Pick a language to speakRight Arrow
Ready to learn?
Pick a language to get started!

Hot Tip: Pronouncing The French ‘U’

On one hand, you’ve got ‘u.’ On the other, you’ve got ‘ou.’
Hot Tip: Pronouncing The French ‘U’

Learning French is one thing. Learning to pronounce it correctly is another. On one hand, it seems as though you can just ignore half the letters because a lot of them aren’t pronounced. On the other hand, subtle differences — like the one between the French u and the French ou — seem to matter a lot.

Babbel Live teacher Audrey admits that the French u sound is difficult to hear and pronounce for a lot of learners. Many of her students either use the English pronunciation of u or pronounce it the same way as ou, which can lead to misunderstandings.

To help her students, Audrey shows them where the difference between u and ou is physically in her mouth. Here is her quick guide to nailing the difference:

  • u: Lips in whistling position, tongue touching your bottom teeth
  • ou: Lips in whistling position, tongue at the bottom of your mouth

Looking for more tips like this from top language teachers?
Author Headshot
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

Recommended Articles

Hot Tip: Pronouncing The French ‘R’

Hot Tip: Pronouncing The French ‘R’

The R sound in French is, how should we put it…problematic.
How And When To Use French Modal Verbs

How And When To Use French Modal Verbs

Here’s a quick, practical guide for conjugating and using the three main modal verbs in French.
10 French Words You’ll Struggle To Pronounce (If You’re Not French)

10 French Words You’ll Struggle To Pronounce (If You’re Not French)

French pronunciation can be hard for non-native speakers, as this video proves. But don’t worry! We’ve got plenty of pronunciation tips to make it easier.