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French Liaisons

In French, a 'liaison' is when two words are linked together in speech (or "liaised") instead of being pronounced seperately.

Silent consonants can become pronounced during liaisons, for example, the -s in "les" is normally silent but becomes an audible -z in a liaison:

-S becomes a Z sound-D becomes a T sound
Ce sont mesamis.They are my friends.
C’est un grandappartement.It's a big flat.
-X becomes a Z sound -F becomes a V sound
Je dois sixeuros à Justine.I owe six Euros to Justine.
Il a neufans.He's nine.

Pronunciation guides often use 'tie' symbol (or an underscore) instead of a space to show when a liaison occurs in speech.

Nous regardons lesavions.We are watching the aeroplanes [US: airplanes].

Je suis avec desamis.I'm with some friends.

Tesenfants sont là.Your children are here.

There are three types of liaisons -

Mandatory liaisons: liaisons every French person will pronounce

Forbidden liaisons: these are liaisons which would never be said by a French native (but might be tempting)

Optional liaisons: some liaisons depend on social background, age, mood and tradition. In this section ‘over liaising’ can sound precious.

See also: Élision

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