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French vocabulary for summer

52 Fun French Vocabulary Words and Phrases for Summer

French vocabulary for summer

Summer, summer, summertime! It’s the perfect time to relax and have some fun. Plus, it’s a season full of fun French words and phrases! Read on to learn some vocab from French tutor Beth L. 

 

Summer is coming, and France is a wonderful haven during this time of year (if you can avoid the heat)! The weather is warm, and delicious, fresh food abounds. Children are on vacation from school, and many families take advantage of that to travel. For many, the allure of nature and the great outdoors is difficult to resist.

What will you be doing with your summer? Beef up your vocabulary so you can tell your friends about it – in French!

One of the first things summer brings to mind is the excitement of vacation and travel.

1) l’été – summer
2) les vacances – vacation
Note: les vacances d’été – summer vacation
3) voyager – to travel
4) un voyage – a journey
5) juin – June
6) juillet – July
7) août – August

Now, let’s use these words in a sentence! For example…

  • Pendant mes vacances d’été, j’aime bien voyager! (During my summer vacation, I like to travel!)
  • Je peux choisir le mois de juin, le mois de juillet, ou le mois d’août pour mon voyage. (I can choose the month of June, the month of July, or the month of August for my trip.)

Many people enjoy the extra time and warmer weather to enjoy the outdoors.

8) le parc – the park
9) la pelouse – the lawn / grass
10) un pique-nique – a picnic
11) de la glace – some ice cream
12) la plage – the beach
13) le sable – sand
14) la piscine – the swimming pool
15) la mer – the sea
16) l’océan – the ocean
17) un maillot de bain – a swim suit
18) un lac – a lake
19) un bateau – a boat
20) nager – to swim
21) le Jardin – the garden
22) jardiner – to garden
23) une fleur / des fleurs – a / some flower(s)
24) une plante – a plant
25) un arbre – a tree
26) la nature – nature
27) les montagnes – the mountains
28) dehors – outside
29) marcher – to walk
30) courir – to run
31) jouer – to play

Editor’s Note: Get a refresher on conjugating -er verbs.

Example sentences:

  • Pendant l’été, nous jouons souvent dans le parc. (During the summer, we often play in the park.)
  • On prend un pique-nique pour déjeuner déhors. (We bring a picnic to eat lunch outside.)
  • J’aime surtout le jardin d’enfants avec ses fleurs et ses arbres. (I especially like the children’s garden with its flowers and trees.)
  • J’ai toujours aimé les bateaux. (I always liked boats.)
  • Quand je suis à la mer, je fais du bateau à voiles. (When I’m by the sea, I go sailboating.)
  • Quand je passe du temps à un lac, je regarde l’eau et les arbres, et j’écoute la silence. (When I spend time at a lake, I look at the water and the trees, and I listen to the silence.)

With the outdoors, of course, you’ll need to be able to talk about the beautiful weather, as well.

32) le soleil – the sun
33) la chaleur – the heat
34) le vent – the wind
35) les nuages – the clouds
36) le ciel – the sky
37) le sud – the south

Example sentences:

  • Quand on va à la plage, il faut se souvenir de son maillot de bain! (When you go to the beach, you must remember your bathing suit!)
  • Comme ça, on peut courir dans l’eau et dans le sable. On peut se bronzer sous le soleil, sentir le vent sur la peau, et apprécier la beauté de l’eau et du ciel. (That way, you/we/one can run in the water and in the sand. You/we/one can tan yourself/ourselves/oneself in the sun, feel the wind on your/our/one’s skin, and appreciate the beauty of the water and the sky.)

In addition to the words above, below are some common phrases and expressions related to summer.

1) Je vais dehors – I’m going outside
2) Il fait chaud – It’s hot
3) Il fait du soleil – It’s sunny
4) Il fait beau – It’s / the weather is beautiful
5) Il fait du vent – It’s windy
6) donner de l’ombre – give / provide shade
7) se limoger – to distance oneself
8) faire du camping – to go camping
9) faire du bateau à voile – to go sailboating
10) aller à la (f.) / aller au (m.) / aller aux (pl.) – to go to
11) prendre l’autoroute – take the highway
12) tomber en panne – break down
13) un coup de soleil – sunburn
14) prendre un coup de soleil – get a sunburn
15) se bronzer – to sunbathe / to get a tan

Check the same regular verb list linked above for help conjugating the regular -er verbs on this list. Several more expressions use the verbs faire and aller. (Learn more about irregular conjugations here.)

