How to pronounce Jeune vs. Jaune in French

Updated: March 25, 2023 by Mylene in How to Pronounce  ▪  

Learn French Pronunciation

This post compares the two words Jeune and Jaune in French in terms of their pronunciation.  You’ll find the detailed pronunciation tips as well as a video in which I teach you the right pronunciation. The last part of this blog includes many sentences and examples in which these two French words are used.

Before we begin, here is a quick description of these two French words:

  • Jeune: It is an adjective in French that means young in English. Young is being in the first or an early stage of life or development.
  • Jaune: It is an adjective in French that means yellow in English. Yellow is the color of the sun.

A few examples with the words Jaune and Jeune:

  • Les bananes sont jaunes: Bananas are yellow.
  • Est-ce que tu aimes mon nouveau t-shirt jaune?: Do you like my new yellow shirt?
  • La couleur jaune ne te va pas du tout: Yellow doesn’t suit you at all.
  • Je suis trop jeune pour passer cet examen: I’m too young to pass this exam.
  • Les jeunes mariés sont en voyage de noces: The newly-weds are away on their honeymoons.

How To pronounce “jeune” and “jaune”?

In French, jeune is pronounced /ʒœn/ and jaune is pronounced /ʒon/. The pronunciation details are as follows:

  • /ʒ/ sound: To make /ʒ/, place the tip of your tongue at the front of the top of your mouth. Vibrate your vocal cords as you push air between the top of your mouth and the tip of your tongue.
  • /œ/ sound: The mouth is open, the lips are rounded and the tongue touches the front lower teeth. This sound is needed for the pronunciation of jeune.
  • /n/ sound: Place the front of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, behind your teeth. The tip of your tongue should touch the roof of your mouth. Now, vibrate your vocal cords.
  • The last letter e is not pronounced.
  • /o/ sound: The mouth is slightly open, the lips are rounded and your tongue is back. This sound is needed for the pronunciation of jaune.

The main difference between the words jeune and jaune is the pronunciation of the sounds /œ/ and /o/. Indeed you need to be aware of these three main differences:

  • the position of the tongue
  • the openness of the mouth
  • the tension

Your tongue touches the front lower teeth to pronounce the sound /œ/ whereas your tongue is back to pronounce the sound /o/.

Your mouth should be more open to pronounce the sound /œ/ and your mouth should be much more relaxed to pronounce this sound.

My advice is to try to pronounce these two sounds in front of a mirror. You’ll be able to see the difference.

This Instagram video will show you how to pronounce Jeune and Jaune in French. Click the link to listen to this video or directly play the video shown below. 

This post is part of the Effortless French Words Pronunciation series that explains the right pronunciation of many French words. Similar to Jeune and Jaune, you can learn about the pronunciation difference between de and deux

Words and expressions related to Jeune

Let’s learn some words and expressions with the word Jeune.

An expression that you can use is “un coup de jeune” which translates to rejuvenation in English. For example: j’ai pris un coup de jeune en retournant à l’école: I feel younger since I went back to school.

Do you want to talk about the youngness of someone? You can use one of the following sentences:

  • Il est jeune pour son âge: He’s young for his age.
  • Tu me fais penser à ta soeur en plus jeune: You remind me of your sister when she was younger.
  • Il fait jeune pour 55 ans: He is young for 55.

You might want to say the opposite with “plus tout jeune”:

  •  Mon grand-père n’est plus tout jeune: My grandfather is now a little young on the tooth.

Words And Expressions Related To Jaune

Let’s learn some expressions with the word jaune.

  • Alerte jaune: yellow alert
    Demain il va beaucoup pleuvoir, la pluie sera forte. Il y a une alerte jaune pour inondation: Tomorrow it’ll rain a lot, there is a yellow flood warning.
  • Gilet jaune: yellow safety vest
    Mon pneu a éclaté en roulant sur un nid de poule, j’ai mis mon gilet jaune et j’ai attendu de l’aide. My tire burst going over a pothole, I put on my yellow vest and I waited for help.
  • Jaune d’oeuf: egg yolk
    J’ai besoin de cinq jaunes d’oeuf pour faire ce gâteau: I need five eggs yolk to do this cake.
  • Rire jaune means to laugh on the other side of one’s face
    Jean n’a pas aimé cette blague, il rit jaune: Jean didn’t like this joke, he gave a sour laugh.

The yellow color can be used in the sport area:

  • Carton jaune: yellow card
    L’arbitre a donné un carton jaune au footballer: The referee gave the footballer a yellow card.
  • Maillot jaune: yellow jersey
    Je ne sais pas qui sera le maillot jaune cette année: I don’t know who will be the yellow jersey this year.

There are different kinds of yellow colors:

  • Jaunecanari is a bright yellow color resembling the plumage of a canary.
    • Ma robe est jaune canari: My dress is yellow canary.
  • Jaune d’or is a variable color averaging a vivid yellow that is redder and duller than average buttercup or goldenrod.
    • J’adore la couleur jaune d’or de ces fleurs: I love the golden yellow of theses flowers.
  • Jaune citron is a dark lemon color similar to the color of the fruit citron.

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