Pronunciation / The "on" sound

A1 Breakthrough
Have you ever tried imitating the way a French person speaks? Have you ever tried imitating sounds that you feel are typically French?
What do you think of French vowels? Are they: awful, normal, rather / really beautiful? You don't know?

Is the difference between:
son and
sans
impossible, hard, or easy to make out?
dont and
dent
impossible, hard, or easy to pronounce?

In your opinion, which is the most beautiful vowel?
In your opinion, which vowel is the most dreadful?
 

] is a vowel that sounds typically French to foreigners' ears. It's one of the nasal vowels, as, for example, the [ã] sound in
"cent ans"
and [ɛ̃], in
"vingt".


The [õ] sound is the nasal equivalent of [o], a deep sound, as if it were coming from the centre of the body. When pronouncing it, you let air out of your mouth and your nose at the same time. If you find it hard, you can start by saying [o] while pinching your nose closed.

The [õ] sound is generally spelled:

"on":
boisson
poisson
citron
"om" + p/b:
sombre
   

You can hear it in the following onomatopoeia:
"Ding dong"
"Ronron"


Start practicing !
The [õ] sound is a deep and labial sound, using moderate tension.

If you tend to pronounce the [ã] sound when you want to say the [õ] sound: remember to purse your lips, and keep your mouth almost closed, just as if you were about to kiss someone.

You can start imitating the examples:
- when repeating the example, try saying it fast and slowly, yelling and whispering it.
- try repeating in time with the example, as precisely as possible.