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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