Pronunciation / Intonation with the interrogative word

A1 Breakthrough
The melody of the French language encompasses 4 levels.

The statement starts on level 2: it is the most comfortable tone.
The last syllable of the statement falls on level 1: this means that the interlocutor can speak.

When asking a question with an interrogative word (“ pourquoi , combien”, “est-ce que”), two intonations are possible:
  • all the interrogative word falls on level 4,

4. Est-ce que __________________
3. _____________________________
2. __________ tu aimes la sa______
1. _________________________ lade ?
  • the last syllable of the sentence falls on level 4.
4. ___________________________lade ?
3. _____________aimes_____________
2. Est-ce que tu________ la sa_______
1. ________________________________

4: tone of the question.
3: tone of the sentence that is not finished.
2: tone at the start of a statement.
1: tone at the end of a sentence.

Going up until reaching this high-pitched tone is very important: it means that it is a question, not a statement.

Practical exercises

Pronunciation: intonation with the interrogative word

5 exercises
Listen • Pronunciation (intonation, rhythm and stressing)