French pronunciation

The letter combination oe may be pronounced as a single sound (in which case the two vowels merge into the œ ligature) or as two separate sounds, explained here.

When o and e are pronounced separately, there’s often some kind of accent on the e.

Par exemple…
le canoë   canoe
noël   Christmas
Noémi   (girl’s name)
la poêle   frying pan

  Note that in poêle, as well as boette and moelleux, below, the o is pronounced as a semi-vowel [w].

In many words, it’s easy to tell that the vowels are pronounced separately because o is at the end of a prefix.

Par exemple…
une autoentreprise   sole proprietorship
coexister   to coexist
un/e gastroentérologue   gastroenterologist

But there are a few words without any visual clue for the separate pronunciation:

Par exemple…
aloe vera  (also aloé véra)   aloe vera
la boette   bait
moelleux   mellow, sweet

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French pronunciation

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