Getting started with French 3
Getting started with French 3

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Getting started with French 3

5 Pronunciation: the letter ‘h’

You will now look more closely at the letter ‘h’ in spelling and sound.

Activity 12

Listen to the audio below and identify the letter in the following words that is not sounded, other than the letter e.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: lxf003_wk1_act_aud018.mp3
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Transcript

le théâtre

l’hôtel de ville

la cathédrale

la bibliothèque

l’hôpital

End transcript
 
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Answer

1 le théâtre; 2 l’hôtel de ville; 3 la cathédrale; 4 la bibliothèque; 5 l’hôpital

Listen to the audio again and repeat each word.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: lxf003_wk1_act_aud018.mp3
Skip transcript

Transcript

le théâtre
l’hôtel de ville
la cathédrale
la bibliothèque
l’hôpital
End transcript
 
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Discussion

Listen to the recording to check your pronunciation. Note that the letter ‘h’ is not normally pronounced when it is the first letter of the word. Note also that ‘th’ anywhere within a word is pronounced as ‘t’ (i.e. the ‘h’ is silent).

The letter ‘h’ does not correspond to a sound in French. Words that are spelt with the initial letter ‘h’ are pronounced as if they begin with the vowel that follows it. Definite articles preceding these words are usually reduced from le and la to l’.

l’hôtel (m.) hotel

l’herbe (f.) grass

Words spelt with ‘th’– in whatever position – are also pronounced as if the ‘t’ were the only letter present.

le thé tea

la bibliothèque library

When words beginning with the letter ‘h’ are preceded by the indefinite article, un or une, the two words run together and it sounds like the second word starts with ‘n’. Here are some examples:

unhôtel hotel (Sounds like ‘un_nôtel’)

unehabitation residence (Sounds like ‘une_nabitation’)

unhôpital hospital (Sounds like ‘un_nôpital’)

LXF003_1

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