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The letters s, x, z, t, d, n and m, normally silent when at the end of a word, are often pronounced when the next word begins with a vowel.

Liason with the letters s, x, and z...

trois amis
les enfants
aux enfants
mes élèves
certaines idées
vieux hôtels
les avenues
petits hommes
chez eux
nous avons
vous êtes
three friends
the children
to the children
my students
certain ideas
old hotels
the avenues
small men
their home
we have
you are

with the letters t and d..

petit ami
Où sont-ils?
Où est-elle?
un grand hôtel
Ils sont en haut
Where are they?

Where is she?
a large hotel
They are up there

As already mentioned, h is silent. The words beginning with h that are of latin origin act as if they begin with a vowel and liaison occurs. However, the words beginning with h that are of non-latin origin act as if they begin with a consonant - liason does not occur.

When liaison occurs with the letters n and m, they are pronounced and the vowel is denazalised.

un an
un homme

son idée
le prochain an


With elision the opposite of liaison occurs - sounds normally pronounced become silent. The vowel sound of these short one syllable words all go silent before a vowel or mute h:

je me te se le la de ne que jusque

French orthography marks elision by replacing the vowel with an apostrophe and combining the words.

elle m'a embrassé
il t'aime

il s'est blessé

The word si is elided only before the masculine pronouns il and ils. The word quelque is elided only before un.

s'il peut

quelqu' un  

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