French Pronunciation and…Squirrels? Posted by Elizabeth Schmermund on Mar 19, 2018 in Vocabulary
We all know that French pronunciation can be difficult (but not impossible!) for English speakers to master. The French “r” is particularly difficult, for example. But, according to legend, there is one word that the French themselves used during World War II to discover non-French spies…écureuil, which means “squirrel.”
The word écureuil (nm) rhymes with the word feuille (nf), or “leaf,” and accueil (nm), or “welcome.” Whenever you see an –euil or –eil ending in French, make sure you’re not pronouncing the “l” at the end. Rather, it will sound like an “oy” (like, “Oy, that really hurt!”). So, the correct pronunciation of écureuil would be something like EC-CUR-ROY. Notice that that difficult French “r” is in there, too.
If you really want some practice, try reading out loud this short poem by Maurice Carême:
L’Écureuil et la feuille
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