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An interesting topic, presented [in French] in a fun way:

[If you have trouble with the Facebook embedding, try this YouTube version.]

Here are some background papers by Anita Berit Hansen, who is featured in the second half of the interview:

A. B. Hansen, "The Covariation of [ə] with Style in Parisian French: An Empirical Study of 'E Caduc' and Pre-Pausal [ə]", PPoSpSt-1991.

A. B. Hansen, "Les voyelles nasales du francais parisien moderne: Aspects linguistiques, sociolinguistiques et perceptuels des changements en cours", 1998.

A. B. Hansen & M-B. M. Hansen, "Le [ə] prépausal et l'interaction", Structures linguistiques et interactionnelles dans le francais parlé: actes du colloque international, Université de Copenhague 2003.

And also:

Julien Eychenne, "The emergence of prosodic schwa in French", BIDE 2005.

The original discussion of pre-pausal schwa as a prosodic intrusion in French:

François Dell, Les règles et les sons: Introduction à la grammaire générative, 1973.

Perhaps I'm not searching right, but I had a hard time finding digitally-accessible discussions of this (and related) phenomena.



  1. Philip Taylor said,

    March 9, 2018 @ 11:06 am

    This <iframe> is invisible in rendered mode, as it attempts to embed secure (https) content in an insecure (http-served) page :

    <iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="" width="490" height="276" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe:gt;

    [(myl) Worked for me — but I've found a version on YouTube rather than trying to embed it from Facebook.]

  2. Mayman Lynette said,

    March 9, 2018 @ 11:24 am

    What would be the IPA symbol for a residual nasal grunt?

  3. CLS said,

    March 9, 2018 @ 11:56 am

    One discussion of this that's available online, although the formatting is disrupted on the web page:
    Fónagy, I. (1989). Le français change de visage ? Revue Romane 24, 225-254 (link to messy copy online)

  4. Jonathan said,

    March 9, 2018 @ 2:31 pm

    Interesting synchronicity with the latest Lexicon Valley, which deals with the appearance of extra final syllables in English.

  5. Viseguy said,

    March 9, 2018 @ 11:25 pm

    I only have restaurant French, but this has always struck me as a charming feature of the language.

  6. Jason M said,

    March 9, 2018 @ 11:25 pm

    Kind of reminded me of Canadian final "eh" tic. "How did they name the country? They drew three letters out of a bag: C-eh N-eh D-eh". There is a reflection also of American upspeak, n'est-ce pas?…wherein the gratuitous end nasal serves to somehow hedge one's bets on even committing fully to a simple greeting: "Bonjour…in?"

    The "pos-aaay" is reminiscent of recent Calfornian vowel shifts (cf. the way everyone says the name 'Tray' in one of The Californians skits on SNL). "Posaaay" would definitely be surfer speak, how Spicoli would say it in French class at Ridgemont High. "Toutceque j'veux c'est d'être posaay sur ma planche de surf aprèaay un bon take off et j'suis chouaytte"-in?

  7. Reb said,

    March 10, 2018 @ 3:30 am

    There was a recent article on the subject in the French edition of Slate (in which there's an equal measure of pop linguistics and decent examples, so take this with a grain of salt)

  8. RachelP said,

    March 10, 2018 @ 10:52 am

    Maybe worth noting that this does not occur in all dialects. My Lorraine and Walloon friends don't do it, and it sticks out as rather odd and mannered when I meet someone who does – e.g. Parisians and I'm not sure where else.

  9. Anna in PDX said,

    March 10, 2018 @ 1:51 pm

    It reminds me of old French songs where they add this ending to every line. E.g., Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf

  10. Paul Atlan said,

    March 11, 2018 @ 1:21 am

    This definitely marks the speaker in the broad BCBG (bon chic bon genre) / metrosexual / hipster category – and my (banlieue-bred) high school students would be in stitches if anyone spoke like this around them.

  11. Coby Lubliner said,

    March 11, 2018 @ 1:34 am

    Anna in PDX: In songs it's traditional to pronounce the "e muet", as in "A la clairE fontainE" or "frèrE JacquEs" or "sur le pont d'Avignon on y dansE, on y chantE", but not to add a spurious schwa.

  12. Matthew Roth said,

    March 11, 2018 @ 6:36 pm

    One would not pronounce “e muet” in “danse,” generally, as it is followed by punctuation and the next word is a vowel anyways. Sometimes there is a schwa sound that sounds to Anglophones like the vowel, and you would be understood, especially in the south, for pronouncing it, contrary to the above…

  13. Frédéric Grosshans said,

    March 13, 2018 @ 12:46 pm

    My instinctive reaction while reading this post and watching this video was very similar to @PaulAltan’s, but, the very next day, I heard very clear nasal pre-pausal schwas in the announcement made in the Bordeaux-Paris TGV, and I’m not sure I would have noticed it without the Language Log post.

  14. Catanea said,

    March 18, 2018 @ 10:57 am

    Far too many of our friends are (female) teachers in écoles maternelles. They pronounce their es muets so precisely I feel it is another language. Albeit one that is easier to spell… So this just seems like an exaggeration of that – tack it on everywhere! Nasalize it! Why not!

  15. InFact said,

    March 19, 2018 @ 6:31 am

    Salut!, Anna.
    It may be that you heard words ending in "e" in those old french songs. In that case, because it is sung, the final "e" is indeed pronounced–that is regular practice.

    In the national anthem, the words,
    (Spoken and written : "Allons enfants de la patrie!"

    if sung, are heard pronounced this way,
    "Allons enfants de la pa-TRI-Uh!"

    Here's a song with the word "fille" (girl) figuring prominently and pronounced "fee-uh" rather than "fee".
    La fille d'avril (Clip officiel) :

  16. InFact said,

    March 19, 2018 @ 6:37 am

    Oh– as Coby Lubliner had explained it, above:
    Coby Lubliner said,
    March 11, 2018 @ 1:34 am

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