Teaching Tips

French Pronunciation and Vowel Tension

  • Viviane Ruellot (Western Michigan University)


French pronunciation is characterized by considerable muscular tension (Grauberg 1997, p.148). The degree to which the muscles in articulators such as the tongue, lips, and jaws are tensed during pronunciation is particularly significant in vowel production. Indeed, unlike their English counterparts, the vowels in the French spoken in France1 are pronounced with muscle tension that is sustained for the entire duration of the sound, resulting in significantly briefer ("me" vs. mi) and more stable ("bow" vs. beau) sounds (Tranel 1987, p. 34, Valdman 1993, p. 5).

How to Cite:

Ruellot, V., (2015) “French Pronunciation and Vowel Tension”, Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Proceedings 7(1).

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Published on
31 Dec 2015