Liaison question, revisit



Hello All,

Let me apologize first for asking the liaison question. I read all of the questions and comments from as recent as 10 months ago to 6-7 yr ago; some applied and answered my questions. But one confused me, which was answered by Nathalie. The question was "il sont" but she misread or answered it as "ils sont"; hence her reply was that it should be pronounced as ss. What is ss sounded like or how do I pronounce ss in French? As in a GLASS of water? Her 2nd example was that if there was only one s then it should be pronounced as Z in liaison. The example she gave was ils ont. 

I am working on 3.6 Going Back In Time Part 1. I seemed to hear (I have terrible hearing problem not in the medical clinical sense) Claire pronouncing both ss and s as Z. For example "ils ont fini" and "elles sont allées"

My impression or misconception was that French speakers seem to liaise everything as if it were one long sentence without a break. For example: "il est allé" would sound like il-lest-tallé" (I don't know how to do the curvy line under the words to denote liaison). My example hardly qualified as a long sentence, the limitation of a beginner. :)
toru e

toru e

The liaison between «ils sont» and «ils ont» should sound different. In «ils sont», the s-s would produce a prolonged 'ss' sound [like a hiss, or a regular 's' sound in English like "song" or ("glass" is good too)]. In «ils ont», the s-o liaison would sound like 'zoh'.

Not all the words in a sentence are liaisoned (or "enchained") together, but pronoun-verb (or verb-pronoun) components are, so when you have a compound verb, you could also liaison all three components if you have a vowel-consonant situation (optional liaisons). For example: «Il est allé» is pronounced more like "il-es-tallé" (you're gliding that 't' over).

You're right in a sense, spoken French has a "wavy" pattern of vowel/consonant/vowel. For instance, when there's an instance of vowel-vowel, they sometimes stick a consonant for euphony, such as the 't' in «Y-a-t-il» or the 'l' in ou l'on.

Anyway, I don't know if you've already bookmarked these, but the page is pretty good:

Required liaisons:
Optional liaisons:
Forbidden liaisons:



Thanks again for the in depth explanation. I just got the hang of the t in y-a-t-il and now you throw me another curve ball, ou l'on. I understand the euphony but won't be using ou l'on any time soon.  

I do use the quite a bit plus the few others that you had recommended in the past. The woman who used to be the "tutor" at had left and started her own site called Lawless French (Laura K. Lawless); I find it way too advance for me but I bookmark it anyway. 

Now my job is to get rid of the notion and the bad habit that I liaise every word into one long word without stopping for air like il est allé, Haha

toru e

toru e

Haha, I know the feeling! I sheepishly admit that I had a group session recently with that pronunciation expert, Cheryl Demharter, who I had mentioned in another thread, and her one-word feedback for me was «enchaînement !» because I had a tendency to string everything together from beginning to end. :( 

So now, I'm working on that "wave" cadence, and "enchaining" only those words that are part of the same wave. Bon courage, mon ami ! C'est difficile de corriger des mauvaises habitudes qu'on ait accumulées au fil du temps.


First I have to apologize to Claire. Now that torusan had pointed out I clearly heard you said s liaison as z and NOT ss and s both as z. It's good to have the forum; it's like the one room school house of yesteryear when the older students could help the younger students. In this case age is not the issue but the time we started learning the language is.

I think, I posted too many to recall, reading is easier than imaginary speaking/conversing. Without the time factor to stress me out I understood what you said even though I haven't leaned many of the words you used and I had to look up corriger. Thank you for your help. I hope this helps you to strengthen your French by teaching/explaining. 

I like watching Cheryl Demharter on YouTube. She pursed and stretched her mouth to show how to get the right tone of the word; I find that very helpful. I am tone dead otherwise. 



Je suis désolée d'avoir répondu si tard mais j'ai dû prendre un peu de temps en raison de famille. And, there is absolutely nothing to apologize for, that is exactly what this forum is for. Not only for the tutors to help you but also for our members to help each other.

The liaisons can be tricky, especially because the rules aren't always followed to the tee but the more you listen the easier it gets.

Keep up the good work

   -   Marie-Claire

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