Languages › French French Consonants - Consonnes françaises Detailed information on the pronunciation of each French consonant Share Flipboard Email Print Cultura RM Exclusive/Philipp Nemenz/Getty Images French Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Grammar Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Team Updated February 21, 2020 There are a few things to keep in mind when pronouncing French consonants. All but the French R are further forward in the mouth than their equivalents in English. The tongue must remain tensed. There is no initial aspiration when pronouncing French consonants (see specific letters for more information) There is, however, a slight aspiration after pronouncing French consonants. In English, someone might say soup without opening his mouth at the end of the word, thus "swallowing" the last sound. In French, you must open your mouth to complete the word. French consonants can be classified in three ways: 1. Voicing | Sonorité Unvoiced | Sourde The vocal cords do not vibrate (CH, F, K, P, S, T) Voiced | Sonore Vocal cords vibrate (all the rest)Note that many consonants have voiced/unvoiced equivalents (B/P, F/V, etc.) 2. Manner of articulation | Manière d'articulation Plosive | Occlusive Passage of air is blocked to produce the sound (B, D, G, K, P, T) Constrictive | Fricative Passage of air is partially blocked (CH, F, J, R, S, V, Z) Liquid | Liquide Easily join to other consonants to make new sounds (L, R) Nasal | Nasale Passage of air is through both the nose and the mouth (GN, M, N, NG) 3. Place of Articulation | Lieu d'articulation Bilabial | Bilabiale Lips touch to make sound (B, M, P) Labiodental | Labiodentale Top teeth touches lower lip to make sound (F, V) Dental | Dentale Tongue touches upper teeth to make sound (D, L, N, T)* Alveolar | Alvéolaire Tongue is near the front of the mouth (S, Z) Palatal The back of the tongue is near the palate (CH, GN, J) Velar | Vélaire The back of the tongue is against the back of the mouth/upper throat (G, K, NG, R)*The English equivalents of these consonants are alveolar. Summary: Classification of French Consonants v = voiced u = unvoiced Bilabial(v) Bilabial(u) Labiodental(v) Labiodental(u) Dental(v) Dental(u) Alveolar(v) Alveolar(u) Palatal(v) Patalal(u) Velar(v) Velar(u) Plosive B P D T G K Constrictive V F Z S J CH Liquid L R Nasal M N GN NG Featured Video Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Team, ThoughtCo. "French Consonants - Consonnes françaises." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-consonants-1369551. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, September 2). French Consonants - Consonnes françaises. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-consonants-1369551 Team, ThoughtCo. "French Consonants - Consonnes françaises." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-consonants-1369551 (accessed November 29, 2021). copy citation French Vowels (Voyelles Françaises) Through the Nose: French Nasal Vowels How to Pronounce More Than 2,500 Words in French Top French Pronunciation Mistakes and Difficulties French Silent Letters and Pronunciation Understanding the French Language and Using IPA Pronounce the French R Perfectly How to Fake a French Accent Using Enchainement in French Pronunciation How to Pronounce the Letter 'T' in French How Is the Letter 'A' Pronounced in French? Introduction to Pronouncing the French Alphabet Learn Proper French Pronunciation With Liaisons The French Pronunciation of E How Is 'C' Pronounced in French? How Is 'O' Pronounced in French?