i think languages logo

French Nasal Vowel /õ/ | Possible Spellings with Examples

french pronunciation nasal vowel o

The French language is renowned for its multiple nasal vowels, making it a challenging feat for non-native speakers to perfect.

One sound that often trips up learners is the nasal vowel õ, which is found in words like “bon” and “sont”.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different spellings of the French nasal vowel “õ” and give examples to help you pronounce the French nasal vowel /õ/ correctly.

I. Introduction

A Brief Explanation of French Nasal Vowels

French has a unique feature that sets it apart from other languages: nasal vowels. Unlike oral vowels, nasal vowels are pronounced by passing air through the nose and mouth.

In English, nasality occurs when a vowel follows a nasal consonant. For example, some people pronounce “can’t” with a nasalized vowel, under the influence of the following “n” [kæ̃nt].

The Nasalization of English vowels is only possible with nasal consonants, as opposed to nasal vowels in French.

Another difference between nasal sounds in French and nasalized sounds in English is that an English vowel’s nasalization does not alter the meaning of the word, which is the case in French.

Let’s observe two homographs in French, that are spelled the same, but their meaning is different, only because they contain a different nasal vowel.

  • “temps” with a nasal vowel /ɑ̃/ means “time”, as in:

Je n’ai pas le temps. /ʒə nɛ pa lə tɑ̃/

I don’t have the time.

  • “temps” with a nasal vowel /ɛ̃/ means “weather”, as in:

Le temps est mauvais aujourd’hui. / lə tɑ̃ ɛ mɔvɛz odjurdɥi /

The weather is bad today.

In French, there are a total of four nasal vowels.  Here, l made a list of nasal vowels, along with examples and corresponding IPA transcriptions, which is a phonetic transcription system that helps you pronounce French words.

temps /tɑ̃/


enfant /ɑ̃.fɑ̃/


  • /ɔ̃/nasal “o”


Good Day!

homme /ɔm/


vin /vɛ̃/


simple /sɛ̃.pl/


  • /œ̃/nasal “u” (disappearing French sound)

lundi /lœ̃.di/


parfum /paʁ.fœ̃/


Learn more about French Nasal Vowels.

Today, we’ll focus more on the nasal vowel /õ/.

Oral Vowel [ɔ] vs Nasal Vowel /õ/

The French language has the oral vowel [ɔ] that is called the open o sound, and it’s similar to the short sound as in the English word “son.”

Let’s see an example of the oral vowel [ɔ]:

tonnerre /tɔnɛʁ/


homme – /ɔm/


pomme – /pɔm/


The vowel [ɔ] also has its nasal variant that’s represented /õ/.

bon /bɔ̃/


How to Recognize Nasal Vowel /õ/ ?

One way to recognize the nasal vowel õ is to listen for the “n” sound after the vowel o. Each nasal vowel is actually followed by either “n” or “m” in the spellings.

The nasal vowel “õ” in French is pronounced like the “on” in “bon”. Note that the symbol “ɔ̃” represents the nasal vowel /ɔ/ in French.

To recognize it, listen for a buzzing sound coming from your nose while you say the vowel.

Examples of words with this sound include:

bon /bɔ̃/


mon /mɔ̃/


sont /sɔ̃/


Try practicing these words and paying attention to the buzzing sensation in your nose.

How to Pronounce French Nasal Vowel /õ/?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to pronouncing the nasal vowel /õ/ in French for English speakers:

  1. Start by pronouncing the vowel sound “o” in English, as in the word “go”.
  2. Now, try to make the sound while keeping your mouth open and relaxed.
  3. While maintaining the “o” sound, lower your jaw slightly and bring your lips forward.
  4. You should now be making a sound that’s somewhere between “o” and “aw”.
  5. Finally, add nasality to the sound by allowing air to flow through your nose while you make the sound.

It may take some practice to get the pronunciation just right, but with time and patience, you should be able to produce a clear and distinct nasal vowel /õ/ in French.

