Liaisons in French
Liaisons in French – how do they work?
Liaisons make French really difficult to understand – what you read is not what you hear. A liaison is the change in pronunciation between a word that ends in an ordinarily silent consonant – or sometimes an H, and starts the word that immediately follows it. Not every French person uses liaisons, and not consistently. Using correct liaisons demonstrates a higher mastery of the French language.
There are only two kinds of liaisons in French you need to know about: compulsory liaisons and impossible liaisons.
This topic is really long, full of rules. My advice is that you start with one issue at a time. It seems that the shorter rules are the ones of impossible liaisons. Start with that, as it’s also better to not say a liaison than it is to say a wrong one. Then move on to the exceptions, to finish – if you still have energy if you still have energy – to the compulsory liaisons.
Most impossible liaisons can be grouped this way:
- After ET
- Before an aspirated H
- After compound tense
Most compulsory liaisons can be grouped according to the following:
- Between the determiner and its noun
- Between the pronoun and its verb or vice-versa
- After être in its conjugated form
- In a compound verb form (passé composé, pluperfect, and so on…)
- When the adjective is before the verb
- After most prepositions
Related: French H – pronunciation .