Two questions that I’m frequently asked and that you may be wondering yourself are:
- What are the informal pronunciations of je suis?
- Can I use these informal pronunciations myself?
In this entry, I’ll share with you three informal pronunciations of je suis. I’ll also make a recommendation to you about your own use of them as a learner of French. When you get to higher levels of French, you’ll know when you can disregard these suggestions. These suggestions, then, are for those of you who are still at lower levels in French.
First, the non-informal pronunciation
- je suis
This is the regular conjugation, and the one felt to be the most “correct.” It’s pronounced in two distinct syllables: je / suis. It’s always “safe” for you to use je suis, but it risks sounding stilted in regular conversations.
The informal pronunciations
- j’suis (chui)
- j’sus (chu)
- j’t’ (cht)*
* used on occasion when the following word begins with a vowel (e.g., je suis en train de may be pronounced informally as j’t’en train de, which sounds like ch’t’en train de)
Informally, you can use either j’suis (chui) or j’sus (chu) yourself. Be prepared though — some people may feel the need to tell you that j’sus (chu) is wrong. If this bothers you, you can stick with j’suis (chui) informally.
For the most part, there shouldn’t be any problem if you use j’sus (chu) yourself in informal situations, such as with francophone friends. It may strike some people as a little “off,” however, to hear a learner of French who still speaks hesitatingly to use the informal pronunciation j’sus (chu).
You can always use je suis yourself, but know that it risks sounding a little stilted in regular conversations. J’sus (chu) is the usual informal pronunciation, but some speakers may feel the need to call you out on it (especially if you speak French hesitatingly) in an attempt to make sure you learn “correct” French. For learners of French who are just beginning to get their feet wet in informal language, j’suis (chui) might be a good compromise.