logo ecole 3 ponts

Courses Calendars

Have a look to book...

2022 Calendar

2023 Calendar

Online French Courses

If you want to keep working on your French or support the school, our teachers are available for Skype lessons. All the details available here:

Learn French Online

Testimonial about Online Courses

"Before this year of the pandemic, the best immersion school I have attended the Ecole Des Trois Ponts. I attended two times and each time my french improved. Now, of course, it is not possible to attend the school. What is possible is online lessons by skype or zoom.
I needed a challenge and decided to try the online program. It has been very rewarding. Having a personal french coach has been, tremendously, helped me with my weak areas. So, if you have a love of the french language and want to grow, I encourage you to start the online program".

Kyla, New-York. USA

Discover invisible french letters in our French immersion school

Why half of the letters in a French word are never pronounced ?

Do you remember those first French courses you had ? Unlike many languages, the way to read French is not straightforward. You see the letters, you can clearly read them, but it sounds nothing like the way it should. And you accent has nothing to do with it.

Let’s try to understand why by solving this mystery, and how coming in our French immersion school will help you.

So you started learning some French, and you start to realize the gap between the way it is written and the way it is pronounced.

"Les maisons des beaux-fils et belles-filles auxquels nous sommes très liés sont dans les hameaux. "

Well, if you read all the letters, it would phonetically sound more or less like:

"Les maysons dez boks fil ett bellez filez, oaxkwels nows somez trayz liyez sonte da’nz lez ‘hameeahooks"

But for some reason, when it is read by French people it sounds like all the end letters are drop half the letters, especially the last ones. The plural is almost never pronounced, but not only. The word "et" (and), is just a sound "é", and nothing more.

The plural of être "sont", never get the letter "t" pronounced… ever.

And how come all those times the sound "o" is written with "au" or "eau".

Couldn’t they have made much easier? Why is that?

To understand more of this mystery, we can make a little comparison with another language: Italian.

When French and Italian started to be put in there written form, a question rose among scholars that had the difficult task to transfer pure oral language to a combination of letters.

Two solutions were available: going according to the pronunciation. What you hear is what you write.

If you look at Italian and our example of the word "and", it is pronounced "é", and it is written the same way.

But French chose the other solution: going according to the etymology. In the case of the word "and", the world "et" but pronounced "é" comes from the latin… "et".

All those letters are marks of the past and history of the French language.

It doesn’t mean that French never evolves. One example with the world château (castle). The "circonflexe" accent on the "â" is there to show the evolution of this word. In old French, this world used to be spelled with an "s" between the "a" and "t", but this "s" was not pronounced. Over time, the letter "s" was dropped, but it was not forgotten and replaced by the accent on the "â".

This little explanation may not solve your reading issues, but at least you will know why.