French Corrective Phonetics Guide

Liaison with nasals

A small number of words ending in a nasal vowel show liaison by inserting /n/ when followed by a word that starts with a vowel. Two scenarios exist:

 

a) the nasal vowel changes to oral and a nasal consonant is inserted. Words of this category include pre-nominal adjectives like ancien [[ãsjɛ̃] , moyen [mwajɛ̃] , prochain [pʁɔʃɛ̃] and bon [bõ] , e.g.:

 

l'ancien élève [lãsjɛnelɛv]

le moyen âge [ləmwajɛnaʒ]

le prochain enfant [ləpʁɔʃɛnãfã]

bon anniversaire [bɔnanivɛʁsɛʁ/]

 

b) the vowel remains nasal and a nasal consonant is inserted; words of this category include on [õ], en [ã], aucun [okœ̃], un [œ̃], bien [bjɛ̃], rien [ʁjɛ̃], mon [mõ], ton [õ], son [sõ], e.g.:

 

on est [õnɛ]

en été [ãnete]

un homme [œ̃nɔm]

rien à faire [ʁjɛ̃nafɛʁ]

mon ami [mõnami]

 

Note that while this is the general trend, some speakers do denasalize the vowel in the words mon, ton and son.

As in other cases of liaison, the inserted /n/ belongs to the following syllable, e.g.: [mõ - na - mi]

 
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