The French Language Distinction

The French Language Distinction

The French language is a member of the romance language and is widely spoken by 70 million people worldwide as the first language but mainly in France. The French language is currently the first language in other countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and some French and Belgian colonies in parts of Africa.

For French language learners, there are noticeable distinctive features that this language possesses. There is the distinct sound of the letter r and the nasal vowels. There are three accents present on the French vowels. First is the acute (´) which is found above the letter e, followed by the grave (ˋ) over the letters a and e, and lastly, the circumflex (ˆ) over the entire set of vowels (a,e,i,o,u). These accents over the vowels allow the reader or the speaker to give emphasis to a word and the idea how it is pronounced correctly. It also serves the purpose in distinguishing the homonyms and even the indication when a letter should be discarded from a word.

Another distinct French signal is when the letter ‘c’ has a cedilla underneath it. When this is the case, the letter ‘c’ (ç) is pronounced with the ‘s’ sound. On other occasions, when the letter ‘c’ appears as it is in a French sentence, it is pronounced as ‘k’ followed by vowels a, o, u or another consonant, but this rule changes to letter ‘s’ again when followed by vowels ‘e’ and ‘i’.

Don’t be fooled by how a French word is spelled using Romance letters since it isn’t a reliable source in attempt to pronounce a French word. The French language has many silent letters which includes the final consonants s and x. But the good thing about the French spelling is that it can be easily identified how it is pronounce because of the accents on the letters. The French spelling is even closer to how it is pronounced than the English.

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