French Alphabet

French letters

The French alphabet is just one of the main building blocks of the French language. Read on to discover this alphabet, as well as the appropriate pronunciations.

The French Alphabet

While it's true that one can learn a foreign language conversationally, some students prefer to have a healthy grasp of the language. That's where the French alphabet comes in handy. The letters of the French alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and are actually the same letters as the English, however these 26 letters are pronounced quite differently in French. Peruse the chart below to see:

The Alphabet
English French English French English French
A ah J zhee S ess
B beh K kah T teh
C seh L ell U ooh
D deh M em V veh
E uh N en W doo-blah-veh
F effe O oh X eeks
G zheh P peh Y ee-grek
H ahsh Q koo Z zed
I ee R air n/a n/a

Learning and Listening to French

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult aspects of French is the actual pronunciation of the French alphabet and the words and phrases that contain them. To that end, Bonjour.com has various sections devoted to the language. Here, the user simply clicks on a letter, a phrase or a question, hits the "play" sign on the screen, and can immediately hear the correct pronunciation of letters and key phrases. Bonjour's sections are divided into:

  • Greetings and Courtesies
  • Alphabet, Numbers, Days, Months and Seasons
  • Question Words, Quantities, Weather and Time
  • Asking for Help, Emergencies
  • Banks, Taxis and Restaurants.

There are also several more categories that range from touring and socializing to famous expressions.

Loquella

Loquella, whose slogan is "Learn without Borders", truly embodies this concept with over thirty hours of free listening instruction. This gem of a site allows the user to customize their lessons or to start at the very beginning and follow through the very end of the instruction. While it may take a bit of navigating, once you find the French listening tool, you'll be well on your way!

The first lesson begins with a teacher greeting the class and welcoming the students. Everything is said in French, and once the key phrase is given by the teacher, the student is prompted to repeat in kind. For example:

  • Ne lisez pas: Don't read
  • Je ne vous entends pas: I can't hear you
  • Je ne vous comprends pas: I don't understand you

These simple phrases kick off the lesson and they gradually become more difficult with time. The "Customize" section of Loquella offers four options:

  • Option 1: This is the default option (it will run automatically if no other option is selected) that provides all the lessons in a pre-assigned order.
  • Option 2: With this option, one can elect to hear the audio portion of the lesson first, and read the sentences after.
  • Option 3: Here, one can read the English sentence first and hear and view the foreign language section second.
  • Option 4: The final option allows the user to hear the audio and foreign language sentence first, and view the English translation second.

Speak 7

Speak 7 is another online too that can help to improve a student's pronunciation of the alphabet. Here, the site walks the user through the alphabet, but reach letter contains a tip. For example, next to the letter "A" is the tip: A as in the word "ask" and never as in the world "able". These tips are especially helpful for understanding whether a long vowel sound or a short vowel sound is appropriate.

Resources for Children

Children usually love learning different languages, and because they are still young, their brains are pre-wired to "soak up" as much new information as possible. Some research even suggests that knowing more than one language can actually help one improve their verbal and written skills in their native language. With so many advantages, is it any wonder that parents encourage their children to learn other languages?

While it's true that some children love learning, all children have the capacity to become bored and this can instantly squash their progress. To combat this boredom, consider the trusty old flashcard to keep their interest piqued.

Flashcards, whether words, or pictures, have long been used in classrooms around the world. A great learning technique, these cards often contain words, numbers or pictures, and because they are fun, they are usually easy to memorize.

French flashcards work in a similar manner. For example, a card may contain the drawing of a car. Under that car, reads the French translation for that object voiture. In this manner, learning and speaking French will quickly become second nature to most youngsters!

For Additional Information

For more information on any of these previewed online sites, or to purchase French flashcards, click on any one of the highlighted resources below:

French Alphabet