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Pronunciation

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Edmonds WA
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43 posts
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Pronunciation

Help. How is Caen pronounced by the locals? I've heard "Kaahn", I've heard "Cayn" and Kooorn" and Cay-enne.(Like the pepper. Help?

London, United...
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8,324 posts
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1. Re: Pronunciation

http://www.forvo.com/word/caen/#fr

Kamloops, BC...
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9,743 posts
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2. Re: Pronunciation

If you want to endear yourself to the locals where ever you go, just ask them how to properly pronounce the name of their city or district. Even if you have the world's worst ear, and I do, they will be charmed by the fact that you want to do it correctly.

Bayeux, France
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for Bayeux, Basse-Normandie, Mont-Saint-Michel, Caen
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3. Re: Pronunciation

Kaahn is the best aproximation.

Not to be confused with Cannes of the film festival fame. Cannes is pronounced as a tin can in English.

St Louet sur Vire...
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for Bayeux
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4. Re: Pronunciation

Just cough and put a K in front of your cough! Seriously though cpmac's right, Kaahn is probably the closest, a bit like James Caan but with a slight very short o sound as in hot but if you can't get it right then stick with the aa sound so as not to be confused with con, which is rather rude in French! 90% of our US guests pronounce it cayenne but the French wouldn't have a clue where you're talking about!

Brussels
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5. Re: Pronunciation

< How is Caen pronounced by the locals? I've heard "Kaahn", I've heard "Cayn" and Kooorn" and Cay-enne.(Like the pepper. >

It is nothing like any of those. It contains a nasal sound which can't be reproduced in writing - you have to hear it.

Listen to the recording at the link posted by Tinsey. That is the only correct way to say it.

Andrésy, France
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5,612 posts
89 reviews
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6. Re: Pronunciation

As an approximation - Ko(hhh). Imagine the word "hot". The ae in Caen is pronounced similarly the o in hot but tending slightly towards a as in cat. Imagine you're about to say the n at the end but don't actually say it. Totally confused now?

Bucks, UK
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4,565 posts
25 reviews
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7. Re: Pronunciation

I'd say the closest in English is the word "honk". Replace the h with a c and drop the k, but the "n" remains the same as in the pronounciation of "honk", ie a soft, nasal "n" , not the hard "n" in the English word "Con".

Listen to the link - that'll be easiest!

St Louet sur Vire...
Destination Expert
for Bayeux
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2,453 posts
32 reviews
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8. Re: Pronunciation

I think Poolounger is the closest and clearest explanation! But Colin is right, because it is a very nasal sound it's almost impossible to explain in writing, you have to hear it.

Edited: 21 March 2011, 16:44
Independence, Kansas
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1,806 posts
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9. Re: Pronunciation

Go to www.acapela-group.com. Type in Caen in the demonstration choice and take your pick of four French natives prenouncing it, both women and men. Listen to all four and then practice it yourself. You'll soon sound like a native.....

Tampa, Florida
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10 reviews
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10. Re: Pronunciation

it's a really tough sound that doesn't exist in English...when I was taking German lessons, it was explained to me to hold your mouth in the position to pronounce "e", but say "a" (yes, this takes some practice!). It's the only way I've ever heard it described that even remotely made any sense to me.

(the French stumble over English "th", we stumble over "ae", and everybody stumbles over everybody else's "r")