It's written on French Wikipedia that the noun “rose” is represented in phonology by /ʁɔz/ whereas Wiktionary is claiming that it should be /ʁoz/. In both case, the associated representation in common phonetics seems to be [ʁoz], which sounds correct for me as a native French speaker.

Who is right about phonology ? In case Wikipedia is, could you explain ?


Although /ɔ/ and /o/ do contrast in certain positions in French, the distinction is neutralized before /z/, where phonetically it's always the high-mid vowel that appears: [oz] but never [ɔz]. So it's a moot point which of the two to choose as your underlying representation. The French Wiki article opted for /ɔ/ presumably because this is the vowel that's usually found in closed syllables.

  • Thanks. Sorry, I can't vote up due to my lack of reputation.
    – Samuel
    Apr 19 '15 at 18:39

In French there is no phonological contrast between [o] and [ɔ] in closed syllables. Thus, phonologically you could analyse “rose” either as /ʁoz/ or equally well as /ʁɔz/. It is merely a matter of convention.

PS. Overlap with TKR's excellent answer.

  • Thanks. Sorry, I can't vote up due to my lack of reputation.
    – Samuel
    Apr 19 '15 at 18:39
  • Actually, there is a phonemic contrast between /o/ and /ɔ/ in closed syllables for Standard French in most environments: compare mode /mɔd/ to chaude /ʃod/. (An actual minimal pair would be roque and rauque). The contrast is absent for most speakers in open syllables, where they are neutralized to /o/ (in words like mot /mo/ and beau /bo/). The opposite pattern applies in Standard French to /ɛ/ and /e/, which are generally distinct in open syllables but neutralized to /ɛ/ in closed syllables. Nov 11 '15 at 6:49

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