The plosives are
p b t d k g:
Symbol Word Transcription p pont po~ b bon bo~ t temps ta~ d dans da~ k quand ka~ g gant ga~The voiceless plosives (/p t k/) are unaspirated except in stressed syllables preceding close vowels, where the extreme position of the tongue delays voice onset and produces turbulence.
f v s z S Z; there is also
j, which may be considered a fricative or a glide:
f femme fam v vent va~ s sans sa~ z zone zon S champ Sa~ Z gens Za~ j ion jo~There are three nasals,
m n J, found in words considered to be genuinely French. A fourth nasal,
N, is only found in loanwords, except in Southern French dialects, where it ocurs in some contexts after nasal vowels:
m mont mo~ n nom no~ J oignon oJo~ N camping ka~piNThere are two liquids,
l R, and three vowel glides,
j. The vowel glides may be realised as fricative following voiceless obstruents.
l long lo~ R rond Ro~ w coin kwe~ H juin ZHe~ j pierre pjERVowels
i e E a A O o u y 2 9 @, and 4 nasal vowels,
e~ a~ o~ 9~, exemplified as follows:
i si si e ses se E seize sEz a patte pat A pâte pAt O comme kOm o gros gRo u doux du y du dy 2 deux d2 9 neuf n9f @ justement Zyst@ma~ e~ vin ve~ a~ vent va~ o~ bon bo~ 9~ brun bR9~When they are functional, the load of the oppositions
a-A, e~-9~, e-E, o-O, 2-9may be very low for certain speakers, and there is a tendency towards neutralisation. When they are not functional there is a strong tendency in unstressed syllables towards indetermination. "Indeterminacy" symbols have been agreed to cover occurrences of these phonemes or sounds:
E/ = e or E A/ = a or A &/ = 2 or 9 O/ = o or O U~/ = e~ or 9~There are contextually determined vowel length differences, nasal vowels being long before following consonants, and all vowels being long before R and voiced fricatives.
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Maintained by J.C. Wells. Created 1995 09 19. Corrected 1996 03 18