How have the previous lessons been for you? Remember you can always reach out to me if you have any questions, I'm here to help.
We'll be moving on to French Liaison. We will learn what the French liaison is and the types of liaison we have.
Read careful and take note where necessary.
Liaison is one of the reasons why a lot of people think French pronunciation is hard. Many French words end in consonants that are normally silent, unless in a sentence or phrase where the next word begins with a vowel sound or a mute "h"- then that consonant sound is pronounced at the beginning of the next word as in; petit ami - peti-tami.
What is liaison?
Liaison is the pronunciation of a latent word-final consonant immediately before a following vowel sound. Liaison can also mean a person who acts as a link to assist communication or cooperation between two people.
It links two words and makes them sound as though they are one as in "Mon ami" (my friend) pronounced as "monami".
In French, liaison is the sounding of a consonant that is naturally silent at the end of a word because the next word begins with a vowel or a mute “h”.
Aside all the facts that have been stated, permit me to quickly add that liaison makes the articulation of words flow better in communication. Not clear yet? Ok let's try these similar examples in English language:
>> A full house.
>> An empty house.
Have you ever thought why we don't say “an full house” and “a empty house”? Awkward, isn't it?
It just doesn't flow. We can't say “a orange” neither can we say “a apple” nor “an pawpaw” because it sounds very awkward. Liaisons makes your oral French sound better and make more sense (provided you know when you should and should not use it).
In French, most written word-final consonants are not pronounced and are known as latent or mute.
For example, the letter “s” in the word "mes (my)" is naturally silent i.e dead and phonologically null but it is pronounced /z/ in the combination of "mes amis (my friends)" -that sounds "mezami".
In certain syntactic environments, liaison is impossible; in others it is obligatory; in others it is optional and its realization is subject to wide stylistic variation.
Thus we have three types of liaison: la Liaison Obligatoire (compulsory), la Liaison Interdite (forbidden) and la Liaison Facultatif (optional).
It has been said over and over again that most final consonants of French words are not pronounced. However, when C, R, F or L ends a word in French they are often pronounced. Examples of such words are: Avec (avek), cour (kooR), chef (Shef), calcul (kalkool). The words in bracket are just to guide us on how the given examples sound. The 4 letters given above are referred to as the CAREFUL letters. So, be CAREFUL enough to produce their sound when you see them at the end of a word.
That’s it for this lecture on liaison in French, our next lesson will focus on the types of Liaison and their uses.
A la prochaine mes amies !