Forbidden Liaisons

Liaisons interdites

French forbidden liaisons
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Some French liaisons are forbidden: they aren’t—can’t be—pronounced even in the most formal French. Sometimes this is to avoid confusion with similar expressions, sometimes it has to do with a sort of respect for names and foreign words, and other times there’s no apparent logic to it.

1. Before h aspiré

en haut[ã o][a(n) oh]
les héros[le e ʁo][lay ay roh]
deux homards[dø o maʁ][deu oh mahr]

2. Before onze and oui

les onze enfants[le ɔ̃ zã fã][lay o(n) za(n) fa(n)]*
deux oui et un non[dø wi e œ̃ nɔ̃][deu wee ay u(n) no(n)]

3. After names

Robert a 15 ans.[ʁo bɛ ʁa kɛ̃ zã][ro beh ra keh(n) za(n)]
Nicolas est prêt.[ni ko la ɛ pʁɛ][nee ko la ay preh]

4. After singular nouns

mon chat aime jouer[mɔ̃ ʃa ɛm ʒwe][mo(n) shah ehm zhoo ay]
un garçon intelligent[œ̃ gaʁ sɔ̃ ɛ̃ tɛ li ʒã][gar so(n) eh(n) teh lee zha(n)]

5. After et

avant et après[a vã e a pʁɛ][ah va(n) ay ah preh]
un homme et une femme[œ̃ nɔ me yn fam][u(n) nuh may un fahm]

6. After interrogative adverbs** and toujours

Comment est-elle ?[kɔ mã e tɛl][ko(n) ma(n) eh tehl]
Combien en vois-tu ?[kɔ̃ bjɛ̃ ã vwa ty][ko(n) byeh(n) a(n) vwah too]
Quand aimes-tu étudier ?[kã ɛm ty e ty dje][ka(n) ehm too ay too dyay]
toujours aimable[tu ʒu ʁɛ mabl][too zhu reh mahbl(eu)]

7. After inversion

A-t-on osé ?[a tɔ̃ o ze][ah to(n) oh zay]
Parlez-vous espagnol ?[paʁ le vu ɛ spa ɲɔl][par lay voo eh spah nyuhl]
Ont-elles étudié ?[ɔ̃ tɛ le ty dje][o(n) teh lay too dyay]
Vont-ils habiter bien ?[vɔ̃ ti la bi te bjɛ̃][vo(n) tee lah bee tay byeh(n)]


* The pronunciation of the z in onze at the beginning of enfants is enchaînement, not a liaison.

** Also see required liaisons and optional liaisons

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French liaisons

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2 Responses

  1. g 11 September 2018 / 2:08

    if there’s no liaison after toujours, why is it pronounced tou-jou-REH-mabl?

    • lkl 11 September 2018 / 11:38

      Liaison is only with normally silent letters, like the “s” at the end of toujours. The “r” in toujours is always pronounced. When that happens – when a sound that is always pronounced is attached to the next word – that is called enchaînement.