The tendency of not being able to make a difference in pronouncing "in" and "un" was born in Paris some time in the past, and is now widespread throughout a huge part of northern France.
    However, I pronounce them differently, I live in Paris, and everybody understands me ! (I am afraid your try was not very realistic when you pronounced "un") :)
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    The tendency of not being able to make a difference in pronouncing "in" and "un" was born in Paris some time in the past, and is now widespread throughout a huge part of northern France.
    However, I pronounce them differently, I live in Paris, and everybody understands me ! (I am afraid your try was not very realistic when you pronounced "un") :)
    Sorry, I have to correct myself: In fact I was understood but sometimes French people said that my pronunciation of <un> sounds strange.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    2nd: Could someone tell me the nasal sounds for vowels in French? I mean, "an = nasalized a" and so on. :)
    Unfortunately, they are not easy to describe. Only one of them coincides with a Portuguese nasal vowel, [õ] (written "on/om").

    The other nasal vowels are:

    - nasal [a], which is written "an/am" or "en/em". Note that this is not the same sound as the Portuguese "ã"! The French base vowel is more open, like our [á].

    - nasal [é] (officially, though I've heard here in the forum that it's actually a nasal [æ] in modern French, and that makes sense, from what I know), written "in/im" or "ain/aim".

    - nasal [œ], written "un/um". Traditionally, this was a different vowel from the previous one, but in contemporary French "un" tends to be pronounced like "in".

    Useful links:
    Wikipedia's page on the phonology of French.
    Here you can hear the nasal vowels of French.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    Words that keep nasalization in cases of liaison (this list should be nearly exhaustive):
    mon, ton, son
    un, aucun, commun
    en
    bien, rien, (combien – is there ever liaison after this word???)​
     

    ilie86

    Banned
    Italien
    Par contre, avec bien et rien, on réalise la liaison mais le son nasal reste, n'est-ce pas?

    Bien avant son arrivée --> bjɛ̃n_avɑ̃
     

    xbt

    Banned
    English - USA
    mon ami [mõ na mi]
    mon enfant [mõ nã fã]
    mon instinct [mõ n3~s t3~]
    mon humble avis [mõ noe~ bla vi]
    What about "d'un certain âge" (middle-aged)? Do you say sɛʀtɛ̃ naʒ or sɛʀtɛn naʒ? In other words, do you pronounce it certaine âge or certè nage?
     

    Locape

    Senior Member
    French
    Like 'un certain ordre' is sometimes pronounced 'certain nordre' and sometimes 'certaine ordre', 'un certain âge' can have both pronunciations, depending on the people or region. So 'un certain nage' or 'un certaine âge'. But there are expressions with only one pronunciation (le divin enfant : 'divine enfant', bien-aimé(e) : 'bien naimé'...)
     

    AH92

    Banned
    Hebrew - Israel
    In other words, do you pronounce it certaine âge or certè nage?
    I believe the vowel in âge is not the same as the one in "(je) nage". All the dictionaries give a different vowel for âge, one that for the life of me I cannot detect; it always sounds the same as the one in "(je) nage".
     
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