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USAGE: French nasal vowels

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Friday, October 9, 1998, 13:58
Christophe Grandsire wrote:

> I must agree with Mathias (I don't even find any difference between > 'en' and 'in',
There is none, except of course that "chien" is /SjE~/ and "brin" is /bRE~/; in other words, there is a /j/ glide in "chien" that is not present in "brin".
> I know it's done in Portuguese, but when I try to speak it, I > must spend at least a minute in order to give my mouth the correct > articulation).
Sure. Portuguese has a genuine [i~] which does not exist in French; French has only [E~], [O~], and [A~] plus marginally [oe~].
> It also reminds me of a strange adventure of mine. I realized just > some months ago that when I was younger, I made a real difference between > 'un' and 'in' (I really made a difference between 'brun' (brown) and 'brin' > (I don't know the word in English))
> but I lost it and now can hear the > difference, but have difficulties to say it. Is it a consequence of the > evolution of French?
Almost certainly. The vowel /oe~/ as in "brun" is disappearing from the language and will probably be gone in 30-40 years as older speakers die off, making "brin" and "brun" exactly the same. There are almost no minimal pairs anyhow. (This may not apply to Canadian French, I don't know.) -- John Cowan You tollerday donsk? N. You tolkatiff scowegian? Nn. You spigotty anglease? Nnn. You phonio saxo? Nnnn. Clear all so! 'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)