Everyone has a favourite French fear that needs to be overcome before learning French becomes a reality. To many it is the nasal pronunciation, to others it is the silent letters that all French words seem to be made of. These were never my concern. Since, Hindi has special symbols for nasal sound, I knew I will overcome this bit – sooner or later. I did hesitate over silent letters but soon realized that there is a pattern in this apparent madness. So, no! I was not afraid of the usual.
What terrified me was the liaison. Funny, but true. I actually gave up learning French at least 2-3 times because of this. How on earth could someone predict if the next word starts with a vowel? Nous avons (we have) is pronounced “noozaavoN” (the capital N is nasal). While, nous faisons (we do) is pronounced “noo fayezoN”. So, essentially I needed to know beforehand when ‘nous’ will be followed by ‘avons’ and I needed to know that ‘avons’ starts with an ‘a’. Now that was difficult.
But as I persisted, I noticed something strange. And this is what I believe. I may be wrong, but this helped me.
Actually, nous avons is not pronounced “noozaavoN”. It is actually “noo zaavoN”. So even the French do not know what is coming. Once the French brain knows that the next word starts with a vowel, it then adds the liaison. Once I was convinced that this was the case, I started learning French with all gusto.
So, you see. It is all in the mind. The trick is to: step back and introspect, and then proceed. Now, isn’t this true for all endeavours in life?