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Leçon 2

Lesson 2

Sound [ɛ]

French sound Similar English sound French letters and letter combinations Notes

vowel [ɛ]

[e] as in the word let

È, è

The sign ` (e accent grave) above the letter e indicates that it is pronounced as [ɛ].
The capital letter È is more often denoted as E.

    Ê, ê The sign ˆ (e accent circonflexe) above the letter e indicates that it is pronounced as [ɛ] (before a consonant — as [ɛ:]).
The capital letter Ê is more often denoted as E.
    Ai, ai
Ei, ei
The letter combinations ai, ei are pronounced as one sound [ɛ].
    E, e The letter e is pronounced as [ɛ] in a syllable that ends in a consonant sound, and also in the letter combination et at the end of words.
The verb est (is) is pronounced as [ɛ].

Exercise 1. Read aloud the words below and write their transcription. Check yourself using the key below (hover over it on PC or press it on a mobile device) and correct your mistakes in pronunciation. Try to memorize these words:

1. est [] — is 11. prête [] — ready
(feminine form)
2. fer [] — iron 12. bête [] — animal
3. mer [] — sea 13. rêve [] — dream
4. terre [] — earth 14. être [] — to be
5. verre [] — glass 15. ma [] — my (feminine form)
6. mère [] — mother 16. mai [] — May
7. père [] — father 17. air [] — air
8. frère [] — brother 18. faire [] — make, do
9. tête [] — head 19. affaire [] — matter, case, deal
10. fête [] — festival 20. ta [] — your (feminine form, singular)

Feminine form means that a word in this form goes only before feminine words. The gender of a word is given in dictionaries, and it will also be given here further in the lessons.

Sound [l]

French sound Similar English sound French letters
consonant [l] [l] L, l

Similar to English [l] in the word “lazy”, except that its place of articulation is dental rather than alveolar, which means that when speaking French you mustn’t let your tongue touch your upper teeth as much as you do when speaking English.

Exercise 2. Read aloud, making sure you pronounce the sound [l] correctly:

[la]— there
elle [ɛl] — she; it (feminine form)
belle [bɛl] — beautiful (feminine form)
bal [bal] — ball, dance
balle [bal] — bullet
table [tabl] — table
tel [tɛl] — such (masculine form)
pêle-mêle [pɛ:lmɛ:l] — higgledy-piggledy
la [la] — definite article, feminine form, singular
laine [lɛn] — wool
mal [mal] — ache; badly
malle [mal] — trunk
malade [malad] — sick, ill
lettre [lɛtr] — letter
lèvre [lɛ:vr] — lip
natal [natal] — native (masculine form)
naval [naval] — naval (masculine form)

Exercise 3. Write the following words down, then read them aloud and try to remember what they mean. Write the translations down too and check yourself using a French English Dictionary (for example, this one Collins French Dictionary).

est   être
belle   mai
tête   elle
table   malade
prête   Key Key

Exercise 4. Translate from English into French:









to be