A

French pronunciationThe letter a has two different pronunciations in French, but one of them is disappearing.

Accents

French accentsWhile French has the same alphabet as English, some of the letters have little decorations that can make them look and sound very different. In French, accents are essential: they're there for a reason, so you must include them when writing.

   

Acute Accent: é

French accentIn French, E is the only letter that can be modified with l'accent aigu, the acute accent. With the accent, it may be called either e accent aigu or simply é, pronounced [e]. As indicated by the latter, the acute accent changes the vowel's pronunciation to [e].

   

Affective Accent

French affective accentIn English, you can emphasize an important word or syllable by pronouncing it more loudly, as in "It's magNIFicent!" That's not the case in French, which uses the affective accent instead.

   

   

Alphabet

French alphabetIf you want to read and write in French, one of the first things you should learn is the alphabet. Fortunately, French has the same 26 letters as English. Unfortunately, most of the names of letters are pronounced differently, as are many of the sounds.

   

   

B

French pronunciationThe letter B is pronounced similarly in French and English, except that it's not aspirated in French.

Cedilla: ç

French accentThe little hook added under the letter c in French is a diacritical mark known as a cedilla, une cédille: ç. The letter c with the hook is called c cédille.

   

Circumflex: â, ê, î, ô, û

French circumflexThe circumflex, aka "little hat," is the only French accent that may be found on each of the five vowels. In any given word, the circumflex may serve one or more purposes.