Pronunciation/The "an" sound

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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, difficult, easy to hear?
dont and
dent
impossible, difficult, easy to pronounce?


The [ã] is a vowel that sounds typically French to foreigners' ears. It is pronounced like the
sound [õ] in
"onze," [ɛ͂] in
"vingt," which is pronounced by exhaling out of the mouth and nose at the same time.

The [ã] sound is the nasal equivalent of [a], a deep sound as if it were coming from the centre of the body, where the plexus is located.

The [ã] sound is generally written:
"an" : avance, manger, ordonnance
"en" : accident, dent, médicament, prendre, rendez-vous, urgences
"am" + b/p : chambre
"em" + b/p : remboursement
 
You can hear it in the following onomatopoeias:
"Vlan !"
"Pan!"


Start practising!
The [ã] is a deep, non-labial sound, using moderate tension.
You can practise pronouncing the [ã] by sounding out the consonants that are pronounced using the same area of the mouth:
 

Syllables consonant - vowel

m[ã] - d[ã] - t[ã]

Syllables consonant - consonant - vowel

lm[ã] - fr[ã] - pr[ã]
tr[ã] - dm[ã]

Syllable consonant - vowel - consonant

s[ã]t - p[ã]s - m[ã]d
f[ã]s - s[ã]s - r[ã]t
t[ã]t - k[ã]t
 
If you tend to pronounce
[õ], think about the
[ã].

It's also easier to pronounce [ã]:
- by not pushing the lips forward
-with a rising intonation, question or exclamation
- with the "s" and "t" consonants.

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

Exercices de mise en pratique

Pronunciation: The "an" sound

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5 exercises
Watch • Listen • Pronunciation (Sons / Nasales - in, an, on)