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

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French pronunciation

Stay up to date with Lawless French

Questions about French?

 Visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.

Leave a Reply