French Word Spellings that don’t Reflect their Pronunciation

Once you’ve learned the general rules for French spelling and pronunciation, like not pronouncing the final letter of words, you may find that it’s generally consistent except for certain cases like the following.

Example 1

French femme

IPA /fam/

English translation: woman; wife

N.B. Anglophone learners of the French language are tempted to pronounced the word as /fem/.

Example 2

French monsieur

IPA /məsjø/

English translation: gentleman

N.B. There’s no r sound at the end of the French word monsieur.

Example 3

French rhum

IPA /ʀɔm/

English translation: rum

Example 4

French maximum

IPA /maksimɔm/

English translation: maximum

N.B. There is no u sound at the end of the French word maximum, just like its English equivalent.

Example 5

French minimum

IPA /minimɔm/

English translation: minimum

N.B. This example is like the previous example.

Example 6

French democratie

IPA /demɔkʀasi/

English translation: democracy

N.B. There’s no t sound at the end of the French word democratie, just like its English equivalent.

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