Orthographic, grapho-phonological, and morphological characteristics
of written words from French elementary textbooks


Phonetic codes

A standard code has been created to refer to the phonetic symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Equivalency between IPA symbols and the database standard code is provided below.

Two important points need to be considered:

• Dash '#' is used to tag a silent grapheme in correspondences (e. g.,  't' at the end of 'fort', 'p' in the word 'baptême', 'e' at the end of 'fée' and 'année' are all silent graphemes).

• Distinction between the different cases of 'e' (silent or pronounced)

- Compulsory schwa: 'e' coded '%'. In French, schwa in words is pronounced in three cases. 1) At the end of a word, when located after a consonant cluster of increasing sonority: occlusive or fricative followed by /l/ or /R/ (e. g., 'souple', 'chèvre'); 2) In the middle of a word, when located both after a consonant cluster and before a consonant (i.e. the three consonants rule), as in 'appartement' or 'vendredi'; 3) In the first syllable of a word whenever its deletion would lead to the creation of a phonotactically illegal consonant cluster as in 'renard', 'leçon' or 'ceci' (/rn/, /ls/ and /ss/ are phonotactically illegal consonant clusters in French).

- Silent 'e' coded '#': 'e' is always silent after a vowel, when it marks a morphological inflection (as in 'amie') or not (as in 'foie').

- Optional schwa: 'e' coded '°' in all other cases.

IPA Code Examples IPA Code Examples
Oral Vowels   Consonants    
i i iris, vie, lys Stop consonants  
u u ours, loup p p pin, loupe, appel
y y une, lune t t terre, vite, attaque
e e égal, nez k k col, accord,qui, coq, kilo
ɛ E lève, aile, jouet b b brosse, cube
a a adulte, table d d danse, aide, addition
ɑ A âne, âge g g gare, guide, bague, toboggan
ɔ O sol, bol Fricative consonants  
o o hôte, eau, jaune f f foule, affaire, phare
ø 2 deux, œufs s s sol, ce, tasse, science, garçon
œ 9 neuf, œuf, sœur  ʃ  S chat, vache
ə  % table, ceci v v vent, rêve
  ° gare, gobelet z z zéro, rose
  # amie, lycée, gaiement ʒ Z jeudi, gel, bourgeon
Nasal Vowels   Nasal consonants  
ɔ͂ § on, ombre m m main, femme
ɑ̃ @ antique, tente, septembre n n nage, laine, panne
ɛ͂ 5 cinq, bain, chien, plein ɲ N ligne, peigne, ognon
œ͂ 1 un, lundi, parfum ŋ G parking, ring
Semi-Vowels   Other consonants  
j j lieu, paye, paille, fille l l lune, aller, pull
w w oie, fois, loin, western ʀ R rue, air, arrière
ɥ 8 huit, lui, nuit