Example sentences:

  • Aujourd’hui, on a voulu se bronzer à la plage. (Today, we wanted to tan ourselves at the beach.)
  • Mais on est tombé en panne quand on a pris l’autoroute. (But our car broke down when we were getting onto the freeway.)
  • On a perdu toute une journée d’été! (We lost a whole day of summer!)

So, what are your favorite French words and phrases for summer? Here are ours:

Fun French Vocabulary Words for Summer

As school lets out and the summer begins, don’t be the first to lose your French – instead, continue practicing with your friends while you’re out having fun!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

Photo by Tommie Hansen

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ap french exam

7 Proven Strategies to Help You Ace Your Next AP French Exam

ap french exam

Are you nervous about your upcoming AP French exam? Below, French teacher Jinky B. shares seven fool-proof strategies that will help you ace your exam…

Studying for your AP French exam can be intimidating–not to mention overwhelming. Luckily, there are proven and applicable methods you can use to help set yourself up for success.

Below are some of my favorite study methods that I suggest my students do before taking their AP French exam. You can either do these exercises by yourself or with your French tutor.

Note, that these study strategies can also be used when preparing for the International Baccalaureate French exam.

7 Study Tips to Help You Nail Your AP French Exam

1. Create a study plan

While it might seem a little soon, start studying two to three months before the AP French exam. The more time that you leave for review, the less time you should have to review each day.

Consistent repetition is ideal for learning a language. Set aside 30 minutes a day to review a specific grammar subject; for example, agreement, prepositions, and articles.

2. Review important French conjunctions

While it’s important to know the basic conjunctions, such as mais (but) and lorsque (when), it’s a good idea to start reviewing those special constructions that will you set you above your peers.

Coordinating conjunctions for emphasis: ne…ni…ni (neither…nor) and ou…ou (either…or).

Also, pay attention to those special conjunctions that are used with the subjunctive tense, such as quoique (even though).

3. Practice conjugating regular verbs and commonly occurring irregular verbs

Make sure that you’re familiar with the conjugations of the three different verb groups: -er, -ir, and -re. Also, be sure to you know the conjugations of être and avoir.

These are two verbs that you will encounter when conjugating not only the simple tenses of present, imperfect, and future, but also as a helping verb when writing in the passé composé and plus-que-parfait.

Keep in mind that when using the passé composé with étre, there needs to be subject agreement.

For example, Elles sont allées au cinéma. (They went to the movies). This is a group of women, so you must add an e and an s for agreement.

4. Listen to French podcasts and the radio

One of the best ways to prepare for your AP French exam or to simply maintain your French comprehension is by listening to podcasts.

Set aside five to ten minutes, ideally in the morning so that you’re able to start thinking in French without all the distractions of the day.

Most French podcasts offer different levels, but you should be listening to ones at the highest levels. I recommend Coffee Break French because it’s quick and easy with the structured time frame.

More authentic listening is ideal, so just tune into French radio. Most can be streamed online or via your phone.

5. Watch French movies without subtitles

There are a ton of American movies that you can stream in the French language. When watching, try not display the subtitles because they do not always coincide with what is being said on the screen. Rather, sit back and watch the movie!

If you need some help finding what to watch, browse through these two posts for some great options:

6. Talk to your friends

Use your readily available sources. You’re most likely going to be in a classroom with other anxious students preparing for the AP French exam.

Gather a group of students together and set aside 30 minutes to discuss a topic. It could be something that is pre-determined, such as a movie that everyone watched. Or it could be something more relaxed, such as speaking in French over lunch.

