American History and Genealogy Project

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Pronunciation of French Words

The Key

a- as in father. e- as in see.
a - as in ate. o - as in bone,
e - as in her. oo- as in cool,
e- as in let. 6- as in or.

The nasal n in French has no exact equivalent in English. It is pronounced like nh with the mouth open, nearly like an in pant, or on in song, or an in crank.

Aix-la-Chapelle - aches-lâ-shâpelle.
Andre Thevet - on (as in song) dra tê-vë.
Agoncy - â-gon (on as in song) see.
Aubry - o-bree.

Bateau - bâ-to.
Beaujolais- Bo-jo-la.
Bien Court- Be-an (as in pant)-coor
Bon Soir - bon (on as in song) swar.
Bigot - be-go.
Brouage- broo-âje.

Carignan Saliere - câ-reen-yon (on as in song) sâ-le-air.
Chaudière - cho-de-air.

De Monts- de-mon (on as in song).
D'Iberville - dê-bear- veal.
Druillettes - drew-e-yët.

Egalite - a-gâ-le-ta.
Estienne- a-te-ën.

Lescarbot - less-car-bo.
Les Isle des Monts Desert - lay-zeal-day-mon (on as in song) day-zair.
Levis- lê-vee.
Louis - loo-e.

Montpensier - mon (on as in song) pon (on as in song) see-a.
Mai de mer- mâl-dê-mare.
M. (stands for monsieur) -mô-se-êr.

Padeshall- pâd-shâll.
Poutrincourt- poo-tran (an as in crank) coor,
Patache - pâ-tâsh.
Pont-Grave - pon (on as in song) grâve.
Panounais - pâ noo-na.

Rale (or Rasle)- Râl.
Roberval - Ro-bear-vâl.
Raleau - Râ-lo.

Sieur d'Orville- se-êr-dôr-veal.
Sartignan - sar-te-yon (on as in song) .
Sacre bleu- Sâ-crê-blê.

Villieu - ve-le-yê.
Versailles- vair-si (i as in high) yê.


Source: Maine My State, The Maine Writers Research Club, The Journal Print Shop, Lewiston, Maine, 1919

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