Learn the right pronunciation of the French letters EU
A large number of words in French are made from combinations of letters such as the letters EU which is made from the combination of the letter E and the letter U. Learning how to pronounce the French letters EU and their different pronunciations can be tricky for many persons learning French.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- Two sounds for EU in French
- Pronunciation of EU as a closed vowel
- Pronunciation of EU as an open vowel
- A video to learn how to pronounce EU
Closed EU /ø/ vs. Opened EU /œ/
Many French words are written with EU which is the combination of the letter E and the letter U. However, the sound of this combination of letters isn’t always the same.
As many French words are written with OEU, EU, or OE, we will cover the pronunciation of these combinations of French letters. The goal is to learn to recognize the pronunciation of the combined letters EU in French at a glance.
Check the following words, how do you pronounce EU in French?
- heure: hour
- jeu: game
- feu: fire
- fleuve: river
What about the pronunciation of OEU and OE in French? Here is another set of French words that include the combinations OEU and OE:
- soeur: sister
- coeur: heart
- oeil: eye
Some French words can be difficult to pronounce, read this article to discover difficult words to pronounce in French.
As for the remaining part of this article, we’ll learn how to pronounce the two sounds that are proper to the French letters EU. In fact, EU can have 2 different pronunciations in French:
Pronunciation of the closed EU vowel
It generally occurs at the end of a word and is mostly written EU in that case. Let’s see some examples:
- peu: little
- ceux: those
- deux: two
- je veux: I want
- vieux: old
There are some exceptions where the closed EU is followed by a pronounced consonant. Check the following words:
Pronunciation of the Opened EU vowel
This open character of the vowel tends to occur in syllables that end in a consonant. The last consonant of the syllable is pronounced.
- neuf: nine
- seul: alone
- heure: butter
- ils peuvent: they can
- œuf: egg
- cœur: heart
- œuvre: work
- oeil: eyes
Pronunciation of EU in French (a video)
Watch the following video in which I explain the different pronunciations of the letters EU. Listen and learn the right pronunciation of many words that contain EU in French.
This video is part of the live French lessons that you can join on Master Your French on YouTube.
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