Article on pronunciation of final consonants in French
Thread poster: Neil Coffey

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:03
French to English
+ ...
Jan 14, 2013

For those interested, just to mention another article of mine that has appeared today on the pronunciation of final consonants in French in case it is of interest to anyone here or in particular if anyone has any comments! (Please excuse one or two very small typos which will hopefully get fixed soon!)

Direct link Reply with quote
 

cecilea7
United States
Local time: 02:03
Member (2010)
Portuguese to French
+ ...
Very exhaustive all these 'nic-nac' rules. Jan 14, 2013

As a teacher of French, I would present this in a grounded approach that will provide learners broader and reliable understanding of the concept minimizing risk of errors in other areas than pronunciation as well.

[Edited at 2013-01-14 18:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-01-14 18:15 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@cecilea7 - What kind of errors did you have in mind? Jan 14, 2013

I'm interested by the last comment -- I wondered if you had any examples of the types of errors that you are thinking of?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:03
Chinese to English
+ ...
c after n Jan 14, 2013

The “c after n is never pronounced” rule is not actually true, is it? since “donc” is (or—now I’m confused—at least can be pronounced) /dõk/. It is a “common short word,” but the list of exceptions doesn’t make it clear that this is in fact an exception.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jan 14, 2013

Ambrose Li wrote:

The “c after n is never pronounced” rule is not actually true, is it? since “donc” is (or—now I’m confused—at least can be pronounced) /dõk/. It is a “common short word,” but the list of exceptions doesn’t make it clear that this is in fact an exception.


Thank you! Yes, that is an exception that I should add!

Yes, the final /k/ is practically always pronounced (in e.g. "dis donc!" it is optional, though in practice most speakers pronounce it).


[Edited at 2013-01-14 23:59 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
p in trop Jan 16, 2013

Normally I do not pronounce the p in trop before vowels. A former student of mine has recently remarked on this and says that he hears it pronounced all the time in movies and on TV, and I have had to admit that there it is frequently heard even in casual conversation.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Liaison with /p/ Jan 16, 2013

Michele Fauble wrote:
Normally I do not pronounce the p in trop before vowels. A former student of mine has recently remarked on this and says that he hears it pronounced all the time in movies and on TV, and I have had to admit that there it is frequently heard even in casual conversation.


Obviously, the realisation of liaison consonants does depend on a number of factors (formality, whether you are reading from a script...).

One problem with studying liaison with /p/ is that there are relatively few potential sites for liaison-- in reality, you're talking about "trop" or "beaucoup" before an adjective beginning with a vowel in the majority of cases.

However, to give you an idea of some concrete statistics, Mallet (2009) in a corpus study of liaison finds the following rates of realisation for /p/:

trop + V : 8 / 52 times (15%)
beaucoup + V : 3 / 46 times (6%)

Obviously, an issue is that it is quite typical in a small corpus not to find any potential sites for liaison with /p/ at all, or to find so few that you can't actually draw any statistics.

A couple of other general problems with liaison are:

- to arrive at a rate of realisation, you have to come up with a list of "potential" places where liaison could theoretically have taken place, and this can be an arbitrary decision in some cases;
- there is a lot of mythology about liaison, particularly in what seeps down into the textbooks. For example, Abry & Veldeman-Abry (2007), "La Phonétique" consider liaison to be "obligatoire" after "trop" and "moins" (among other short adverbs)-- and indeed, you'll find a similar statement in various other textbooks-- yet as we've just seen, one study actually finds it used in only 15% of cases after "trop", and e.g. de Mareüil et al (2003) find it used in 40% of cases after "moins"...!
- it's common to find studies of one particular speech register erroneously applied to other registers-- indeed, some of the mythology results from such a practice (e.g. assuming that statistics from Encrevé's study of the speech of politicians will apply to the whole population and to all speech contexts generally).

Needless to say, it's a very complex area of study, and in my article I do a fair amount of "trying to see the wood for the trees".

