How Is the Letter 'A' Pronounced in French?

A Beginner's French Lesson

The letter 'A' is as common in the French language as it is in English. You will often use this letter alone, or with an accent grave, or in a number of combinations alongside other letters. Each instance has a slightly different pronunciation and this French lesson will help you learn each.

How to Pronounce the French Letter 'A'

The pronunciation of the letter 'A' in French is fairly straightforward.

It is usually pronounced more or less like the 'A' in "father," but with the lips wider in French than in English: listen.

An 'A' with the accent grave à is pronounced the same way.

The 'A' is sometimes pronounced further back in the mouth and with the lips more rounded than for the 'A' sound described above: listen.

This sound is becoming obsolete, but technically should be pronounced when the letter 'A':

  • is followed by a 'Z' sound as in base and gaz
  • is followed by a silent 'S' as in bas and cas, with the exception of bras
  • includes the accent circonflexe - ˆ - as in pâtes and âne

French Words With 'A'

Now that you know how to pronounce the various A's in French, it's time to practice. Click on each of these words to hear the pronunciation and repeat it as often as you need to. Notice the difference between the sound when it's used in the various contexts we've discussed.

Letter Combinations With 'A'

The letter 'A' is also used in combination with other vowels and consonants to produce specific sounds in French. It's much like how the 'A' in apple is different than the 'A' in taught in English.

To continue your French pronunciation lessons, explore these 'A' combinations:

  • AI / AIS - Pronounced like the French 'È.'
  • AIL - Pronounced [ahy], similar to the English "eye."
  • AN - Pronounced [ah(n)], the ah sounds like à and the n has a nasal sound. As in tante (aunt).
  • AU - Pronounced like a "closed" 'O' in a similar manner to 'eau.'
  • EAU - Pronounced like 'au' with a "closed" 'O.'