Why did we call our blog “Spk Frnch”? So you can say this!
Je voudrais acheter une voyelle.
zhuh voo-DRAY ash-TAY ewn vwah-YELL.
I’d like to buy a vowel.
Believe it or not, this phrase–made popular by the TV guessing game “Wheel of Fortune”–is one of the most useful phrases you’ll learn on this blog. For starters, any time you need something, you can ask for it by saying “Je voudrais….” It’s the polite way to ask. If you studied a little French, you may have learned to say “Je veux….” But that’s a little like yelling I WANT!
And vowels are just as important to French as to English. Did you know that in French, every syllable ends with a vowel if it’s at all possible? Exceptions are made for double consonants, certain groups of consonants, and so on. That’s called an “open syllable”. Consonants are like fences; they prop up and close off a syllable, make things sound more choppy.
We have the same difference in English: try comparing the sound a sheep makes–“baa”–with a word like “back”. Or “my” and “mike”. See how the consonant sound shuts off the vowel sound? Those open syllables are one of the reasons why so many people say they love the sound of French. Vowel sounds “carry”. They are more audible, and more melodious than consonant sounds.
More trivia: The French Scrabble® game has one vowel tile more than the English game (counting Y as a vowel). Do you know which vowel is the most commonly used in both languages?