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Posts Tagged ‘ça’

In the video from entry #961, we heard pas de chat (three syllables) pronounced as pas d’chat (two syllables).

There are two things to look at here from pas d’chat.

In spoken language, de can contract to just a d sound even before a consonant. In pas d’chat, first say pas with a d sound on the end of it, then say chat.

If you can adopt this, you’ll make your French sound a little more natural.

Try saying these, but when you do, contract the de as was done in pas d’chat:

pas de temps
pas de nouvelles
pas de question
pas de problème
pas de compte

The second thing to point out is the vowel sound in pas and chat. Listen again if you have to. The way the vowel is pronounced in these two words is used frequently in the French of Québec. You’ll hear it at the end of these words, for example: bas, cas, cadenas, and sometimes in ça and là.

Why only sometimes in ça and and not always?

We looked at the two different pronunciations of ça and here.

In the following examples, ça rhymes with pas and chat from the Martin Matte video in #961:

j’aime ça
c’est quoi ça?
fais pas ça!

But in the next examples, where ça is the subject, it sounds like the possessive adjective sa (like in sa maison):

ça s’peut pas
ça fait mal
ça commence

As for là, it rhymes with pas and chat from the Martin Matte video in #961 when used like this:

j’aime ça, là
je sais pas, là
pis là, chu parti
viens t’en là, là!
là, chu tanné!

But when is joined to an adverb with a hyphen, it sounds like the definite article la (like in la maison):

là-dedans
là-dessus
là-dessous, etc.

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A reader of OffQc asks how to pronounce because he’s been hearing two pronunciations of it. In fact, it’s not just that has two pronunciations but also ça. Let’s look at how they’re pronounced in this post.

(Below, IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. In French, it’s called the alphabet phonétique international, or API.)

What are the two ways that is pronounced?

1. la (or [la] in IPA)
Rhymes with ma, ta, sa.

2.  (or [lɑ] in IPA)
Rhymes with bas, cas, pas.

In là-dessus, là-dessous, là-dedans, etc. (where is joined by a hyphen to an adverb), it’s pronounced the first way — like [la].

Elsewhere, is pronounced the second way — like [lɑ]. In the following, is pronounced [lɑ]: Moi là, j’pense que… Pis là, y’est parti. Je sais pas, là! C’est juste là, devant toi.

ÇA

Ça also has two pronunciations. What are they?

1. ça (or [sa] in IPA)
Rhymes with ma, ta, la.

2. çâ (or [] in IPA)
Rhymes with bas, cas, pas.

When ça is used as a subject, it’s pronounced the first way — like [sa]. Ça fait mal. Ça s’peut pas! Ça commence aujourd’hui.

Elsewhere, ça is pronounced the second way — like []. C’est ça qui est ça! Pourquoi t’as fait ça? Quand ça? J’aime pas ça. C’est comme ça.

We can continue looking at this in future posts.

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