Originally Posted by V.Melb
ok. I have been studying and have 4 questions... please answer them for me mon francais amis ici! they are very general questions but i just need them cleared up!
1) Do "Sans" (without) and "Sont" (are) both make the same sound?
do i pronounce the 't' in Sont? i have been pronouncing the 't'
2) If Sont means "are" ....'etes' also means are? but sont is used for 'we' ... as in "Nous sont".... or "Nous etes"? .... or is etes only used in "Vous"... i often hear
3) Is it considered very akward if someone starts talking to you using 'Vous'?
4) if i was to say Je me sens (i feel) .... when pronounced does that not sound like "i house"? ... i am far to afraid to talk french to anyone because of these little issues. i am sure there are other similarities in sounds.... what are others and how can i tell the difference?
I'm not French but I live here and speak the language. Here goes:
"sans" rhymes with "vent" as in "vol-au-vENt" or "restaurANt"
"sont" (the "t" is silent and the n is too) rhymes with "maison" "ombre" "dion" (as in Céline).
2) forget the idea of a 1 to 1 correspondance between English words and French words. "are" has "es"/"sommes"/"êtes" or "sont" depending on who you are talking about. In English you say "am" with I and "is" with he, it or she and are with the rest (you, we, they). In French, it's something different for all the "are" situations: tu (you when it's personal) es, nous (we) sommes, vous (you when there is more than one or you want to be professional/formal) êtes and ils/elles (they) sont.
3) It depends in the context. It's normal professionally or in shops. If it's a social situation and it's someone your own age, then you use "tu". Normally just use whatever someone uses to you but using "vous" is a neat way of saying "back off" to someone who uses "tu" and you don't want to get friendly with them.
In "je me sens", "me" is pronounced to rhyme with "the" and "sens" rhymes with "sans" (see above) The s is a ssss sound. In maison "mai", rhymes with lait (as in "café au lait"), the "s" is a zzzz sound and "on" rhymes with "sont" (see above)
Listen to as much French as you can, especially pop music like ballads where the lyrics are slow enough to follow. For what it's worth, you're asking all the right questions!