Wednesday, May 16, 2007

pronuncification

We're singing some stuff in French this weekend at my choir concert, and I missed the rehearsal where they told us which s's to carry over and which are supposed to be silent. Someone set me straight, but I started wondering: is there any difference in pronunciation between "Ils ont" and "Ils sont"? J.Po, you speak French. I've been wondering since Monday night and it's still bothering me, so if you could help me out, that would be great.

9 comments:

Spice said...

I don't think there's any discernible difference there, but someone who's French is better than mine might disagree. Almost everything is run together in French, which I think is why I was never very good at speaking/understanding it. I should have taken German. Seriously.

towwas said...

Yeah, a dude I know who studied French in France said reading comprehension is a huge part of [some exam he had to take at the Sorbonne] - you have to really know your grammar, because everything sounds exactly the same. But I just wondered if there was a zzz/ssss difference here, or if those really sound exactly the same.

Confusing darn language. German is fun, Spice! Maybe in your next life.

Sophist said...

I think Ils ont is more of a ZZZZ sound, whereas Ils sont is more of an sssss sound (or ß for you Germaney peeps).

Spice said...

Yeah, my one year of Spanish - where the pronounciation is pretty clear - was one zillion times easier for me than French despite the fact that I can't roll my r's worth a darn. I can read French pretty well, but the fact that my high-school French teachers never spoke French to us nor made us speak French kinda limited my development on those fronts! It all sounds like 'euh' and 'ehr' and 'zzz' and 'juh' to me.

J.Po said...

My take: the 's' in 'Ils' isn't pronounced...but the 's' in 'sont' is. But when the two words are spoken in succession, it's hard to tell where the 's' is coming from. When a word ending in 's' is followed by a word starting with a vowel, the 's' usually runs over (with a zzz sound, as Sophist said), but not always.

Coloradan said...

Sophist's z/s distinction is what I learned in French class, I seem to remember.

J.Bro said...

J Po's wrong. I'm not going to tell you why or how.

BASSO said...

ils sont = eel sont (leave a bit "t" but cut off)

ils ont = eel zon (drop the "t" more nasal)

..but it is singing, buy the time you sing it, it's gone and run into the next...enjoy the music

towwas said...

Basso, thank you! Those phrases aren't in the song - it was an unrelated question that came to mind. I had no idea there was a difference in the T's. Dang. French. In Japanese, you know, you pronounce everything.