Optional Liaisons

Liaisons facultatives

French optional liaisons
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Some French liaisons in front of a vowel or h muet are optional, so it’s up to you to decide whether to pronounce them. However, that decision matters: more liaisons means more formal speech, so fewer liaisons obviously means more informal, possibly even familiar speech.

Here are types of liaisons from most common to least common: even teenagers will usually pronounce the first type of liaison, but very few people will pronounce the last type. The ones in the middle are where it starts getting tricky. ūüėČ

Each sound file includes the phrase pronounced with the liaison and then without.

1. After plural nouns

des livres utiles [day leev reu zu teel] [day lee vru teel]*
les hommes arrivent [lay zuhm zah reev] [lay zuh mah reev]*

2. Between two-part verbal structures**

ils ont eu [eel zo(n) tu] [eel zo(n) u]
je suis allé [zheu swee zah lay] [zheu swee ah lay]
tu vas aller [tu vah zah lay] [tu vah ah lay]

3. Present tense of être + adjectiveadverb, or noun

il est heureux [ee lay teu reu] [ee lay eu reu]
il est ici [ee lay tee see] [ee lay ee see]
il est idiot [ee lay tee dyoh] [ee lay i dyoh]

4. After multi-syllable adverbs and prepositions

après être venu [ah preh zehtr] [ah preh ehtr]
assez utile [ah say zu teel] [ah say u teel]
depuis un an [deu pwee zu(n)] [de pwee u(n)]
tellement avare [tehl ma(n) tah var] [tehl ma(n) ah var]

5. After some conjunctions***

mais enfin [meh za(n) feh(n)] [meh a(n) feh(n)]
puis on est arrivé [pwee zo(n)] [pwee o(n)]

6. Verb + article, noun, or preposition

This liaison is found only in very formal French.

Elle prend un livre [pra(n) tu(n)] [pra(n) u(n)]
Ils arriveront à midi [ah ree vro(n) tah] [ah ree vro(n) ah]


* If you don’t make a liaison with the normally silent s at the end of livres and hommes, the always pronounced vr and m still require encha√ģnement.

** Two-part verb structures:

*** Also see required liaisons and forbidden liaisons

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French liaisons

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