Liaisons in French – hear 3 liaisons in a real conversation

From the FluentListener newsletter

Hello All,
To help you with your listening habit: 2 minutes of listening today – play this sound 6 times.

To see today’s listening tips, scroll down. They are under the transcript.

For members: link to the full interview: Saint Exupéry and l’Aéropostale

Today’s listening comprehension tips

This one features an oft-heard expression: when a merchant has way too much inventory on hand, it’s not “sur la main” or but rather “sur les bras” (literally, “on the arms.”)

  • 3rd line and again on the 4th line of French: listen for the T in “est arrivé.” This is the liaison that helps the listener clearly identify the two separate words. (If there were no liaison, the sound of est arrivé would become éarrivé: mush in the mouth and likely to cause confusion when spoken quickly.) If you want to compare with T’s that are not spoken, compare to the following non-pronounced Ts:
    • line 1: il s’est retrouvé. The T in s’est does not need to be pronounced because there is no confusion possible: the R clearly marks the start of retrouvé.
    • line 6: il s’est donc retrouvé. Same reason: the D helps us clearly hear the start of the next word – donc.
    • line 7: il s’est dit. Again, no liaison because no risk of confusion: no matter how quickly a French person says ilsédi, a French listener will hear ‘il s’est dit.’
  • 4th line: listen for the T of vite. It is clear because of the pronunciation of the e at the end of the word. It is a bit clearer than the one at the end of the 3rd line, spoken by our reporter. The mistake you want to avoid is this: as an American, if I didn’t know better, I would tend to pronounce vite as veed. (Instead of pronouncing the T clearly, I would make a D sound and move on. That T needs to be heard.)
  • 7th line of French: notice the pronunciation of the T in dont : another liaison, helping us avoid an incomprehensible a string of vowel sounds.

Best regards,
David Tolman

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