EIL and EILL

French pronunciation

The letter combinations eil (at the end of a word) and eill (almost anywhere*) have no English equivalent: they are pronounced like the short e in "let" plus a "y" sound. The IPA spelling is [ɛj], and the Lawless phonetic spelling is [ehy].

  * eill followed by é (as in the past participle veillé) or by er (in the infinitive veiller) is pronounced [ej] but the y sound is transferred to the next syllable: [e je]. See lesson on e to learn the difference between [ɛ] and [e].

French sound files For example…
un orteil toe
le soleil sun
un appareil device
une oreille ear
la veille eve, the night before
une merveille marvel
surveillé watched, surveyed
conseiller to advise

 Related lessons

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French pronunciation
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