Homophones in French are confusing when learning a foreign language. Although while we are all aware that they are a component of all languages, including our own, they can be inconvenient when we lack the context that native speakers do.
We’ve all had that embarrassing scenario where we mean to say one thing, but end up saying something quite different. The solution to this is to become familiar with frequent French homophones and French homonyms.
What’s A Homophone?
Homophones are words that share a similar sound but have distinct spellings. The words “know” and “no,” “write” and “right,” and “two” and “too” are a few instances in English.
They are plentiful because French is known for using more silent consonants than English. If you’ve spent much time studying verb conjugations, you’ve undoubtedly already noticed that several of them have distinct spellings but the same pronunciation.
For example, the most common error is et and est
Click on the picture to learn more
What’s A Homonym?
Words with the same spelling or sound but different meanings are referred to as homonyms.
Examples in English that you are likely familiar with are bat (the animal) and bat (the striking tool), tree bark and dog bark, and kind (the sort of) and kind (caring and compassionate). There are certain French homonyms that are comparable to English ones. For instance, orange is both a fruit and a color. Moreover, both languages use the same word for them.
Memorising Homophones in French
The key to avoiding word muddles is developing a strong vocabulary in French. You won’t be able to avoid simple memorizing exercises.
Physical or digital flashcards are a time-tested, tried-and-true technique that is especially effective for groups of homophones. Making a set of cards with the homophones’ matching terms on one side and their explanations on the other is a smart idea. You can then remember how the context differs.
You may also create illustrations and underline the spelling variations if that helps. It’s entertaining to practice pronouncing these words aloud with French tongue twisters.
You may also use one of my games to help practice. Click on the picture to learn more about the game.
While speaking French, how can you distinguish between similar-sounding words?
As you would in your own tongue: with context cues.
This is crucial since the s at the end of words is frequently silent, making it difficult to distinguish between a noun’s single and plural forms by hearing alone.
The degree of subject-verb agreement and more frequent use of articles in French might be laborious for English speakers, but they can help you out.
One of the most common error with the grammatical homophones is also son as opposed to sont
I have also created games with Google Forms so it is self-grading
A List of French Homophones
These are some fascinating and typical French homophones. Although by no means comprehensive, this list contains vocabulary that are pertinent for the average intermediate-level French learner. Do not feel compelled to memorize them all at once. Start with the ones that give you the most trouble first.
I invite you to look at my bundles (either BOOM CARDS or GOOGLE SLIDES) to help you practice grammatical homophones. You will get a full set of games to work all homophones in French.
If you’d rather focus on lexical homophones then you can grab this bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers
All the links provided will redirect you to Teachers Pay Teachers but you can choose to buy on my own website if you wish and enjoy a discount of 50% on everything with the promo code OPEN22
Thanks for reading me and hope I can help you with the teaching of homophones in French !