Spoken French: what does ‘Skuh’ mean?

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct Link for members : (La Fleuriste – download recordings and transcript/translation here)

Hello All,

Some people hear a ‘skuh’ sound and write it off as noise, but fluent listeners hear ‘parce que.’
After today, you’ll recognize parce que instead of just hearing noise.

Play this sound 8 times and learn to recognize parce que in a spoken sentence.
I hope you enjoy it!

French Listening Comprehension - parce que
French Listening Comprehension – parce que

Advanced listening tips:

Today’s sample illustrates what we mean by the ‘minimum recognizable sound.’ A native speaker speaking to a native listener is not going to burden themselves with pronouncing everything. Instead, they’ll pronounce the minimum amount of sounds necessary to convey the meaning clearly.

And decoding those sounds comes easily: try repeated exposure to 2 or 3 recordings over the course of a month.

This may be hard for you to swallow? D’yawannaglassawader?

If you worry that they are dropping sounds just to annoy you, here is something to re-assure you. Did you notice the P in puisque? It’s quick, but it is there. And the reason is to avoid confusion with a rapidly-spoken parce que. It’s proof that the native speaker goes to the minimum recognizable sound but knows what to maintain in order to avoid confusion.

Best regards,
David Tolman

4 thoughts on “Spoken French: what does ‘Skuh’ mean?”

  1. I think that if you hadn’t pointed out the “parce que” I would have just filled in the “breath” sound with a word that made the most sense. Either that, or, realize that I don’t need to hear every word to get context. I might highlight the words I needed to capture for the context…and hope that I’d heard them!

  2. no matter how many times I have listened, I do not hear the skuh. But my ears and brain pick up the word “si” instead.

    Love these training sessions.


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