How to Pronounce Optional Liaisons in French

Businessman talking on cell phone
Tom Merton/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Optional liaisons are those which are pronounced in higher registers (levels of formality) and not in lower registers. 

These rules are listed more or less in order from the most to least common. That is, even familiar speech will often make the first kind of liaison, while only in very high-level French will the last kind of liaison be made.

Some of these sound files are fairly long and may take a while to download, since I pronounced the liaised phrase and then the non-liaised phrase in the same file.

I. After plural nouns

 les hommes arrivent [uhm za reev]* or [uh ma reev]**  

des livres utiles [liv reu zu teel] or [li vru teel]  

 II.  Between two-part verbal structures  

Je suis allé [swee za lay] or [swee a lay]  

Ils ont eu [o(n) tu] or [o(n) u]  

Tu vas aller [va za lay] or [va a lay]          

III.  Present tense of être + noun, adjective, or adverb  

il est idiot [ee lay tee dyo] or [ee lay i dyo]  

il est heureux [ee lay teu reu] or [ee lay eu reu]  

il est ici [ee lay tee see] or [ee lay ee see]         

IV.  After multi-syllable adverbs and prepositions  

assez utile [a say zu teel] or [a say u teel]  

tellement avare [tel ma(n) ta var] or [tel ma(n) a var]  

après être venu [a pre zetr] or [a pre etr]  

depuis un an [deu pwee zu(n)] or [de pwee u(n)]       

V. Some conjunctions

mais enfin [me za(n) fe(n)] or [me a(n) fe(n)]  

puis on est arrivé [pwee zo(n)] or [pwee o(n)]       

VI.  After verbs*** (very high register)  

Ils arriveront à midi [a ree vro(n) ta] or [a ree vro(n) a]  

Elle prend un livre [pra(n) tu(n)] or [pra(n) u(n)]

*This is only a guide to help you get the most out of the sound files - refer to a dictionary for the exact pronounciation. 

a  father
ay  hate
e   bed
ee  meet
eu   full
uh  the
u  fool
(n)  nasal n
zh  mirage

** Note that if you don't make a liasion, the last pronounced consonant is enchaîné as usual.
*** Except when followed by a pronoun.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "How to Pronounce Optional Liaisons in French." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2016, thoughtco.com/how-to-pronounce-optional-liaisons-french-4083604. Lawless, Laura K. (2016, September 2). How to Pronounce Optional Liaisons in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-pronounce-optional-liaisons-french-4083604 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Pronounce Optional Liaisons in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-pronounce-optional-liaisons-french-4083604 (accessed November 20, 2017).