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How To Pronounce “Les États-Unis” (United States) In French

How To Pronounce “Les États-Unis” (United States) In French

In French, the word for “United States” is États-Unis (pronounced aytaz-yunee). At first glace, this pronunciation looks quite easy. However, things become complicated quickly when we want to say either “the” United States, “to the” or “from the” United States. This post will cover these pronunciations in depth.


United States

Les États-Unis Pronunciation

How to pronouce “les États-Unis”

In French, country names always take a definite article. For the United States, the definite article is les, the plural of “the”.

Thus, the complete word for “the United States” is: Les États-Unis. To pronounce this properly, the liaison (linking of two words) must occur on the first and second s, causing them to sound like a Z sound. Hence, here’s how everything looks with the liaison.

Les(z) Étas(z)-Unis

In French, the word for “America” is l’Amerique.



Hence, the compete name of the United States of America in French is: Les États-Unis d’Amérique.

Les(z) Étas(z)-Unis d’Amérique

the United States of America

“États-Unis” pronunciation with prepositions

In French, to express “I’m going to the United States”, you say Je vais aux États-Unis. The verb for “to go” is aller. Here, the aux is a contraction of à (preposition meaning to or at) with les (definite aritcle, plural of le).

To pronounce aux États-Unis, two liaisons must occur: one on the x and another on the first s. Both sound like z. Hence, aux(z) États(z)-Unis.

Je vais aux(z) États(z)-Unis.

I’m going to the United States

Use the same construction for “I live in the United States”: J’habite aux États-Unis.

To express “I come from the United States” (or I’m from the Unisted States) say, Je viens des États-Unis. For des États-Unis, two liaisons occur: des(z) États(z)-Unis. Venir means “to come” in French.

Je viens des(z) États(z)-Unis.

I come from the United States.

États-Unis example


Et voilà! Now you know how to pronounce États-Unis in French. For some more fun French pronunciation lessons, check out our posts covering the word croissant and famous wine names.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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