En réponse à "Douglas Koller, Latin & French" <[log in to unmask]>: > > *Fun* examples that I should've been able to come up with. You're the > native speaker and you learned it in school that way. Still, I plead > mitigation. veine, peine, déveine, haleine, and Seine (plus my own > pleine and reine) all have "-ne" at the end. So what? It's still pronounced [En]. neige and seize both end > in "-e". Idem. |ei| still marks [E]. |nege|, besides giving you strange looks ("how I am supposed to pronounce that thing?!") would probably be interpreted as [neZ] or [n@Z] unless someone would have a reason to think that it's a misspelling of |neige|. And I know that by experience. > > ai > > è or > > ê > > and asked how to pronounce them, you'd be pretty likely to elicit an > /E/, whereas > > ei > > would either get you head-scratching or /Ej/. (but I'M NOT A NATIVE!) > That's why you have it wrong, dear Kou. |ei| is very clearly [E] to any French speaker who learned to read. It's learnt at the same time as the spelling |ai|. Both are always taught together. So if he knows |ai|, he knows |ei| too, without head-scratching. Also, give to a French person an unknown word with |ei| inside, and it will be pronounced consistently [E], never [Ej] (unless it's someone who knows a bit about other languages, but then if you show that person a word with |ai| he will then pronounce it surely [aj]). Finally, I've seen once a survey on common spelling mistakes, and it was said there that misspelling [E] as |ei| while it should have been |ai| is quite common, while the contrary is not, showing that for a French |ei| is more tightly related to [E] than |ai| (of course, |è| always wins there! :)) ). Christophe. http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.