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🅿 L’alphabet français – The French alphabet

L’alphabet français


The French alphabet

French alphabet

A1

Pronunciation

20 minutes

Écrit par / Written by: Anthony Lucas

Dernière révision / Last revision: Tuesday 5 December 2023

Before going any further in this lesson, let’s enjoy this chef d’œuvre from Philippe Katerine so you get that the French alphabet can be memorised with fun 🎶🤪

Les derniers seront toujours les premiers de Philippe Katerine

🇫🇷 Philippe Katerine donne sa propre version de l’alphabet français dans cette chanson, avec l’aide de nombreux enfants mignons.
Serez-vous capable de réciter l’alphabet à l’envers ?


🇬🇧 Philippe Katerine gives his own version of the French alphabet in this song, with the help of a lot of cute kids.
Will you be able to recite the alphabet backwards?

Les lettres de l’alphabet français – Letters of the French alphabet

Les voyelles – The vowels

There are 6 vowels in the French alphabet:

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
une voyellea vowel
AAberdeen
E[eh]
I[e]
O[o]
U[oo]
Y[egrac]

Les consonnes – The consonants

There are 20 consonants in the French alphabet:

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
une consonnea consonant
B[bay]
C[say]
D[day]
F[f]
G[J]
H[ash]
J[g]
K[ka]
L[L]
M[m]
N[n]
P[pay]
Q[qoo]
R[air]
S[s]
T[tay]
V[vay]
W[doobleh vay]
X[ix]
Z[zayd]


The whole French alphabet:

🇫🇷 French
l’alphabet = the alphabet
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

“A” comme … – “A” as in…

When spelling in French, in order to avoid any confusion between letters with similar pronunciation like b and v for example, we use well-known French first names as references. So you would say: “A comme Albert“, “B comme Barbara“, ….
Here comes a list of common French first names that you can use:

🇫🇷 French🇫🇷 French
A comme Alain
A comme Alexandre
N comme Noémie
N comme Nicolas
B comme Baptiste
B comme Barbara
O comme Oscar
O comme Olivia
C comme Céline
P comme Patrick
D comme David
Q comme Quentin
E comme Emilie
R comme Raphaël
F comme Florence
S comme Sarah
S comme Sébastien
G comme Gabriel
T comme Thomas
H comme Hugo
U comme Ursulla
I comme Inès
V comme Valentin
V comme Vanessa
J comme Julien
J comme Julie
W comme Wilfrid
W comme William
K comme Kévin
X comme Xavier
L comme Lucas
Y comme Yannick
M comme Maxime
M comme Marie
Z comme Zoé

ABC pour casser“, performed by Peter Kitsch and Olivia

🇫🇷 Dans cette chanson de 1996 intitulée “ABC pour casser“, interprétée par Peter Kitsch et Olivia, le principe est que chaque phrase se termine par une lettre de l’alphabet, dans l’ordre alphabétique bien sûr. Elle raconte une dispute conjugale, ou plus précisément, un homme qui explique à sa petite amie pourquoi il la largue.


🇬🇧 In this 1996 song entitled “ABC pour casser“, performed by Peter Kitsch and Olivia, the principle is that each sentence ends with a letter of the French alphabet, in alphabetical order of course. It recounts a domestic dispute, or more precisely, a man explaining to his girlfriend why he is dumping her.

Les lettres de l’alphabet français avec accents ou tréma – The letters of the French alphabet with accents or diaeresis

In the French language, certain vowels have distinctive signs above them. These signs are called accents. There are 3 types of accent: l’accent aigu – the acute accent (the most common), l’accent grave – the grave accent and l’accent circonflexe – the circumflex accent (the rarest). You can also find another sign: le tréma – diaeresis.

The accent sometimes changes the original pronunciation of the letter, like the acute accent on the letter “e” for example, but this is not always the case.

In other cases, the accent is used to distinguish two different words. This is the case with “a” and “à“. “a” is the verb “avoir” conjugated in the present tense in the third person singular (“il a“) whereas “à” is a preposition of place (“à la boulangerie“).

blague accent sauf les jours de pleine lune

There’s never an accent before a double consonant except on full moon days?
No, I’m joking! No exception this time …

Now let’s look at the variety of accents in the French alphabet and whether or not they change pronunciation:

L’accent aigu – the acute accent

You only find it on the letter “e”.

Prononciation identique ou différente ? – Same or different pronunciation?

letter of the French alphabetsame letter with the accentSame or different pronunciation?
eédifferent pronunciation

Épeler – Spelling

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
accent aiguacute accent
étésummere accent aigu – t – e accent aigu

L’accent grave – the grave accent

You only find it on the letters “a”, “e” and “u”.