7. Remember to relax

This is the most important part of test preparation. Relax. You’ve prepared for months. Do something that you enjoy. Sleep well. Eat a healthy breakfast. Put yourself in a positive mind-set. Cramming last minute benefits no one. So, just know that you’re prepared and you will succeed!

Good Luck!

Now that you have some proven methods for success, go tackle your AP French exam with confidence.

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French lessons in Jacksonville, FL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature and Psychology from Florida State University and has over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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french learning app

French Language App Review: MosaLingua

french learning app

Are you looking for a fun app to help you practice French in between lessons? Below, French teacher Jinky B. shares her review of the French language app MosaLingua… 

As a French instructor for students of various ages and proficiency levels, I’m always searching for easy and interactive apps to help supplement French lessons.

So when I was introduced to the French learning app MosaLingua, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and fun it was to use.

The science behind the app is a formula of timed repetition. After words are introduced and reviewed, they are repeated at specific points in time.

This formula allows students to learn French words and phrases quickly. What’s more, the student can see and track progress via visual graphs.

Below are some of my favorite benefits the app offers as well as ways students can use the app to learn French effectively.

1. Learn Essential Vocabulary

MosaLingua initially provides the student with flashcards. Based on the student’s proficiency level, the flashcards can be increased in difficulty.

A clear audio clip is played and then the student repeats the phrase via a recording option.

The flip side of the flashcard then shows the French vocabulary word, its English equivalent, and the word(s) in a sentence.

I love the recording option. The student can compare the recording to the teacher recording and make any necessary changes.french learning app

2. Explore Thematic Vocabulary

If students are interested in exploring a specific theme—for example, shopping or traveling—a list of thematic categories is provided.

Within each category are more specified lists, such as how to ask the cost of an item or how to ask where something is located.

This is a great option if the student desires to quickly learn a set of phrases to use in a certain situation.

french learning app

3. Listen to Dialogues

One feature that I particularly like is audio of actual dialogue depicting common situations that arise during travel or everyday life.

Students have the option to listen only to the dialogue or to also see the corresponding French and English subtitles.

This feature is great for students who are working on their pronunciation skills and oral comprehension.

french learning app

MosaLingua is incredibly user-friendly with various ways to practice French vocabulary. Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate student, the app is a great way to practice in between your French lessons.

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French lessons in Jacksonville, FL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature and Psychology from Florida State University and has over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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french grammar

10 French Grammar Mistakes You’re Probably Making

french grammar

Mastering all of the French grammar rules can be tricky for beginner students. Below, French teacher Carol Beth L. shares 10 French grammar mistakes you’re probably making…

Making mistakes is inevitable when you’re learning a new language. After all, you’re learning complex grammar rules, difficult pronunciation, and long lists of vocabulary words.

Students often make the same French grammar mistakes over and over again. Being aware of these common grammar mistakes will help you avoid them in the future.

Below are some of the most common French grammar mistakes students find themselves making, even when they are familiar with the rules.

The first few mistakes relate to specific phrases that students have a tendency to misuse, while the rest deal with grammatical patterns that are quite complex.

1. Greetings

In English, when you greet someone in the early morning hours, you typically say “Good morning.” This English greeting doesn’t translate literally in French.

In fact, the phrase “Bon matin” does not actually exist in the French language. Rather, one would simply say “Bonjour!” when greeting someone.

2. Translations

A number of other literal translations can also be tempting. For example, you might want to express your interest in hobbies, people, and activities.

Be careful not to literally translate the English phrase “I am interested in…” into French (eg, Je suis interessée dans…). Instead, say “Ça m’interesse” (That interests me) or “____ m’interesse” (____ interests me).

3. Subject/Object

To correctly state that you miss someone, use the verb “se manquer.” If you want to say “I miss you,” say “Tu me manques.”

To say “He misses us,” say “Nous lui manquons.” Remember that the English subject and object switch places when translated into French.

4. Agreement

Remember to make adjectives properly agree with feminine or plural nouns. For example, the adjective “amusant (funny) would be changed to “amusantein the feminine singular and “amusantesin the feminine plural.

In English, adjectives don’t usually change based on the gender or number, so it’s easy for students to forget this important French grammar rule.

