French Pronunciation: Stress

Stress in a syllable-timed language

This tutorial presents an overview of the rules of European/metropolitan French pronunciation, focusing on the vowels, consonants, stress, and intonation patterns that are different from American English. For more practice with comprehension and pronunciation, please check the listening and repetition exercises.

For more French learning through authentic videos, I recommend Yabla French and FluentU. For audiobooks and lessons of modern French, try French Today. I've recommended some French books at Amazon, and Interlinear books are great for learning French by reading literal translations in English. French Listening and Authentic French provide audio and video clips of real, spoken French in various accents with transcripts so you can listen and read along, plus some exercises to test your comprehension. Need even more French? Try the French courses at Udemy or consider purchasing French Language Tutorial as an e-book to support ielanguages.com.


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For more French learning through authentic videos, I recommend Yabla French and FluentU. For audiobooks and lessons of modern French, try French Today. I've recommended some French books at Amazon, and Interlinear books are great for learning French by reading literal translations in English. Need even more French? Try the French courses at Udemy

Stress in French

French is a syllable-timed language, so equal emphasis is given to each syllable. This is quite unlike English, which is a stress-timed language, and which gives emphasis to one syllable in each word - the stressed syllable - and reduces the vowels in the rest of the syllables (usually to [ə] or [ɪ].) All vowels in French must be pronounced fully, and each syllable must be pronounced with equal stress, though the final syllable of each word is generally considered the "stressed syllable."

Listen to these words in English and French and see if you can hear the difference in stress. Stressed syllables in English are marked in bold.

  • photography - photographie
  • authority - autorité
  • nationality - nationalité
  • passion - passion
  • education - éducation
  • regiment - régiment
  • monument - monument
  • melodramatic - mélodramatique

 

French Phonetics: Learn French Pronunciation



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