To all the french-speakers out there I need help!!

Britney   Saturday, March 27, 2004, 16:19 GMT
Can someone please tell me how to pronunce the word un "Masion"(a house)?
My friend says it's prononced as "Memore" OR SOMTHING LIKE THAT but it doesn't make any sense because of the syllables of it
"Ai" prononced like "ay" not like "er"

I really don't understand the french pronunciation...I'm really loving it though..
Lavoisel   Saturday, March 27, 2004, 17:14 GMT

"Masion" is not a word. The French for a house is "une maison".

The sound "ai" is pronouced like "é" in "café". The "s" between two vowels is pronouced "z". As for the sound "on" (the nasal o), it has no equivalent in English. Just listen to it on this page:
nic   Monday, March 29, 2004, 14:23 GMT
Maison is the kind of thing you use to leave in
Paul   Monday, March 29, 2004, 15:20 GMT
The Canadian's have to do everything.

French often nasalizes vowels, where English would pronounce an "n".
but you would still be understandable if you said
oon ma-zon.
English sometimes pronounces an "a" at the end of a syllable as a Schwa.
Don't fall into that trap.
In oon ma-zon the ma is a stressed syllable clearly soundling like a soft "a".
vincent   Monday, March 29, 2004, 17:52 GMT
to lavoisel,

I know there are a lot of differences between some areas concerning the pronunciation but for what i was taught "ai" is said like the french "è" or "ê" or like the "ai" in "you sAId". And not like "é". With this distinction you'll be able to make the difference between "il a chanté" [closed "e" like in "sick"] and "il chantait" [opened "e" like in "you said"]. In southern France they don't make this distinction due to the occitan substrat.
nic to lavoisel   Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 09:49 GMT
""""il chantait" [opened "e" like in "you said"]. In southern France they don't make this distinction due to the occitan substrat. """

It depends, in south places the singing form is "il channntait", the ait is closed.
Lavoisel   Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 15:31 GMT
Nic, you probably meant "nic to vincent", as I am not the one who wrote the il-chantait-verses-il-a-chanté remark.

Vincent, the auxiliary "avoir" in "il A chanté" is so easy to hear, why would we need some other distinctions?

This "ai" pronouced "è" is, as far as I am concerned, a Parisian and Lyonnais thing. I know some teachers would be delighted if they could convince us all to see it as standard, only there is no standard.
My pronunciation is as much correct as the Parisian one.

You are therefore free, Britney, to pronouce "ai" either "é" or "è".
nic   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 06:56 GMT

do you mean Lyonnais and parisiens have the same accent? I was born in Lyon and leaved there for 20 years.
vincent   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 07:49 GMT
to lavoisel,
it seems you're right concerning the frequence of è-pronunciation.As a consequence I think it would be nice if we could supprime (on dit comme ça?) the "è" and "ê" letters in the orthography if they are useless. We would write "éléve, géner, aprés, trés, la foret, pélerin..." it would be a big simplification.
nic   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 07:56 GMT
but they are not useless
Lavoisel   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 12:21 GMT
Vincent, only because the sound "è" is seldomly used in some parts of France doesn't mean it's NEVER used. I, for one, pronounce the verb être like "ètre". I think that dropping "è" and "ê" would be as much dissatisfactory for everyone, be they Parisian or not.
Unless I'm much mistaken, Parisians pronounce "forêt" like "forè", while we southerners pronouce it "foré". How much confusing would it be to write it "foret"?
While I would be extremly glad if French was spelling-reformed, I'm afraid the price to pay for it would be the split of the language into as much dialects as the numerous accents you can count among the Francophones.
Thus, we are doomed to stick to that spelling, whether we like it or not.
But maybe we could find some common points which everyone may agree on. Maybe, for example, the "ê" could be changed into a "è" in "être". Maybe we could decide to drop the "ph" and always use "f" instead. Maybe we could drop the "s"-or-"ss" rule and always use "s" for the sound "s" and "z" for the sound "z". Maybe we could also drop some numerous useless silent final letters the likes of "t" in "puit" or "attrait".
What do you think?

