French pronunciation: the letter C

Here are some handy tips for pronouncing the letter C in French

Kieran Ball
The Happy Linguist

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There are two different ways to pronounce the letter C in French:

1. Like a K
2. Like an S

C + A / O / U = K

The letter C is pronounced like a K when it is in front of the letters A, O or U.

café (kah-feh)
concombre (kon-kom-breugh)
curiosité (koo-ree-oh-see-teh)

C + E / I = S

The letter C is pronounced like an S when it is in front of the letters E or I.

c’est (seh)
garçon (gar-son(g))
façade (fah-sad)

The Ç cedilla

If you put a cedilla (the little squiggle) on a letter C, it will change it from a K sound to an S sound. So, “ç” is always pronounced like an S.

ça (sah)
concombre (kon-kom-breugh)
curiosité (koo-ree-oh-see-teh)

Let’s practise

How do you pronounce these French words correctly?

  1. carottes

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Kieran Ball
The Happy Linguist

Teacher and creator of 3 Minute Languages — a series of books and online courses that help you to learn a foreign language quickly and easily www.3minute.club