Prononciation identique ou différente ? – Same or different pronunciation?

letter of the French alphabetsame letter with the accentSame or different pronunciation?
aàsame pronunciation
uùsame pronunciation
eèdifferent pronunciation

Épeler – Spelling

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
accent gravegrave accent
làherel – a accent grave
mèremotherm – e accent grave – r – e
oùwhereo – u accent grave

L’accent circonflexe – the circumflex accent

You can find it on the letters “a”, “e”, “i”, “o” and “u”.

Prononciation identique ou différente ? – Same or different pronunciation?

letter of the French alphabetsame letter with the accentSame or different pronunciation?
aâsame pronunciation
iîsame pronunciation
oôsame pronunciation
uûsame pronunciation
eêdifferent pronunciation

Épeler – Spelling

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
accent circonflexecircumflex
âgeagea accent circonflexe – g – e
êtreto bee accent circonflexe – t – r – e
îleislandi accent circonflexe – l – e
hôtelhotelh – o accent circonflexe – t – e – l
coûterto costc – o – u accent circonflexe – t – e – r

Le tréma – diaeresis

The diaeresis is the two dots placed over the “e”, “i” and “u” to indicate that the preceding vowel should be pronounced separately.

Prononciation identique ou différente ? – Same or different pronunciation?

letter of the French alphabetsame letter with the accentSame or different pronunciation?
iïsame pronunciation
uüsame pronunciation
eëdifferent pronunciation

Épeler – Spelling

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
trémadiaeresis
NoëlChristmasn – o – e tréma – l
maïscornm – a – i tréma – s
ambigüeambiguousa – m – b – i – g – u tréma – e

Espace, majuscule et minuscule – Space, capital and small letters

Espace – Space

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
espacespace
mon vélomy bikem – o – n – espace – v – e accent aigu – l – o

Majuscule et minuscule – Capital letters and small letters

caractère = character🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
Mm majusculecapital m
mm minusculelowercase m

Les autres signes – The other signs

La cédille – Cedilla

The cedilla is a small hook written under the letter “c” to indicate that it is pronounced [s].

The sound made the letter “c” without cedilla can be either [k] or [s]:
➡️ when the letter c is followed by the vowels e, i or y, the sound is [s]
➡️ when the letter c is followed by the vowels a, o or u, the sound is [k]

The cedilla is placed under the c before the vowels a, o or u when the c must retain the [s] sound.

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
cédillecedilla
çathatc cédille – a
garçonboyg – a – r – c cédille – o – n
reçureceivedr – e – c cédille – u

L’apostrophe – Apostrophe

‘ It replaces the letters “e” or “a when the following word starts with a vowel:

➜ In order to know more about this strange phenomenon, have a look at the lesson L’élision.

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
apostropheapostrophe
la école
lécole
the schooll apostrophe – e accent aigu – c – o – l – e
je aime
jaime
I like / I lovej apostrophe – a – i – m – e

Le trait d’union – Hyphen

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
trait d’unionhyphen
vingtsepttwenty-sevenv – i – n – g – t – trait d’union – s – e – p – t

Les signes de ponctuation – Punctuation marks

Les points – Dots

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 English
?
point d’interrogation
question mark
!
point d’exclamation
exclamation mark
:
deux-points
colon
;
point virgule
semicolon

points de suspension
dot dot dot

La virgule – Comma

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
virgule comma
J’aime les pommes, les poires et les clémentines.I like apples, pears and clementines.j majuscule – apostrophe – a – i – m – e – espace – l – e – s – espace – p – o – deux m – e – s – virgule – l – e – s – espace – p – o – i – r – e – s – espace – e – t – espace – l – e – s – espace – c – l – e accent aigu – m – e – n – t – i – n – e – s – point

Les parenthèses – Parenthesis / Brackets

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
parenthèsesparenthesis / brackets
belle (et grande)beautiful (and tall)b – e – deux l – e – ouvrez la parenthèse – e – t – espace – g – r – a – n – d – e – fermez la parenthèse

Les guillemets – Quotation mark

🇫🇷 French🇬🇧 Englishça s’écrit … = you spell it…
guillemetsquotation marks
Descartes a dit : Je pense donc je suis.Descartes said: “I think therefore I am.”D majuscule – e – s – c – a – r – t – e – s – espace – a – espace – d – i – t – deux points – ouvrez les guillemets – j majuscule – e – espace – p – e – n – s – e – espace – d – o – n – c – espace – j – e – espace – s – u – i – s – point – fermez les guillemets

À RETENIR
WORTH REMEMBERING

As a beginner, don’t pay too much attention to the second part of this lesson with The other signs and Punctuation marks.

Instead, first spend some time on learning on how to pronounce all the letter of the French alphabet. Then give some time to the accents.

Don’t forget to celebrate every little victory (= new knowledge) in your French learning process 🍾

Scroll down and…

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