5. Articles

French has more articles than English. Both languages use “a” and “the”, but French has separate articles to denote masculine, feminine, and plural of each one.

Recall, however, that no neuter exists among French pronouns or articles. For example, a table is most definitely feminine, whereas the wall beside it is quite masculine.

In addition to having more articles, French also uses articles more frequently than English. In English, for example, you would say that “We meet regularly on Mondays,” but French-speakers would use the appropriate article, saying “on se rencontre régulièrement le lundi.

6. Prepositions

Remember to use the correct preposition and include the appropriate article contraction when necessary. In theory, French prepositions are easier than English prepositions because there are fewer of the most common ones.

For example, “De” translates to “of” or “from”, and “à” translates to “to,” “at,” and sometimes other related location or movement prepositions.

A few places to watch out are when you’re talking about playing musical instruments (Je joue d’un instrument) and sports (Je joue à un sport).

Also, be extra careful with those pesky articles! Relevant contractions include “du” (“de” + “le”), “des” (“de” + “les”), “au” (“à” + “le”) and “aux” (“à” + “les”). “De”, “la”, and “à la” do not contract.

7. Negative Articles

Use “il n’y a pas de” rather than “il y a pas de”. When using “de” or “de” + an article in the negative, remember that French has lots of exceptions! This is one of them.

If there is zero of something, take out the article. For example, someone could say “Il y a du pain sur la table” (There is bread on the table). In the negative, this would become “Il n’y a pas de pain sur la table,” not “Il n’y a pas du pain sur la table.”

8. Conjugated Verbs

Remember to conjugate your verbs. While we do this in the English language, it’s not as much or in as much detail as French-speakers.

This is especially important when you’re writing because all those silent final consonants and vowels need attention.

The singular forms are the most similar in present tense, but are not always spelled the same, so watch out!

9. Passé composé/ Imparfait

The English distinction between the present perfect and the simple past isn’t exactly the same as the French distinction between these two tenses.

The passé composé is very commonly used for one-time events in the past. For example, “J’ai fait mes devoirs hier soir.” (I did my homework last night.)

The imperfect is used more often for something a person used to do over a period of time in the past. For example, “Je faisais mes devoirs tous les jours.” (I did my homework every day.)

10. Subjunctive

The subjunctive is one of the most difficult verbs in French, if not the most difficult because we don’t use it often in English. Many of us anglophones aren’t even aware of the fact that we use it at all.

The first step is to understand the situations in which it is used, and then practice, observe, and correct oneself. Then practice some more, and observe some more, and correct oneself more.

Give yourself time to perfect this French grammar rule, but also insist on understanding and using it correctly. Gradually, you will be able to use it successfully.

These aren’t the only French grammar mistakes out there, but they are certainly worthy of attention.

Keep your eyes open and your ears peeled for other mistakes, and correct them when you can. In no time, you will be well on your way to excellent (and impressive) French usage!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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15+ Fun (and Free) French Activities for Kids

french activities

Is your child learning to speak French? If so, it’s important that he or she practices French outside of school and/or private lessons.

Finding fun ways to practice French, however, can be difficult. After all, there’s only so much time in one day.

Luckily, there are tons of fun French activities you can do with your child to help him or her learn and practice the language.  Below are 25+ fun (and free) French activities for kids.

To make it easy to browse, the activities are broken down into various categories, such as French cultural activities, French grammar activities, French vocabulary activities, and more.

French Cultural Activities

french activities

1. Take your child to a museum

France has produced some of the most talented artists, such as Monet and Renoir. Check your local museum’s schedule to see when it is featuring a French-inspired exhibition and bring your child along. The admission for children is typically free.

2. Celebrate French holidays

Celebrating important French holidays, such as Bastille Day, will teach your child about French history. Celebrate by making some fun crafts or taking part in holiday traditions. Similar to the Fourth of July, the French display fireworks.  

3. Cook a French meal

Familiarize your child with French cuisine by having him or her help you whip up a traditional French meal. Your child can channel their inner Julia Child with traditional French dishes, such as quiche and crème brûlée.

