Monday, 19 January 2009

Accents help

Accents help

French has accents that either help with pronunciation or help distinguish words. So they are helpful. Today I will write about the grave accent and the dieresis.

The grave accent (accent grave) occurs on the letters a e and u making à è and ù, and in most cases makes no difference to the pronunciation but does help distinguish words. The word la (the) becomes (there). Ou (or) becomes (where). Au delà means beyond. There is a great song from Johnny Hallyday called 'Sang pour Sang'. Try to listen to it if you can. One line is au delà de nos differences...

The dieresis is commonly known as an umlaut and in French is called a tréma. It is two dots placed over the second of two vowels that are together and makes you pronounce the two vowels. So it makes a huge difference to pronunciation. If you ask for a citron you will get a lemon. If you ask for a Citroën you will get a car.

A bientöt

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