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French C - Pronunciation with and without cedilla

French C

There exist three different ways to pronounce the French c, according to its place in the word.

Let’s see how to pronounce the letter c, with and without cedilla.

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The 3 ways to pronounce the letter c in French

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K sound

Pronounce the French c as in the English word (a car):

1. Before the vowels a, o and u.
2. Before a consonant.


Here are some examples:

la cour (the courtyard)



le sucre (the sugar)


S sound

Before the vowels e, i and y, pronounce the French c as in the English word (the sun).


une cerise (a cherry)



une racine (a root)


SH sound

In French, the letters ch or sch combine to form a unique sound. Pronounce them as in the English word (a tee-shirt).

Here is an example:


le chat (the cat)



The cedilla, ç

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We saw that the letter c was pronounced as a k in front of the vowels a, o and u.

But what if we want to get the s sound in front of these letters, instead?

Here comes 'la cédille' (the cedilla)!

The cedilla ç will transform the k sound into an s sound. It can only be used in front of the letters a, o and u.


la leçon (the lesson)



je suis déçu (I'm disappointed)



ça va? (are you OK?)



The French c at the end of a word

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If I had to write a rule about how to pronounce the French c at the end of a word, it would say:

At the end of a word

At the end of a word, the French c is usually pronounced as a k, except in words ending in anc and onc, where it is silent.
There are some exceptions, but if you apply this rule, you will be right nine times out of ten. And some practice will do the rest!

Here are some examples:

blanc (white)



un tronc (a tree trunk)



un sac (a bag)



le bec (the beak)



What about cc?

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Pronouncing the double consonant cc is a good exercice to practice the rules above.

The first c is pronounced as a k, because it comes before a consonant (the second c).

Then, the second c is pronounced as an s, before the vowels e, i and y, and as a k, before the vowels a, o and u.

Therefore, you will pronounce cc:

(Note that you will never find a double cc before another consonant.)

Here are two examples:

tu es occupé? (are you busy?)



l'accès (the access)



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