Ils parlent espagnol - Pronunciation

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by James Bates, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. James Bates Senior Member

    English America
    My French textbook says the first "e" in "quatre livres" must be pronounced because of the following "l". It also says it will not be pronounced in "quatre étudiants". Similarly, in another place it says the first "e" in "appartement" must be pronounced, for exactly the same reason: to avoid having three consonants in a row.
    I was wondering if the second "e" in "il ne parle pas" would be necessary to pronounce for the same reason? I'm guessing it would not be pronounced in "ils parlent espangol", which would be pronounced "il par lespangol". Am I correct? Could same natives comment?
     
  2. glutch

    glutch Senior Member

    France
    France - French
    Hi,

    I am not a pro of grammar and pronunciation rules, but i do speak, and when i say what you write, it seems right.
    I just think in each sentence, the "e" is not really pronunced because it is what we call an "e muet", it just influences the way you pronunce the previous consonant.
    Anyway, the rule is right : you usually do not pronunce a final vowel when the next word begins by a vowel (or a "h muet").
    (This rule is mainly followed in France, but some of the southern areas do pronunce every ending letters)

    So, yes, "Il parl'espagnol".
    J.
     
  3. James Bates Senior Member

    English America
    Thank you. Could "Il parlent espangol" also be pronounced "il parle tespangol"? Or would it sound archaic?
     
  4. MarcusK Senior Member

    As far as I know, there is no actual rule stating that you must pronounce the e after 3 consonants in a row. In "quatre livres" both prononciations would be correct it seems to me. In appartement, pronouncing the first e is indeed compulsory, though in actual speach one often barely hears it as it's unstressed. The usual pronunciation of "il ne parle pas" would be "parl pas", without the e.

    "il parle tespangol" is not correct. It would be faulty liaison.
     
  5. James Bates Senior Member

    English America
    So you're saying there is no way of telling whether your interlocutor is saying "il parle espangol" or "ils parlent espangol"?
     
  6. MarcusK Senior Member

    That's right, both are pronounced the same way.
    Note that the purpose of the liaison is to avoid having two vowels in succession, e.g. les hommes pronounced [lezom] and not [le om]. Whereas in "ils parlent espagnol", this doesn't occur, as "parlent" is prounonced [parl].
     
  7. James Bates Senior Member

    English America
    Alright! Merci beaucoup!
     

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