Nic, I did not say the Parisians and the Lyonnais shared the same accent, only that they shared the "ai"-pronounced-"è" feature in common.
The two accents are obviously different. The most obvious difference is "pas vrai" almost pronouced "pô vrai" by the Lyonnais to the ears of a Parisian (and to my ears as well). ;-)
nic   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 12:39 GMT
It's does not work with the "a", i think you are making a confusion with"o", and in that case it's true : "rhône becomes rône", Saone becomes "sône" etc
nic   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 12:41 GMT
in fact the accent from lyon is close to Savoie and Swiss. The parisian accent : does it really exist?
vincent   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 13:31 GMT
to lavoisel,
I agree your remarks and propositions (overall the suppression of these stupid greek letters like "ph,th,y", the Italian,Spaniards,Portuguese,Catalans did so for their language almost 500 years ago) except the last with silent letters because they're useful,they allow us to reconstruct a verb or a feminine form: "blanc" gives "blanche", let's not forget the "liaison".And, to end with this point, we're assisting to a strange linguistic phenomenon for a few years: most people tend to pronounce the words according the orthography.For example nowadays a lot of people pronouce the "p" in the verb "dompter", 50 years ago never. Particularly the young people (I am one of these) tend to pronounce the "p" in the noun "sculpture" or the "m" in the verb "damner".All these etymologic letters were silent in the past.The english speakers know the same phenomenon, some of them pronounce the "t" in "often" for example.

Lavoisel, where did you learn English? You write very well. Can you advice me something to make better my english? Unfortunately I cannot travel.But with books or something else... I'm not used to speak English because I'm studying spanish philology and I speak spanish every day.
Lavoisel   Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 15:44 GMT
Vincent, many thanks for the compliment.

I am probably not richer than you are and my best teachers so far have been good English books, films and video games the interest of which made me so eager to understand them completely. Trouble is you must find books hard enough to make you progress and easy enough to not discourage you after the tenth page.
The work that first made me feel more familiar with the language happens to be the video game Shenmue on Dreamcast. Despite the great commercial potencial of the game Sega Europe did not feel the need for a French version and restrained itself with translating the originally Japanese game into English. This did improve my understanding of the language and I also learned some typically British phrases in the process.
Also very important in my learning were the Harry Potter books, all of which I have read in original version. But this was but a taste of the pleasure I had to watch the three opus of the Lord of The Ring, in which the accent of every single character, especially Gandalf's and Sarouman's, is really impressive and pleasant.
Those references may not necessarily suit your taste, and I hotly recommand that you find the work that actually draw your attention. The point is, you must have fun if you want your learning to be effective. ;-)

I also wouldn't be fair if I didn't tell you the importance of learning phonetics, so that you be able to instantaneously know how to pronouce a word by simply looking it up in your dictionary. "La prononciation de l'anglais" by "Langue Pour Tous" just teaches you that.

All this is explained much more in details in this site, therefore you may want to spend the time to read it. Tom used more or less the same method than mine to learn English, except that he did so with much more courage and efforts and also spent much more time on it. He consequently has much more tips to share than I have and is level is way better than mine (he's frequently mistaken for a native speaker).

As for the silent letters, I must admit you had a point. Some of them are
compulsory and I failed to remember it in the first place.
I also noticed the bent for a more phonetic pronouciation among younger people (of whom I belong to, for I am twenty-three). This may make a reform even more complicated and I suppose the single point of agreement would eventually be to drop the hellenisms from our spelling.

Nic, actually it takes to be dumb to not have an accent. Of course the Parisian accent exists, unless you regard as yours the ideology that believes in the standarness of the Parisian accent over any other.
And believe it or not, the "a" in "pas" is very close to a "o" in Lyonnais French. This is seldomly noticed, and I often surprise the Lyonnais when I point it out.