les accents

The acute accent (´), l'accent aigu, and the grave accent (`), l'accent grave, are used to indicate the quality of the vowel sound represented by the letter e.

A. Listen to each example and repeat.

é /e/
è /ɛ/

When used with letters other than e, the accent grave does not indicate a sound difference but serves to distinguish different words which have the same spelling but different meanings.

ou (or)   où (where)
la date (the date)   là (there)
il y a (there is/are)   à l'heure (on time)

The circumflex (ˆ), l'accent circonflexe, arose historically as a marker for vowels which were followed by another letter (usually s) in an earlier state of the language:

être (<estre)   hôtel (<hostel)   forêt (<forest)   plaît (<plaist)

The cedilla (ç), la cédille, is used only with the letter c to indicate the sound /s/ when it is followed by the letters a, o, or u:

Ça va? /sa/   cahier /ka/

The cedilla is not used with the letters e and i:

Ce   merci
c'est   ici

The dieresis (¨), le tréma, is used with vowels to indicate that they are pronounced separately from a preceding vowel:

Noël   naïf   Loïc

B.  Placez les accents.   What accents are missing in these words from the vocabulary list of Chapter 1?
 Answers ...

  1. Vous etes d'ou?
  2. À tout a l'heure.  À bientot.
  3. Je me presente.
  4. C'est un etudiant.
  5. Ca va?
  6. Il est ingenieur.  Elle est medecin.
  7. C'est une fenetre.
  8. Repetez, s'il vous plait.