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Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.
November 19, 2008 9:46 PM   Subscribe

How do you pronounce "Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point?"

I don't know French at all and thus have no idea how to pronounce this. And even if I got the IPA pronunciation of each word, I think I'd kill myself.

Care to spell it out phonetically, or record your awesome French for me?

Merci.
posted by disillusioned to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Le coor ah say rayzah, kuh la rayzah nuh connay pwah?

I don't know how to correctly describe phonetic spelling, but that seems right to me
posted by purenitrous at 9:49 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


To clarify on the post by purenitrous:

Luh coor ah say raySOH, kuh lah raySOH nuh COHnay pwah.
posted by jschu at 10:03 PM on November 19, 2008


To pronounce the oe sound, shape your lips as if you were going to say 'O' and say ee instead.

I'd modify purenitrous' pronunciation a bit by putting a slight "n" sound at the end of "raison(s)" and "point". It's almost like a soft grunt. So, ray-ZHOH(n). "Point" should be inflected upward at the end, just like when you ask a question in English.

I don't have a mic, maybe someone who does can upload an mp3 to divshare or such.
posted by desjardins at 10:07 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's an audio dictionary - I didn't check to see if all the words were in it.
posted by desjardins at 10:12 PM on November 19, 2008


Luh (clipped and short) core ah say rayzons, oh nevermind. purenitrous has a decent phonetic. But, the second raisin should have a bit more elongated ray.
posted by ktrey at 10:23 PM on November 19, 2008


If you're American, you'll probably sprawl those vowels and dipthongs. Try speaking with slightly more pursed lips and a tighter mouth than usual.

So adapting jschu's and purenitrous 's transcriptions, and adding in desjardins' reminder of the soft, nasal, barely voiced "n", try something like:

Le ["loo" is too loose; think fish, not cow] cuhr [almost like "cur" in English, but say the vowel sound for a slightly longer time, while keeping it tight, and try to roll the final r, just a little] ah say [a little tighter] raySOH(n) [try to roll the initial r, just a little], kuh [a very tight "koo"] la [close to the a in "sad"] raySOH(n) ne [like "noo", but tight] CAWHnay pwawh(n).

Sorry, that's a real dog's breakfast.
posted by maudlin at 10:27 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


ARGH! I read a typo instead of the original: the final word should be "pas", pronounced "pah" [tighter than "paw"].
posted by maudlin at 10:47 PM on November 19, 2008


(Unless you really do want the more old-fashioned and formal choice of "point" -- I see you used "pas" in the title and "point" in your question).

Right. Bedtime.
posted by maudlin at 10:53 PM on November 19, 2008


"pas" is definitely not pronounced "pwah" or "pwawh(n)", at least according to my 6 years of french courses (admittedly last taken over 10 years ago). It's more like "paw", unless I got it wrong all those years!

"r" in "raisons" is pronounced in the back of your palate - you basically close off the space between back of tongue and roof of mouth and pronounce almost a guttteral, airy "r". Definitely not a normal English "r" that forms in pursed lips.

Without a vowel (specifically an "e") following raison, you don't quite pronounce the "n" by touching tip of tongue to roof of mouth as is done in English. Similar to the "r", you close off the space between tip of tongue and roof of mouth while at the same time you throw in a nasal quality.

In fact, per wikipedia: final consonants: Final single consonants, in particular s, x, z, t, d, n and m, are normally silent. (The final letters c, r, f and l, however, are normally pronounced.)
posted by schmoppa at 11:01 PM on November 19, 2008


Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point?"

Luh kurr ah say ray-sonn, kuh lah ray-sohn nuh koh-nay pwan
posted by citron at 11:16 PM on November 19, 2008


Liquor (with the accent on second syllable)
assay
raise oh
cou (as in first part of "could")
la raise oh
ne con eh? paw
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:16 PM on November 19, 2008


oh - you know, I didn't read the sub title. if it's indeed Point, then sure, pwa(nasal n)
posted by schmoppa at 11:19 PM on November 19, 2008


point is "pwa" (nasal)
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:21 PM on November 19, 2008


jinx
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:21 PM on November 19, 2008


The heart has its reasons that reason knows not.

La ker ah says raysons kuh la raysons nuh kon-ay pah.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:22 PM on November 19, 2008


I think point is the original, yes? this is hard to make phonetic though! the "luh," "lah," you don't pronounce the 'h' but.. added to distinguish.. if I wrote "lu" you might say "loo," which is not right!

The emphases in the phrase would be on the "sonn" in "raisons," and on "point."

Note, you do pronounce the "n" at the end of "raisons" and "raison," but softly.
posted by citron at 11:26 PM on November 19, 2008


blue_beetle: No. It's le, not la. And get rid of your three "s" endings.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:27 PM on November 19, 2008


'point' is like pwain, with the nasal n. (so, not pwayne)
posted by sunshinesky at 11:36 PM on November 19, 2008


Just sent the original poster a recording of the phrase via e-mail. I didn't have a good place to upload it in a hurry unfortunately!
posted by betafilter at 3:29 AM on November 20, 2008


as a native french speaker I have entered the phrase here and found the result quite conform.
posted by Baud at 3:32 AM on November 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


French pronunciation can be difficult without feedback. If you want to be understood, find a Francophone who can coach you.
posted by Gor-ella at 8:30 AM on November 20, 2008


If you want to hear Madeleine L'engle read this phrase, it comes up in The Wrinkle of Time (she recorded the audiobook herself).

Oh Pascal.

And it's definitely "point" in the original quote, not "pas." There is a difference in meaning too, as "ne connait point" is "does not know at all" and "ne connait pas" is "does not know." A fine line, to be sure, but important.

[While I am not a native speaker, I have seven years of learning French behind me, and am currently in France, so I think these points are valid. I also agree with Gor-ella , that it might be best to find someone who can help you work through the pronunciation together.
posted by fantine at 9:02 AM on November 20, 2008


Note, you do pronounce the "n" at the end of "raisons" and "raison," but softly.

To say the "n" in "raisons" is pronounced is misleading, because the French "n" is not at all like ours in this case.
Imagine your two year old child dropped a toy behind the sofa, and you gave him a long, slow, "Uh-oh".
That nasal "oh" is almost exactly the sound you want. No "s". "Raise oh".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:43 AM on November 20, 2008


Voting for Baud's website

And for Point/Pas from my point of view, 'point' is oldish French, 'pas' would be the more modern version. At least no one here ever use point when they talk. (French Quebecer here)
posted by domi_p at 6:46 PM on November 20, 2008


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