How to Pronounce the Letter 'T' in French

Can Your English Tongue Speak the French 'T'?

It's important to learn the proper pronunciations as you're studying French and it all begins with the alphabet. While the letter 'T' may seem like an easy one, your tongue may tell you differently. This lesson will show you how the English and French 'T' differ and give you some good words to practice with.

Pronouncing the French Letter 'T'

The letter 'T' in French is fairly straightforward as it is pronounced more or less like the English 'T.' The difference is that in French, it is pronounced with the tongue against the upper teeth, rather than behind them, as in the English T: listen

When found in the combination 'TH,' the sound remains the same as for the lone 'T.' For example, le thé sounds much like its English word, "tea." A word like le théâtre (theater) is just a little different, but similar.

When 'T' Becomes 'TI'

There is another letter combination in which the pronunciation changes. This is 'TI' as in the adjectives timide (shy) and tiède (tepid, mild). Did you notice a difference between the T's?

French words with T

The most difficult part of learning to pronounce the French 'T' is probably going to be the tongue movement. Use these three very simple words to train your tongue when you're speaking in French. Notice how each has two T's? All the better for practicing.

You can click on the word to hear the correct pronunciation and double check your progress.