Learn the French Alphabet

By OptiLingo

Learn the French alphabet and perfect your French accent with the right French pronunciation.

The alphabent is a great place to start when learning any foreign language. The French alphabet, also spelled “alphabet” in French, consists of 26 letters. It is similar to the English alphabet, with a few minor exceptions. In this section on the French alphabet, we’ll walk you through those differences so you can master the French alphabet and French pronunciation quickly and easily.

In this section, we’ll be covering the French alphabet. For anyone who already understands English, learning the French alphabet should be a breeze.

Summary of the French Alphabet

Letter

Name

Pronounced as

А а

Ah

Short a – like father

В в

Bay

B – like bee

C c

Say

Hard S when before e, i or y – like hiss

Hard C when before a, o, or u – like can

D d

Day

D – like day

E e

Er

Ur or Er – like burner

F f

Eff

F – like fog

G g

Shay

Su when before e, i or y – like measure

Hard G when before a, o, or u – like gate

H h

Ash

Silent – like hour

I i

Ee

Ea – like teacher

J j

Shee

Su – like measure

K k

Car

K – like kin

L l

Ell

L – like lost

M m

Emm

M – like mine

N n

Enn

N – like none

O o

Oh

Short O – like “shot”

Long O – like “fort”

P p

Pay

P – like post

Q q

Coo

K – like kin

R r

Air

Soft sound made by pushing air through the back of your throat

S s

Ess

 

S when starting a word or when doubled (ss) – like sit

Z in the middle of a word – like amaze

T t

Tay

T – like ton

U u

Ooo

Tight-lipped e – form oo with your lips and say the letter e

V v

Vay

V – like voice

W w

Doobla-vay

V – like voice

W – like water

X x

Ix

KS or X – like socks or exit

Y y

Ee-grek

Ea – like leap

Z z

Zed

Z – like zip

ç

NA

Cedilla – français

Only before a, o or u

S – like sit

è

NA

Grave accent – fièvre

E – like bet

é

NA

Accute accent – éléphant

É – like café

ê

NA

Circumflex – être

E – like bet

ë

NA

Diaeresis – Noël

E – like bet

ô

NA

Circumflex –chômage

Long O – like short

ù

NA

Grave accent – où

Only used with an o (où)

OO – like football

û

NA

Circumflex –dû

Tight-lipped e – form oo with your lips and say the letter e

ü

NA

Diaeresis –aigüe

Tight-lipped e – form oo with your lips and say the letter e

à

NA

Grave accent – là

Short A – like father

â

NA

Circumflex – gateau

Long A – like garden

î

NA

Circumflex – île

EA – like teacher

ï

NA

Diaeresis –maïs

EA – like teacher

Voiced and Unvoiced Consonants

Within the French language, consonants may be voiced or unvoiced. The difference here is also simple: voiced consonants are made by vibrating your vocal chords, while unvoiced consonants do not require any such vibration.

In French voiced consonants and sounds are used with the letters, B, D, G, J, L, M, N, R, V, and Z. (All vowels are voiced.) The unvoiced consonants are CH, F, K, P, S, and T. These two groups form pairs because you pronounce them with the same position of the mouth and tongue as each other. The difference is whether you vibrate your vocal cords when you say them.

Voiced

J

V

G

B

Z

D

Unvoiced

CH

F

K

P

S

T