French Phonetic Transcription Translator and Pronunciation Dictionary
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Phonetic transcription can help you improve your French pronunciation
French pronunciation can be confusing for people who are just starting to learn French. Think about it – one French letter can be pronounced in two or three different ways, and three to four letters can be pronounced as one sound! The pronunciation rules in the French language are extremely complex and contain many exceptions.
This online translator allows you to convert French text to phonetic transcription using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols. This tool will serve as a French pronunciation guide. If you use the phonetic transcription regularly in combination with French audio and video recordings, your pronunciation and listening skills in the French language will improve.
In order to help you we created French pronunciation video trainer. It allows you to practice the pronunciation of the most frequent French words, set the playback speed and the number of times each word will be repeated.
Another great way to improve your French pronunciation is to use our French video vocabulary builder. It is designed for beginners and has French subtitles for all lessons, including phonetic transcription.
Some French words are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings. They are called homographs. Compare:
Il est là [il ɛ la] ↔ à l'est [a lɛst]
The translator will try to figure out the correct pronunciation for such words depending on the context. If it's not possible, the translator will highlight them in green. If you hover your cursor over these words or tap them on your mobile device, you will see all the possible pronunciations.
Pronunciation variants (when native speakers from different regions pronounce a word differently, or when the pronunciation changes during rapid speech) are highlighted in blue. You can also hover your cursor to see all possible variants.
To develop this translator, we used information from the online resources listed below and other sources.
Liaison in French
In French most final consonants are not pronounced. For example:
- les livres /le livʁ/
However, in some cases they may or should be pronounced. For example:
- les amis /lez‿ami/
This is called liaison. There are two types of liaison in French - mandatory and optional.
In this type of liaison final consonants should be pronounced. The translator handles such cases pretty well:
- nous avons /nuz‿avɔ̃/
- elles en achètent /ɛlz‿ɑ̃n‿aʃɛt/
- prenez-en /pʁənezɑ̃/
You can choose how the final consonants will be displayed:
- les amis /lez‿ ami/
- les amis /le‿ zami/
Note that the translator will show links to audio recordings based on the word's transcription, not on its spelling. In the example above if you choose the first option, you will see a link to the audio recording for "ami". However if you choose the second option, you will not see any links, since there are no words in French with transcription /zami/.
In this type of liaison final consonants may or may not be pronounced. It depends on the speech style (formal or informal), level of education and other factors. For example:
- j'avais été
/ʒavɛ ete/ or /ʒavɛ‿ zete/
- des amis agréables
/de‿ zami aɡʁeabl/ or /de‿ zami‿ zaɡʁeabl/
- nous attendons encore
/nu‿ zatɑ̃dɔ̃ ɑ̃kɔʁ/ or /nu‿ zatɑ̃dɔ̃‿ zɑ̃kɔʁ/
The phonetic translator almost never shows optional liaison.
Vowel lengthening at the end of words
The phonetic translator can add an elongation symbol [ː] after long vowels at the end of a rhythmic group. The rules for vowel lengthening are the following:
- All vowels (oral and nasal) become long if followed by the final consonant cluster /vʁ/ or the final single consonant /ʁ/, /z/, /v/, /ʒ/:
/vʁ/ ➔ livre [liːvʁ], chanvre [ʃɑ̃ːvʁ]
/ʁ/ ➔ faire [fɛːʁ], vinrent [vɛ̃ːʁ]
/z/ ➔ française [fʁɑ̃sɛːz], onze [ɔ̃ːz]
/v/ ➔ peuvent [pœːv]
/ʒ/ ➔ usage [yzaːʒ], ange [ɑ̃ːʒ]
- The oral vowels /ø/, /o/, /ɑ/ and all nasal vowels become long when followed by any single consonant or a consonant cluster:
/ø/ ➔ émeute [emøːt], neutre [nøːtʁ]
/o/ ➔ chaude [ʃoːd], autre [oːtʁ]
/ɑ/ ➔ basse [bɑːs], plâtre [plɑːtʁ]
/ɑ̃/ ➔ France [fʁɑ̃ːs], attendre [atɑ̃ːdʁ]
/ɔ̃/ ➔ monde [mɔ̃ːd], rompre [ʁɔ̃ːpʁ]
/ɛ̃/ ➔ mince [mɛ̃ːs], peintre [pɛ̃ːtʁ]
Highlighting of high-frequency French words
If you click Advanced options, you will see a special option that allows you to highlight high-frequency French words. The words from different frequency intervals will be highlighted in the following colors:
If you want to make the frequency analysis of your text and obtain the detailed statistics, please use French word frequency counter.
Check our French phonetic subtitle converter and obtain something like this: