Pronunciation / The sound [ʒ] - “j”

A1 Breakthrough
What is the shared sound between “jeu” and “gens”? Learn how to write and pronounce the sound [ʒ] with this help.
What is the difference between these two sounds?
les (z)ans
les gens

Do you find these sounds difficult to pronounce?
Have you ever noticed the lip movement of a French speaker? The [ʒ] is a consonant pronounced by pursing your lips, as if you were blowing out the candles on your birthday cake. Many sounds in French are pronounced with the front part of the mouth, with rounded pursed lips.
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The lips are forward.
The sound is audible. You can feel it vibrating in the throat.

You can practice pronouncing the [ʒ], by sounding out vowels pronounced using the same area of the mouth:

ʒø  ʒø
dø  ʒø
nø  ʒø


If you pronounce [j] (as in: “paille”) instead of [ʒ] (as in  “page”): try replacing this sound with [ʃ] from chaud”.
paille page chaud
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If you pronounce [ʃ] (as in “chant”) instead of [ʒ] (as in “gens”): try saying [aʒa], it will be easier.  
chant gens [aʒa]
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  • The sound [ʒ] is written:
- j”, as in “bonjour”.
- g” (+ e, i, y), as in manger , girafe , “ gymnastique .

Practical exercises

Pronunciation: the sound [ʒ] - “j”

6 exercises
Listen • Pronunciation (sounds / consonants - r, p, b...)