[Edited at 2013-01-16 03:55 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

cecilea7
United States
Local time: 02:03
Member (2010)
Portuguese to French
+ ...
I didn't talk about errors per say on your side ... Jan 17, 2013

I just find the approach very exhaustive to have to remember all these tiny details and exceptions. There are grammatical reasons that are taught in the French primary school system that make more sense and help avoid mistakes in using masc. vs. feminin forms and present plural endings and present participles, so on and so forth, but that would be the subject of a class all together which I don't have time to go over here.

[Edited at 2013-01-17 19:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-01-17 19:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-01-17 19:41 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-01-17 19:42 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
More on p liaison in trop Jan 17, 2013

Neil Coffey wrote:

Obviously, the realisation of liaison consonants does depend on a number of factors (formality, whether you are reading from a script...).


Since my former student has brought up the issue of liaison with 'trop', I've been paying attention to when it is used. Last night on TV I noticed 'trop' without liaison before 'attention' followed by 'trop' with liaison before 'aimable' in the very next sentence spoken by the same person.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@cecilea7 Jan 18, 2013

cecilea7 wrote:
I just find the approach very exhaustive to have to remember all these tiny details and exceptions. There are grammatical reasons that are taught in the French primary school system that make more sense and help avoid mistakes in using masc. vs. feminin forms and present plural endings and present participles, so on and so forth, but that would be the subject of a class all together which I don't have time to go over here.


I wonder if the rules as taught in French schools for French natives aren't essentially trying to achieve a different objective, though. To a native French speaker learning the writing system, the issues are a little different to those of a non-native speaker coming at things from the point of view of the writing system.

It may seem a bit exhausting to have to remember all of the "tiny details" that I've mentioned, but in reality they're really the broad brush strokes. That said, I wouldn't necessarily advocate trying to memorise everything all in one go: for that reason, I present a general rule of thumb, followed by a list of more detailed rules (though as I say, by no means all the details that one could go into) for learners to gradually get used to.

P.S. I'll just take advantage to mention the next article in the series which has just been published today: http://ezinearticles.com/?Getting-to-Grips-With-French-Nasal-Vowels&id=7468426


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
French nasal vowels Jan 19, 2013

See http://venus.unive.it/canipa/pdf/Voyelles_nasales_franc111.pdf for a description of how the modern pronunciation of French nasal vowels differs from the traditional pronunciation.


[Edited at 2013-01-19 22:20 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, the traditional "dictionary" transcriptions are no longer adequate Jan 20, 2013

Michele Fauble wrote:
See http://venus.unive.it/canipa/pdf/Voyelles_nasales_franc111.pdf for a description of how the modern pronunciation of French nasal vowels differs from the traditional pronunciation.


Yes, as I mentioned briefly in my article, there are indeed differences between the traditional description of French nasalised vowels and the situation nowadays. The situation I describe-- although I avoid using phonetic transcription in the article for the sake of making it more accessible to the lay reader-- is essentially as mentioned in your link:

- the nasalised "o" vowel is now very close to a nasalised *close* 'o' rather than an open one; in the Utter French! app, I actually transcribe it as [o~]. That's why I say, for example, that "seau" can be changed into "son" essentially by rounding the vowel.
- the vowels in "brun" and "brin" are now identical-- there's no seprate "un" vowel for the majority of speakers
- the vowel in "brun"/"brin" is closer to a nasalised 'a' than 'E'-- in the literature, it's common to transcribe this as [ae~] (and again, that's the transcription I adopt in the app).

Where I would maybe not agree-- or at least need some more data to be convinced-- is the author's choice of transcribing the vowel in "en", "vent", "gant" using the symbol for the rounded cardinal vowel. I'm not sure that this vowel is 'canonically rounded' enough, especially compared to the [o~] vowel, to warrant using the rounded symbol. Of course, there is some arbitrariness in how you apply the API-- in general, for example, the convention is to use the base symbol for the cardinal vowel closest to the vowel you are describing, but there's no really objective measure when it comes to applying this to an unrounded vs rounded symbol in the case of a partially rounded vowel.

P.S. I mean there's no *standard* objective measure-- I think you could invent such a measure in principle.

[Edited at 2013-01-20 02:33 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Article on pronunciation of final consonants in French

Advanced search






Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search