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GN Sound

One baffling sound for students of the French language to pronounce is the “gn” sound. This sound corresponds to the ñ (enye) in Spanish. When lots of students see these letters in French they’re tempted to say something like ‘gnuh’ as in I’m ‘gunna’ go. However, that’s not the right way to pronounce these letters.

My friend Alexa over at has a wonder technique for pronouncing this sound correctly. She suggests to pronounce it like the English “knee”. Then, she goes on to give the example of onion, or “oignon” in French.

Alexa goes on to offer lots of great examples of words with the gn sound including la montagne (mountain), le rossignol (the nightingale), le champignon (the mushroom), mignon (cute), le compagnon (companion), l’araignée (spider), l’agneau (lamb), le peigne (the comb), la baignoire (the bathtub) and many more.

Listen and repeat until you’ve mastered the sound! Bonne chance! 🙂

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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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