How to Pronounce 'UN' in French

You Will Use the Nasal U Often

How are you at pronouncing the "nasal U" in French? It's a distinct sound that is used when 'UN' or 'UM' appear in a word and it's a key part of learning proper French. Take a few minutes to run through a quick French pronunciation lesson and practice your nasal vowels.

How to Pronounce 'UN' in French

The letter combination 'UN' is called the "nasal U." It is pronounced [euh(n)], where [euh] is more or less like the 'OO' in good.

The (n) is the nasal sound that is common in French.

The nasal U can be spelled 'UN' or 'UM.' Either way, this sound is called the "nasal U."

It's important to note that this sound has disappeared in some French dialects. It's frequently being replaced by the "nasal I" (IN).

Practice Saying 'UN'

To get a good feel for the "nasal U," you will need to practice and a few simple words should do. The reality is that you will use un as an article all the time, so that alone should give you plenty of time to perfect your 'UN.'

Fine Tune Your Nasal Vowels

Quite often, nasal vowels are a new concept for native English speakers. They're used frequently in French, so it would serve you well to give them a good deal of attention. You will use the "nasal" sound almost every time a vowel is followed by 'M' or 'N.'

Beyond 'UN' and 'IN,' practice the sound for 'AN' and 'ON.' The "nasal E" ('EN') takes on the sound of the "nasal A" in most cases and the "nasal I" after 'É,' 'I,' and 'Y.'

'UN' Versus 'L'Un'

While we're on the subject of 'UN' there is one rather important grammar issue to note. The French word un is used as both a number and an article. However, in some circumstances, when it is used as a pronoun it is replaced by l'un

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Lawless, Laura K. "How to Pronounce 'UN' in French." ThoughtCo, Jul. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-un-1369600. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, July 27). How to Pronounce 'UN' in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-un-1369600 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Pronounce 'UN' in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-un-1369600 (accessed January 19, 2018).