French Nasal Vowels - Voyelles nasales françaises

Detailed information on the pronunciation of each French nasal vowel

A nasal vowel is a sound made by expelling air through the mouth and nose without obstruction of the lips, tongue, or throat. Nasal pronunciation can be very different from the normal pronunciation of the same vowels.

Vowels followed by M or N are usually nasal, except when the nasal consonant is followed by another vowel, in which case the vowel and consonant are both voiced. For example:

un   nasal
une   voiced

It may help you to know that there are nasal vowels in English, even though they are a bit different than French nasal vowels.

In English, the nasal consonant (M or N) is pronounced and thus nasalizes the vowel that precedes it, whereas in French the vowel is nasal and the consonant is not pronounced. Compare the following:

French  on  an
English  own  on

Click the links in the box to learn about individual nasal vowels and hear them pronounced.

Detailed lessons on French nasal vowels