Elision (French)


Elision (French)

In French, elision refers to the suppression of a final unstressed vowel (usually IPA| [ə] ) immediately before another word beginning with a vowel. The term also refers to the orthographic convention by which the deletion of a vowel is reflected in writing, and indicated with an apostrophe.

In written French, elision (both phonetic and orthographic) is obligatory for the following words:
*the definite articles "le" and "la"
**le garçon ("the boy"), la fille ("the girl")
**le + arbre → l'arbre ("the tree"), la + église → l'église ("the church")
*the subject pronouns "je" and "ce" (when they occur before the verb)
**Je dors. ("I sleep") Ce serait génial. ("That would be great.")
**J'ai dormi. ("I slept.") C'était génial. ("It was great.")
**but: Ai-je imaginé? ("Did I imagine?"), Est-ce utile? ("Is that useful?")
*the object pronouns "me", "te", "se", "le", and "la" (when they occur before the verb)
**Jean se rase, la voit, me téléphone. ("Jean shaves himself, sees her, phones me.")
**Jean s'est rasé, l'a vue, m'a téléphoné. ("Jean shaved himself, saw her, phoned me.")
**but: Regarde-le encore une fois. ("Look at him one more time.")
**(rare case of elision after the verb): Sortez-l'en. ("Take it out of there.")
*the negative marker "ne"
**Elle ne parle plus. ("She isn't talking anymore.")
**Elle n'arrête pas de parler. ("She won't stop talking.")
*the preposition "de"
**Le père de Jean vient de partir. ("Jean's father just left.")
**Le père d'Albert vient d'arriver. ("Albert's father just arrived.")
*"que" (which has many different functions)
**Que dis-tu ? Que Jean ne fait que manger. ("What are you saying? That Jean does nothing but eat.")
**Qu'as-tu dit ? Qu'il ne nous restait plus qu'une semaine. ("What did you say? That we only had one more week left.")

Elision is indicated in the spelling of some compound words: "presqu'île" (peninsula), "aujourd'hui" (today).

ee also

* Liaison (French)
* Elision — broader discussion of elision in other languages


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