The letter O 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. [o] is called the closed o sound.* Phonetic symbol: [o]. It’s similar to English’s long o sound as in "go," but without the diphthong to a "w" sound at the end. O is always pronounced this way when it
- is the final sound in a word
- is followed by a z sound
- has a circumflex
The letter combinations AU
are also pronounced like a closed o.
2. [ɔ] is called the open o sound.* Phonetic symbol: [ɔ]. It’s similar to the short u sound as in the English word "son." When O is followed by any consonant sound other than [z], it’s an open o sound.
*Lesson: Open / closed vowels and open / closed syllables
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