Pronunciation / Linking vowels

A1 Breakthrough
In French, you do not make pauses in between each word. French speakers can easily pronounce 6 syllables in row without pausing.
All the words used in expressing a single idea are pronounced in one breath: it is called the rhythmic group. The voice does not stop while pronouncing this group.

When you have two consecutive vowels, you pronounce them both and link them; you do not pause: this is called linking vowels.
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moi_aussi, j'ai du_hachis parmentier.
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Nous_aussi_on prépare le repas.
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Il faut_ajouter de la moutarde.
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Il y a_encore un plat_au four ?
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Tu_as_un kilo de pain ?
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Tu veux_un verre d'eau ?

Be careful, just because there are two consecutive written vowels does not mean that you should pronounce them. You do not pronounce the  “e” at the end of the word.

In “une orange”, there are 2 consecutive vowels but they are not linking vowels since you do not pronounce the “e” in “une”. In “une orange”, the sounds /n/ and /o/ are consecutive.
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consonant is a sound produced by changing the way air passes through your mouth: you can block the airflow and suddenly release it again (in French, this is how you say the letters b, c, d, g, k, m, n, p, q, t) or reduce the airflow (f, ch, j, l, r, s, v, w, x, z).

vowel is a sound produced by the vibration of your vocal cords. Vowels in French are represented by the letters a, e, i, o, u, y, and by the letter combinations (e)au, ai, ei, in, ein, ain, on, un, oi, ou... Vowels are generally the base of the syllable.

The letter h is a silent consonant. You do not pronounce it. In the wording, “du hachis parmentier”, you do not pronounce the “h”. You link the vowels “u” and “a”, you do not make a pause.

Practical exercises

Pronunciation: linking vowels from word to word

5 exercises
Look • Listen • Pronunciation (liaison, linkings and elision)