Dem Vowels is Tough

Here it is Christmas Eve and I’m working on my Rosetta Stone French course.

What can I say? It keeps me amused.

Tomorrow I’m spending the day with a friend and we’re cooking some of our favorite things for dinner: leg of lamb, macaroni and cheese, corn bread and sweet potato cake. Not your traditional Christmas dinner but one we’re both excited about making and eating.

I wasn’t going to post anything to my blog this weekend but I had a revelation while using my French course.

The reason French has such unique sound is that the words have so many vowels in them. When there are consonants, they are often silent.

Look at this sentence:

Le voiture rouge est neuve.

Or this one:

Le voiture jaune est vielle.

Both sentences have more vowels than consonants.

The “est” is pronouced like a long “a” as in cake. Since I studied Spanish I’m always saying est like “best” without the “b.”

With only the “a” sound and no “st” it makes for a lot of sounds made with the mouth open. That’s going to take some getting used to.

The vowels often blend together. The end result is that to a person used to English spelling and pronounciation, the sentences sound nothing like they look. Of course to a Frenchman, they sound exactly as the are written.

When I speak French I remind myself of Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther movies.