Here are some examples of French words containing the nasal vowel /ɔ̃/, followed by their IPA transcription and English translation:

longtemps /lɔ̃tɑ̃/

a long time

pompon /pɔ̃pɔ̃/


donc /dɔ̃k/

therefore, so

un pont /œ̃ pɔ̃/

a bridge

nonchalance /nɔ̃ʃalɑ̃s/


chanson /ʃɑ̃sɔ̃/


montagne /mɔ̃taɲ/


ronflement /ʁɔ̃fləmɑ̃/


III. Common Spellings for Nasal Vowel /õ/

In French, the spellings indicate the nasal vowel /õ/. Possible spellings for the nasal vowel /õ/ in French are on and om. 

Take a look at these French words that contain the nasal vowel /õ/ followed by the IPA transcriptions.

  • on” as in “bon” /bɔ̃/ (good)
  • om” as in “homme” /ɔm/ (man)
  • “ont” as in “dont” /dɔ̃/ (whose)

on – /ɔ̃/


ont – /ɔ̃/

they have (III person plural of the verb etre)

bon – /bɔ̃/


bond – /bɔ̃d/


son – /sɔ̃/


font – /fɔ̃/

they do

long – /lɔ̃/


mont – /mɔ̃/


IV. False Homophones that Cause Confusion

Let’s take a look at French false homophones that often cause confusion to French learners. We call them false, because they are pronounced differently, however to a beginner French learner this may sound the same.

You’ll see two words where the first word has the oral vowel, while the second one has the nasal vowel /ɔ̃/.

peau /pø/ pont /pɔ̃/

skin, bridge

mot/mo/ mont /mɔ̃/

word, hill

/haut/o/ honte /ɔ̃t/

high, shame

/trop/tʁo/ tronc/tʁɔ̃/

too much,

seau/so/ son /sɔ̃/

bucket, sound or his

beau/ bo/ bon /bɔ̃/

beautiful, good

Final Tips on French Nasal Vowels

Learning to pronounce French nasal vowels is like unlocking a secret passageway to the heart of the French language.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between the French oral and nasal vowels. Even though it will surely be difficult to pronounce the nasal vowel /ɔ̃/ at first, you can start by learning its possible spellings.

So keep practicing, keep persevering, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking French like a native.

We dare you to pronounce most difficult French words.

Related Posts

French: How to teach on Italki

Why a guide to teaching languages online I’m ready to reveal my small secrets as I transition from providing online instruction to managing my website.

German: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Languages: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo. These are unquestionably the two most well-known language learning programs out there. Let’s

Top 20 Spanish words used in sports

Discover the top 20 Spanish words commonly used in the world of sports. Enhance your sports vocabulary and understanding with our informative blog. Introduction The

French Phrases You Need in Workplace

Mastering French phrases in the workplace is essential for effective communication. This blog explores key phrases to navigate the professional world en français. I. Introduction

Sea in French: How to say Sea in Italian

Discover the Italian translation for “sea” with our guide. Learn how to pronounce and use this common word in the beautiful Italian language. The sea

Spanish adverbials: Mientras…

The word Mientras can be an adverb or conjunction depending on the sentence and its structure. You can use mientras to connect two actions in

Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos

7 Myths About Learning Spanish

Unveiling the truth behind learning Spanish! Discover and debunk the 7 common myths that may be holding you back from mastering this vibrant language. Are

Famous French Food You Must Try

Indulge in the flavors of France with our guide to famous French food. Discover must-try dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée. Bon

Famous French Singers You Must Know

Discover the iconic voices that have made French music famous worldwide. Our list of famous French singers features timeless classics and modern hits. French singers

Famous Spanish Food You Must Try

Embark on a delectable journey through Spain’s culinary wonders! Discover the must-try famous Spanish dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Spanish Food Spain is

Famous German Singers You Must Know

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German music as we showcase the extraordinary talents of renowned singers from Germany. From timeless

Famous Spanish Singers You Must Know

Let the music captivate your senses and ignite your passion for Spanish culture by knowing the famous Spanish singers that ever existed. Importance of Spanish

