I

French vowel

The letter I has two different pronunciations in French. The explanation and equivalents provided here are based on the closest sounds that exist in American English, which are sometimes not very close at all. Phonetic symbols are provided in [brackets].

1. [i] is the normal pronunciation. It’s kind of like American English’s long e sound, as in "he," but without the diphthong to a "y" sound at the end. When I has an accent, it’s always pronounced this way.

Par exemple…
i sound
six six
ici here
inouï unheard of
un gîte tourist cottage

2. [j] – the letter I is pronounced like an English y whenever it’s followed by e or o and often when it’s followed by l (learn more). This sound is called a semi-vowel.

Par exemple…
bien well
une déception disappointment
un accueil welcome
une fille girl

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French pronunciation

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