French Podcast Transcripts

Impress the French – Hard French common words to read #1

Impress the French – Hard French words to read! Today, you will learn how to say and read TEN common French words that look impossible to say when you read them!

  1. Let’s start with a four letter word, very common, Hier ! HIER, …. Yesterday, Don’t pronounce the H, H are silent in French. Then YUH same as You or Yes, and then -ER in French ER makes the same sound as AIR, hier, yesterday ….repeat after me…
  2. Escargot … Escargot…. Snails…. I know you like this noun! ES KAR GUH, you don’t pronounce the T at the end escargot, un escargot or l’escargot ….say again — escargot, this is masculine.

3. Baignoire… Baignoire… Bathtub! Remember ‘-AI’ makes the sound E (same in the word PET) and the cluster GN makes the same sound as in onion, and the cluster -OI makes the sound WUH same as ‘what’ and you barely voice the E at the end, so let’s try Baignoire…

4. Agneau – Lamb – AGNEAU – Remember that in French all sounds are short even if you see two or three vowels together. When you have a vowel cluster with ‘-AU’ or ‘-EAU’, you simply say O. The cluster -GN makes the sound ‘NI’ as in ‘onion’. Repeat after me AGNEAU. AGNEAU, this is masculine, un agneau ou l’agneau.

5. Accueil – Accueil is the welcome desk or lobby desk in a hotel, an administration, a station… The double c makes the sound KUH and then the cluster ‘-UEIL’ will sound close to the U sound in ‘Butter’ followed by a YUH sound. Let’s try Accueil — Accueil….. Accueil is masculine, un accueil, l’accueil…

6. Pétillant – PETILLANT – Sparkling! Remember that the double L makes the sound YUH as is ‘yes’ or ‘you’. For the spelling -ANT, don’t pronounce the T, just the semivowel ‘ -AN ‘ [ɑ̃]. Let’s practice together pétillant, pétillant….

7. Volaille means poultry. VOLAILLE. Here you have a diphtongue, meaning two vowel sounds within the same syllable A – YUH – Start with VO with a low-pitch O, then L, the A YUH . Volaille …. Volaille… repeat after me…Volaille is féminine, la volaille, une volaille

8. Pâtisserie …. Pâtisserie … Pastries… In French, double ss makes the sound ‘s‘ like in snake, pâtisserie… In French when E is after two same consonants and followed by a consonant, you don’t pronounce it! Please note that rule somewhere if possible! As for the funny ‘hat’ accent, this is called Accent circonflexe, and does not change the pronunciation of A, but you might want to keep it low-pitch. Let’s practice pâtisserie….La pâtisserie is feminine.


9. Printemps ! Spring ! Printemps is also the name of a Parisian department Store. You don’t pronounce the consonants at the end (drop the -ps) and use the two semivowels -IN et -EN, your mouth is half opened, lips are stretched. For EN, your mouth is open, with the tongue all the way is the back. PR, PR, Printemps… repeat after me… Printemps… this is a masculine noun. Le printemps et au printemps.

10. And let’s finish also with a four letter word, RIEN, RIEN, meaning Nothing, Start with the R sound then combine YUH and the semivowel sound ‘-in’ together, IEN, IEN, lips are stretched, let’s put it together, rien, rien, repeat after me…. Rien….

Voilà c’est la fin du challenge ! Here you go, you completed this challenge! Thank you again for listening and subscribing to my podcast, feel free to leave your rating and comments. I hope you enjoyed new French words!

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