Première classe A1 Breakthrough

Pronunciation: the "u" sound

Écoutez les sons de l'exercice et cliquez dans la bonne colonne.
Listen to the sounds of the activity, and click the correct column.
Cochez la ou les bonnes réponses Help on how to respond the exercice
The two words are identical.The two words are different.
The two words are identical.The two words are different.
The two words are identical.The two words are different.
The two words are identical.The two words are different.
The two words are identical.The two words are different.
nbOk item (s) out of nb selected correctly
Watch out !
Well done !
Conception: Geneviève Briet, Université catholique de Louvain
Published on 03/05/2013 - Modified on 10/12/2019

Pronunciation / The sound “u“

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:
dessus and
dessous
impossible, difficult, easy to hear?

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

Have you ever observed a French-speaker's lips as they speak?

The [y] is a typical French vowel: you pronounce it by pursing your lips, as if you were blowing the candles out on a birthday cake. Many French sounds are pronounced at the front of the mouth, lips rounded and pursed, and your tongue curled.

The sounds
[y] "tu",
[ø] "deux",
[œ] "neuf",
in [R] "trois" are pronounced from the front of the mouth.

Some people, while learning French, find that it seems to be pronounced as if you were blowing kisses.

The sound [y] is almost always written "u".

You can hear it in the following onomatopoeias:
"zut !"
"chut !"
   


Practise!
The sound [y] is a taut, sharp, and labial sound.
You can practise pronouncing the [y] by sounding out the consonants that are pronounced using the same area of the mouth:

ys -∫y – sys

yt – ty – syt

y∫ - ∫y - sy∫

tys - ∫ys – zys

tyt - ∫yt – zyt

ty∫ - ∫y∫ - zy∫

tyz - ∫yz – zyz

If you tend to pronounce
[u], think of the sound
[i], when you want to say
[y].

It's also easier to pronounce [y] using rising intonation, like when you ask a question in French using intonation.
You can imitate 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.

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