Il y a mille villes tranquilles comme Lille.
ee lyah meel veel trah-keel kum leel. Click below to hear this.
There are a thousand quiet cities like Lille.
I’ve told you about the “Yuck Rule”, right? If you click on this link, you can read all about it. That will tell you almost evereything you need to know about the pronunciation of the letter group ill.
But not quite all! Today’s post is about the exceptions.
Even though ill is normally pronounced /y/ (as in yuck!), those letters in the words above are not. The only /y/ sound in that sentence comes from the letter y in il y a. All the rest are pronounced /l/.
Don’t worry about whether Lille really is a ville tranquille. It’s probably not; most cities aren’t. But it’s a catchy phrase that you should memorize to help you remember which words are the exceptions. There aren’t many of them, and here you have four in a single sentence.
It’s a good thing Lille is pronounced /leel/, by the way. The people who live there are called des Lillois, pronounced /day lee-LWAH/. If they lived in /LEE-yuh/, you would have to call them /day lee-YWAH/. That /yw/ combo just doesn’t have what it takes.