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french words that sound alike

Can someone help with pronunciation please?
The one I've been caught out on recently is "la queue" when buying fish.
How is that pronounced differently from  "coeur"?
Another one is "mer", "mère" and "maire". Is there any difference?
Also "cou" and "cul" as in cou or cul nu of chickens.

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Re: french words that sound alike

La queue and coeur sound different to my ear, though mer, mère and maire all sound the same - you usually have to go by context. In English you have words like buy, by and bye or for, fore, four. Context usually sorts out any problems. :)

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Re: french words that sound alike

What also comes into this is local accent, and it will be very interesting to hear what people living in very different areas have to say. I also tend to find that a northern English or some Scottish accents can help.

However, I would suggest trying 'coeur' like pronouncing cur (a snappy dog) with a slightly rolled 'r' at the end, maybe Scottish or French.

Where we live, queue is pronounced like 'que', with a little longer ending, a bit like a short cough.

As Zarathustra has said, context is very important with mer, mère and maire. These are tricky. But I would say  'mère' sounds as though it almost might have 'air' in the middle, with a rolled 'r' at the end, with 'maire' the same. 'Mer' is feminine, 'mère' is feminine and 'maire' is masculine; so it would be  'la mer', with 'la mère' and 'le maire'.

I would pronounce 'cou' like a dove's 'coo', but shorter, as though in a rush - with the 'oo' slightly cut off. With 'cul', I'd say to have the lips very pursed and say the 'u' as a very short sound. I've heard it said with the 'l' at the end pronounced in that context.

You do get us all thinking, Patf!  Smile [:)]




Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.


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Re: french words that sound alike

Try pursing your lips,sticking your tongue up towards the roof of your mouth behind your top teeth, keeping your jaw rigid, and saying "eeee". That's the closes I can get to explaining what the "U" in "cul" should sound like.

Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: french words that sound alike

Ah, I see the difference now for cou and cul - one is oo and the other is eew (or something like.) I can make that sound. Watch the mouths of the french rugby team when they sing "MUgir ces féroces soldats".
And I think queue is short, coeur more rounded.

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Re: french words that sound alike

 Patf wrote:
Ah, I see the difference now for cou and cul - one is oo and the other is eew (or something like.) I can make that sound. Watch the mouths of the french rugby team when they sing "MUgir ces féroces soldats".
And I think queue is short, coeur more rounded.

Click on link then click little green arrow; listen to the chorus line; can be telecharged.Smile [:)]

http://mp3.kamaz.fr/tu-pues-du-cul-s31.html


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Re: french words that sound alike

I get the impression we don't really want to listen to that ppp Big Smile [:D]

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Re: french words that sound alike

This is quite funny Patf....queue and coeur do not come across as being difficult to pronounce when you are French but trying to differentiate :

Sheep and ship or paper and pepper.....is another story !......I could also add sheet and sh*t..........and that is after 26 years in the country....


Les voyages forment la jeunesse
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