In the final part of this five part series on pronouncing the 5 hardest sounds in the French accent we will confront one of the stranger nuances.
Part 5: [w] and [ɥ]
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the “w” related sounds in French.
[w] as in oui and moi - this is straightforward, like a very short [u] sound with the tongue all the way back
[ɥ] as in huit and lui - this is subtly different, like a very short [y] sound with the tongue all the way forward
You can hear the difference in the words Louis and lui:
Louis is flatter and longer, with the tongue at the back of the mouth
Lui is sharper and shorter, with the tongue at the front of the mouth
An example sentence: Oui, je suis moi
This sentence features both sounds in turn: [w]i, je s[ɥ]i m[w]i
As promised throughout the series, here is the sound file that you can play and hear all five sounds being spoken in turn. Work on copying the voice and you will soon start to develop your own French accent that will win you compliments and praise for how convincing you sound. If you’re lucky