4. Watch a French movie

Fire up Netflix and host a French movie night with your family. Here are some kid-friendly French movies you and your child can enjoy: “A Monster in Paris,” “The Red Ballon,” and “Tintin and the Lake of Sharks.”

5. Listen to French music

Do you have a Pandora or Spotify account? Download some French tunes to listen to while at home or on the road. Listening to French music will help familiarize your child with French accents and pronunciations.

French Grammar Activities

french activities

6. Play Simon Says

Put a French spin on the game Simon Says. Take on the role of Simon and issue commands. For example, “Simon says…le pied!” or “Simon says…le nez.” This French activity does a great job teaching kids the different body parts in French.

7. Twenty Questions

Give this guessing game a French twist. First, think of a place or person and keep it to yourself. Your child will ask you 20 yes or no questions in French to determine what place or person you’re thinking of.

8. Put on a scavenger hunt

Set up a fun scavenger hunt around the yard or house. At each destination, your child will have to read a clue (in French) to move onto the next destination. At the end, reward your child with a fun toy or treat.

9. Act it out together

Gather the family and play a game of charades. First, divide everyone into two teams. Then, write out a selection of French verbs, nouns, or phrases to act out. The first team will act out a verb, noun, and phrase, while the other team guesses.

10. French nursery rhymes

A great way to learn French is through song. “Alouette” and “Frere Jacques” are two of the most popular French nursery songs that kids learn. Print out the song and sing along with your child.

French Vocabulary Activities

french activities

11. Puzzles

You can download and print dozens of free French crosswords and word searches for your child. He or she will have fun playing, while simultaneously learning French vocabulary and simple sentences. Keep a stack in the car for long road trips.

12. Memory game

Create some French flashcards and place them face down on a table. Your child will flip over two cards. If the pictures match, your child will flip over two more cards. The point of the game is to match all of the cards from memory.

13. Coloring books

Purchase a French coloring book for as little as $5 on Amazon. These coloring books will spark your child’s creativity, while helping him or her learn various vocabulary words and themes.

14. Read French books

There are a ton of beginner French books. Le Petit Prince is one of the most well-known French children’s books. You can find the book in almost any brick and mortar or online book store.

15. Hangman

This French activity is played exactly like the original Hangman version, except you are using French vocabulary words and phrases instead of English.

French Number Activities

french activities

16. Throw a bingo night

Create your own bingo cards from materials around the house or print some boards from the web. Your child will have to listen and identify what number you’re saying out loud.

17. Toss it

Standing in a circle, throw a tennis ball to another person within the circle. Once the person catches the ball, he or she must say the next number in French. If the person doesn’t know the correct number or mispronounces it, he or she will step outside the circle.

18. Uno

This classic card game is great for teaching your child French numbers. To make the game educational, have your child say the number of each card he or she plays in French.

Go Play!

Getting your child to practice French outside of the classroom doesn’t have to be difficult. Plan to do one or more of these French activities every week and you will see vast improvements in your child’s language abilities.

Do you have any French activities that you play with your child? Share it with us in the comments section below!

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20+ Best Pinterest Boards for Learning French Online

Do you want to learn French or supplement your current French lessons with some new exercises? Below are 20+ of the best Pinterest boards for learning French online…

Chances are you’re familiar with Pinterest; perhaps you even have an account. While great for saving delicious recipes and décor ideas, Pinterest is also useful for learning French online.

There are hundreds of Pinterest pages dedicated solely to learning French, many of which are created by French teachers and language experts themselves. From French grammar to French culture, there’s something for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students.

Since we know you don’t have time to browse through hundreds of pages, we’ve rounded up the 20+ best Pinterest boards for learning French online. We’ve even organized them into different categories to help you find what you’re looking for.

So whether you’re a student, a teacher, or just a lover of France, these boards are sure to inspire and educate you.

French Grammar and Vocabulary

1. French Learning from Language Comics: With over 90,000 pins and 21,000 followers, French Learning from Language Comics is a great resource for students. The board features an array of content, including fun French learning games and study tips.