German Phrases You Need in the Workplace

Discover essential German phrases for the workplace. From greetings to professional conversations, equip yourself with the necessary language skills. German Phrases in the Workplace Learning

Spanish Phrases You Need in Workplace

Master the essential Spanish phrases for the workplace and enhance your communication skills. From greetings to professional requests, we’ve got you covered! Spanish Words in

Top Spanish Speaking Countries

Explore the vibrant cultures and diverse landscapes of the top Spanish-speaking countries in this blog. Discover their history, traditions, and more! Explanation of the importance

Top 20 German Words Used in Sports

Discover the top 20 German words commonly used in sports, from ‘Tor’ to ‘Abseits’. Enhance your sports vocabulary and impress your German-speaking friends! Introduction Explanation

Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in

How to Say “Food” in Spanish

“Learn the different ways to say ‘food’ in Spanish and expand your vocabulary with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your language skills today!” One of the

How to Say “Food” in French

Learn the various ways to say “food” in French with this comprehensive guide. Expand your vocabulary and impress your francophone friends! “Food” in French: La

How to Say “Food” in German

Learn how to say ‘food’ in German and impress your friends with your language skills! Check out our easy guide and enhance your vocabulary today.

Top 7 Reasons for learning French

Parlez-vous Français? Explore the top 7 reasons for learning French and unlock a world of opportunities. Start your language journey with confidence today! 7 reasons

Top 7 Reasons for Learning German

Discover the power of learning German! Unlock opportunities and expand your horizons with compelling reasons to study German. Start your linguistic journey today! Reasons for

Top 9 Reasons for learning Spanish

Is learning Spanish worth it? What are the top reasons for learning the Spanish language? Start your Spanish journey now! Reasons why learning Spanish is worth

How to learn Spanish through Podcasts

Do you want to learn Spanish through podcasts? Immerse yourself in the richness of the Spanish language with our podcast-based learning guide. Learn Spanish through

How to learn Languages through Podcasts

Unlock the power of language learning with podcasts! Explore the ultimate guide to mastering a new language through engaging podcasts. Start your linguistic journey now!

How to Maximize Your Time in Learning German

Learn German efficiently with expert tips! Discover effective techniques on how to maximize your time in learning German. Tips and strategies for efficiently learning German

How to learn French through Podcasts

Unlock the beauty of the French language with our podcast-based learning approach. Master French effortlessly with engaging lessons and practical tips! The Power of Podcasts

How to Learn German through Podcasts

Master German with ease! Explore the ultimate guide to learning German through podcasts. Gain language skills, cultural insights, and fluency. Start your German journey now!

How hard is it to learn German?

How hard is it to learn German?  Our comprehensive guide provides insights into the challenges and strategies to master the language. How hard is it

How hard is it to learn French?

Discover how difficult it is to learn French in our latest blog post, “Parlez-Vous Français?”. Gain insights and tips to improve your French skills. Parlez-vous

How to say in German

Looking to learn how to say common phrases in German? Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to speak the language like

How to Pronounce Luxury Brands in French?

Are you a fashion enthusiast struggling to correctly pronounce luxury brand names in French? Look no further! In this French pronunciation guide for luxury brands,

Silent French H: Mute and Aspirated

The silent letter h is often causing trouble to French learners. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the “h” mute and

Faire la Bise: All about French Kiss

If you’re wondering how to greet in French, either through handshakes or kisses, you are at the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to navigate

Speaking practice: talk to yourself

Improve your speaking skills with these simple tips on how to practice speaking by talking to yourself. Start speaking confidently today! Read more here. Speaking

Spaced repetition for the German language

Master German faster with spaced repetition! Our blog explains how this powerful technique works and offers tips to incorporate it into your learning routine. What

What does TE AMO mean in Spanish?

Discover the romantic meaning behind Te Amo, the Spanish phrase for ‘I love you’. Explore its cultural significance and usage in everyday life. Te Amo