The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents French pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

English approximations are in some cases very rough, and only intended to give a general idea of the pronunciation. See French phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds.

French has no word-level stress, so stress marks should not be used in transcribing French words. See here for explanation.

  IPA   Examples English approximation
b beau beau
d doux do
f fête; pharmacie festival
ɡ gain; guerre gain
k cabas; archque; aquarelle; kelvin sky
l loup loop
m mou; femme moo
n nous; bonne no
ɲ agneaux[1] roughly like canyon
p passé spy
ʁ roue; rhume[2] roughly like loch (Scottish English)
s sa; hausse; ce; garçon; option; scie sir
ʃ chou; schème; shampooing shoe
t tout; thé sty
v vous; wagon view
z hasard; zéro zeal
ʒ joue; geai measure
Non-native consonants
ŋ camping[3] camping
x jota; khamsin[4] loch (Scottish English)
j fief; payer; fille; travail yes
w oui; loi; moyen; web we
ɥ huit between yet and wet
  IPA   Examples English approximation
a patte roughly like pat
ɑ pâte; glas[5] bra
e clé; les; chez; aller; pied pay
ɛ mère; est; abdomen; faite best
ɛː fête; mtre; reine; scène; caisse; rtre[6] says
ə le; reposer[7] again (often elided)
i si; île; y bee
œ sœur; jeune roughly like bird
ø ceux; jne roughly like bird
o sot; hôtel; haut; bureau roughly like law (British English)
ɔ sort; minimum not
u coup too
y tu; sûr roughly like few
Nasal vowels
ɑ̃ sans; champ; vent; temps; Jean; taon[8] roughly like croissant
ɛ̃ vin; impair; pain; daim; plein; Reims; bien[9] uh-huh
œ̃ un; parfum[10] roughly like turn
ɔ̃ son; nom roughly like own
IPA Example Explanation
ˈ moyen [mwaˈjɛ̃][11] phrasal stress
. pays [pe.i][12] syllable boundary
les agneaux [lez‿aˈɲo] liaison[13]


  1. In European French, /ɲ/ is often pronounced [nj].
  2. The French rhotic varies from region to region, though it is often uvular, especially in Northern France; the more common pronunciations include a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] and a uvular trill [ʀ] and sometimes [χ] (after voiceless consonants).
  3. In European French, /ŋ/ is often pronounced [ŋɡ].
  4. /x/ may be replaced by [ʁ].
  5. In Metropolitan French, /ɑ/ is often replaced by [a].
  6. In Metropolitan French, /ɛː/ is often replaced by [ɛ]. In Quebec French, /ɛː/ is often pronounced [aɛ̯].
  7. In French, /ə/ is pronounced with some lip rounding [ɵ̞]; for a number of speakers, it is also more front and may even be phonetically identical to the vowel of sœur [sœʁ]. In Metropolitan French, /ə/ is rounded and fronted, making it phonetically similar to /ø/.
  8. In Quebec French, /ɑ̃/ is pronounced [ã].
  9. In Quebec French, /ɛ̃/ is pronounced [ẽ].
  10. In Metropolitan French, /œ̃/ is often replaced by [ɛ̃].
  11. Stress falls on the last full syllable of a phrase, except in emphatic speech.
  12. Used sparingly.
  13. Latent final consonant is pronounced before a following vowel sound.

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