2. Laura K Lawless: Virtual language teacher and creator of Lawless French, Laura K Lawless has a over 1,000 helpful pins for French students. Check out the “French Expressions” and “French Reading Practice” board for some awesome exercises.

3. Brenadette Rego: Language specialist, Bernadette Rego has over 60 boards that will help you learn French. We suggest taking a look at her ” French Games” and “French Verbs” boards.

4. Annette Gilleron: Creator of Learn French Lab, Annette Gilleron has curated tons of great content for French students. We especially love the “Fresh Video Tutorials” board, which features dozens of helpful videos.

French Culture and Travel

5. Let’s Move to France With Annie: Created by Annie—who moved her family to France for a one-year sabbatical—Let’s Move to France is great for those who might be considering moving or traveling to France.

6. Learn French with Talk in French: From French grammar to French music and food, Learn French with Talk in French is your one-stop-shop for learning all things French.

7. Comme une Française: Thinking about moving to France? Comme une Française, created by Géraldine Lepère, has 15 boards all dedicated to French culture. Géraldine will have you fitting into the French culture in no time.

8. Annick-Selfrench.com: Developed by French teacher Annick,  Annick-Selfrench.com features many tools and resources for learning French. She also touches on French tourism.

9. French Today: Created by the founder of French Today, French Today contains 12 boards dedicated to learning French online. In addition to French learning tips, French Today contain boards related to French culture.

French Teachers

10. For French Immersion: Perfect for teachers, For French Immersion offers an abundance of printable resources for learning French. For example, you can access printables for French grammar, vocabulary, and more.

11. Love Learning Languages: Useful for both students and teachers, Love Learning Languages has 10 different boards that cover a wide range of topics, such as French classroom ideas, beginner video lessons, and more.

12. Penny’s Primary Printables: Need some classroom inspiration? Penny’s Primary Printables has an array of resources for French teachers, including holiday and seasonal activities.

13. Teaching FSL: Useful for French teachers, Teaching FSL has several boards filled with engaging teaching ideas. From games to quizzes, there’s no shortage of activities in which you can choose.

General Languages

14. Fiona Busfield-Translator: While not solely dedicated to learning French, Fiona Busfield-Translator has a lot of inspiring content for language learners. We especially like the “Language Funnies” and “All Things France” boards.

15. Sarah @ Baby Bilingual: Do you have a child who is learning French? Sarah @ Baby Bilingual has an array of helpful tips on raising a bilingual child, including language-rich games and crafts for your little one.

16. World Language Classroom: With over 20 boards, World Language Classroom is a great resource for language teachers and students alike. Content covers all aspects of learning a language, from writing, speaking, and reading.

17. Jennifer Wagner: Creator of ielanguages.com, Jennifer Wagner is an expert in language learning. Check out her tips on learning French along with other languages, such as Dutch, Spanish, and Italian.

French Fun

18. French in Normandy: With over nine boards all dedicated to French, French in Normandy has a ton of great information for French learners. We especially like the “French Humor” board.

19. French Language for Bilinguals: Curated by Think Bilingual, French Language for Bilinguals is filled with language resources for kids and adults. From French music to French grammar, this board has over 800 pins.

20. Samantha Decker: Creator of The French Corner, Samantha Decker has curated 12 boards that every French language and culture lover will enjoy.

21. Yippee Learning: Besides language learning tips, Yippee Learning has several boards dedicated to French culture. Check out their “French Decor” and “French Painters” boards.

22.  TakeLessons Learning French: The TakeLessons’ French Pinterest board covers everything and anything French! From culture to language, you’ll find fun articles and images that will inspire you.

Happy Exploring

Learning French online has never been easier with websites like Pinterest. Browse through these 20+ boards to help reach your goals.

Do you have a Pinterest board dedicated to learning French online? Tell us about it in the comment section below and we will add it to the list!

