Forbidden Liaisons

Liaisons interdites

Some 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 [a(n) oh]
les héros [lay ay roh]
  deux homards [deu oh mahr]
2. Before onze and oui
les onze enfants [lay o(n) za(n) fa(n)]*
deux oui et un non [deu wee ay u(n) no(n)]
3. After names
  Robert a 15 ans. [ro beh ra keh(n) za(n)]
  Nicolas est prêt. [nee ko la ay preh]
4. After singular nouns
mon chat aime jouer [mo(n) shah ehm zhoo ay]
un garçon intelligent [gar so(n) eh(n) teh lee zha(n)]
5. After et
avant et après [ah va(n) ay ah preh]
un homme et une femme [u(n) nuh may un fahm]
6. After interrogative adverbs** and toujours
Comment est-elle ? [ko(n) ma(n) eh tehl]
Combien en vois-tu ? [ko(n) byeh(n) a(n) vwah too]
Quand aimes-tu étudier ? [ka(n) ehm too ay too dyay]
toujours aimable [too zhu reh mahbl(eu)]
7. After inversion
A-t-on osé ? [ah to(n) oh zay]
  Parlez-vous espagnol ? [par lay voo eh spah nyuhl]
Ont-elles étudié ? [o(n) teh lay too dyay]
Vont-ils habiter bien ? [vo(n) tee lah bee tay byeh(n)]

* Note that 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 forbidden liaisons

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