Using Enchainement in French Pronunciation

Speaker device in various languages.
David Madison/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Enchaînement is the phenomenon whereby the consonant sound at the end of a word is transferred to the beginning of the word that follows it. Unlike liaisons, which cause otherwise silent letters to be pronounced, with enchaînement, the consonant would be pronounced whether or not it was followed by a word beginning with a vowel or mute H.


sept [set] sept enfants [se ta(n) fa(n)]
avec [a vek] avec elle [a ve kel]
elle [el] elle est [e le]
entre [a(n)tr] entre eux [a(n) treu]

Pronunciation key*

  • -> father
  • e -> bed
  • ee -> meet
  • eu -> full
  • (n) -> nasal n

Note that the consonant is not necessarily the last letter of the word, simply the last sound of the word: elle est = [e le]. Also, note that in the last example the consonants t and r are joined, so they are both tacked on to the word that follows.

*Pronunciation key - This is only a guide to help you get the most out of the sound files - refer to a dictionary for the exact pronunciation.The pronunciation of liaisons is based on linguistic and stylistic factors, but enchaînement is a simply a phonetic issue. The French language doesn't like to have syllables end in consonants, so whenever possible the final consonant is tacked onto the word that follows it. This also increases the musicality of the language.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "Using Enchainement in French Pronunciation." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Using Enchainement in French Pronunciation. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Using Enchainement in French Pronunciation." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).