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O Sound

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One of the single hardest sounds to pronounce in French is the “O” sound. While this would seem very easy at first due to the straight forward nature of the sound (not complicated like other sounds such as the nasty ‘eur’), it’s hard to pronounce. This is due to the non-native speaker’s tendency to pronounce the “O” in French as if he or she were speaking his or her native language.

What I mean by this is taking the word, “opinion” for example, and saying “l’opinion” in French but using the English “uh” sound for the “O”. This is the first think I explain in the video.

Then, I go through several words which start with the letter “O”. Almost all of these words are the same in both English and French. The key thing that I’m trying to emphasize is that you must pronounce the “O” sound like “Oh” in French and not the “Uh” in English while staying the word in French. Here’s the list of words I gave in the video.

l’orange = orange
l’opportunité = opportunity
l’opposé = opposite
l’origine = origine
l’hotage = hostage
olympique = Olympic
l’objet = object
occupé = occupied
optimiser = to optimise
objectif = objective
l’oncle = uncle
l’omelette = omelette

I included both words that start with “O” and words that have an “O” within the them.

Florence (female name)
encore = again
global = global
le décor = décor
le roman = novel
phonétique = phonetic
le fromage = cheese
stoïque = stoic

Finally, I spent a few minutes discussing the words notre (our) and votre (your) as many students have difficulties pronouncing these words. Again, it’s important to pronounce the “O’s” in these words with the “Oh” sound.

I hope this short video lesson has helped. If you’d still struggling or would like some personalized help please sign up for a trial Skype lesson at no cost. Also, I must suggest to use an online course such as Rocket French as they offer a fantastic pronunciation tool.

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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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