French OU

Pere Casanellas pere.casanellas at
Sat Jan 26 04:44:41 EST 2002

This pronuntiation of Ou-a-ga-dou-gou seems to me rather strange. "Oui" or 
"Ouais!" is pronounced in French in one syllable according to what all we 
know and to Grevisse and Dict. Lexis  (Larousse). "Ouaouron" is pronounced 
[wawar..], that is to say, three syllables, according to Lexis...

Pere Casanellas

t 09:48 26/01/2002 +0100, you wrote:
>Peter Kirk wrote:
> >But in foreign names transcribed in French "ou" can be a consonant like
> >English "w".
>I don't think so Peter : we then use W or V.
>A few french vowels present nuances in their pronunciation, but it is not
>the case of the OU sound.  This is why a dieresis is needed over the "u" in
>the Hebrew grammarian's name Jouon, as you note. Joüon is a very good
>example, the dieresis being there to prevent pronouncing as always those
>"ou" together in one single sound.  The exact pronunciation is Jo-u-on, and
>I'm not even sure of the existence of this plain french "u" sound in
>English.  Perhaps when you import our "point de vue"...
>For more info, you may consult the first chapters of the great classic
>Maurice Grevisse _Le bon usage_, Gembloux : Duculot, 1975 (numerous editions
>since);  1322 p.
> >How many syllables are there in Ouagadougou (capital of
> >Burkina Faso)?
>Five syllables in  Ou-a-ga-dou-gou, when pronounced... in France ! As for
>the exact local sound, we'd better ask a Burkinabe.
>Camille Bessette
>Carmel de Lisieux / France
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