Tu appuies sur le déclic de l’appareil.

Tu appuies sur le déclic de l’appareil.

tew aa-pwee sewr luh day-kleek duh laa-paa-YAYuh. Click below to hear this.*

You press the button on the camera.

And that’s how you take a photo with this camera: so simple!

The French, on the other hand, is full of booby traps. Appuyer, the infinitive, is the trickiest. It’s another case where the letter y is used as a hinge between syllables. But when we conjugate the verb in the present tense, for example, some forms have a silent ending. In those cases, the y becomes an i because there is no need for a hinge–just a simple vowel. So, dividing the infinitive into syllables as it is pronounced, we get /aa-pwee-YAY/.

But when we are dividing it into syllables as it is spelled, we get ap-pui-ier. The y becomes ii!

Even the meaning is a trap. You have to say appuyer sur, not just appuyer. You press on something; you don’t just press it.

The rest is much easier. Le déclic is a button you push that makes a clicking sound, and it is also that sound. And un appareil is a device in general, but a camera specifically. Not a video camera, though; that’s une caméra vidéo.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:



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