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French Guide- When to Pronounce the Letter T

French Pronunciation Guide: When to Pronounce the Letter T

French Guide- When to Pronounce the Letter TFrench pronunciation is full of little tricks that trip beginners up. Tutor Annie A. shares her tips for pronouncing the letter T…

Try reading the following French words aloud: tarte, partons, portions, democratie, septieme, mangeaient, amitie, and vert. Do you pronounce all the T’s in the same way? Do you pronounce them at all?

There are no simple answers, and you will run into many questions about the letter T as you practice proper French pronunciation. There are many different rules that govern whether you hear a T sound, an S sound, or nothing at all. And as with many other things in the French language, there are always exceptions to those rules.

First of all, the French pronounce the letter T slightly differently than English-speakers do. In French, your tongue rests against the tip of your upper front teeth, whereas in English your tongue stays behind your teeth. This tongue position results in a softer and smoother T in French.

When to Pronounce the Letter T

Always pronounce T when it comes at the beginning of a word.

  • train, tourner, tomber

You will also always pronounce double-T’s.

  • grotte, cette, attitude

Th- is pronounced just like T because the H is silent.

  • the, theatre, theme

T is also pronounced when it is at the end of a word and followed by E.

  • droite, carte

In many nouns and adjectives, words ending with -te denote the feminine form.

  • vert, verte; petit, petite

When to Pronounce T Like S

In cases where ti- is followed by another vowel, it is pronounced as the sound “sy.”

  • Information, fiction, democratie, diplomatie, patient

Exceptions to the Rule

However, as always, there are exceptions to the ti- rule.

When ti- is followed by a vowel but preceded by S, you will pronounce the letter T.

  • amnistie, bestial, vestiaire

You also pronounce T in all forms of verbs ending in -tions and -tiez.

  • portions, portiez, inventions, inventiez, etc. (Note: this is not in the case of nouns ,eg. des portions, des adoptions, des inventions. Here the sound will be “sy”)

T is pronounced in all forms of verbs and nouns derived from the verb tenir, even the forms in which ti- is followed by another vowel.

  • Je soutiens, l’entretien, je maintiens

T is also pronounced in ordinal adjectives ending in -tieme.

  • septieme

And in feminine past participles of verbs ending in -tir.

  • partie, sortie, garantie

Pronounce your T’s in nouns and adjectives ending in -tiers or -tiere.

  • matiere (n), sentier (n), entier (adj.), entiere (adj.)

There are still other exceptions to the ti- rule. For example, pronounce the T in the following words:

  • moitie, pitie, amitie

Liaisons or Linking Sounds in French

The practice of linking a word ending in a consonant with the following word beginning with a vowel is compulsory in some cases. Often, liasons will cause you to pronounce T’s that would otherwise be silent.

When an adjective ending in T precedes a noun that starts with a vowel, the T will be pronounced, joining the two words together.

  • le petit enfant

T is also pronounced when a word starting with a vowel follows est.

  • Il est utile

Third person verbs, singular or plural, ending in T link with the following word starting with a vowel.

  • Il chantait une chanson

When is T Silent or, as the French Say, Muet?

When T is the last letter of a word, it is silent.

  • et, est, abricot, salut

However, there are a few words that are exceptions to this rule. Always pronounce the T at the end of the following words:

  • ouest, est (n), huit, brut

The T in et is always silent. Never make a liaison with et.

  • Elle est bavarde et impolie.

When a verb ends in -ent, the -ent is not pronounced.

  • ils tombent

When a verb ends in -ait or -aient, the T remains silent.

  • il tombait or ils tombaient

When a word ends in -at, the T is silent.

  • attentat

With so many rules and exceptions it seems a daunting task to learn French pronunciation, but it is not so. You can get used to the correct pronunciation by studying with a qualified teacher and practicing every day. Listen to as much spoken French as you can, keep working hard, and someday those tricky T’s will come naturally to you!

Master French pronunciation with the help of a private tutor. Tutors are available to work with you online via Skype or in-person depending on locations and availability. Search for your French tutor now!

Annie A

 Annie A. is a French instructor whose lessons are conducted exclusively online. Teaching for the past 12 years, she found her passion for the language while studying in Paris as a teenager. Learn more about Annie here!

 

 

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Photo by Franck Mahon