Ha! It’s funny that I’ve used the word ‘sounds’ in the title above. In French, the word is ‘son’ and it is pronounced with a nasalised ‘o’ instead of pronouncing the ‘n’ at the end — a bit like ‘song’ in English (but not exactly: we don’t have an equivalent in English). Phonetically, it would be ‘sɔ̃’, rhyming with the French words for ‘bridge’ (pont) and ‘probe’ (sonde). To me, it sounds very similar to some other words in French which French people say are completely different. For example, the following sentence in English:
I smell the blood without feeling a hundred percent.
…would be written like this in French:
Je sens le sang sans me sentir à cent pour cent.
It might not mean a lot when pronounced in English, but that all changes in French. Here is a very rough way of writing in English how it sounds in French (keeping in mind that ‘ong’ is really a nasalised ‘o’):
Zhe song le song song ma sontear a song pour song.
It’s probably best if you get a French person to say this sentence for you. If you want the linguistic translation, it’s probably something more like: ‘ʒœsã lœsã sã mœsãtiːʁ sãopuːʁ sã’.
What I’m getting at is that a whole sentence in French can have more than one word that sounds the same, making it much harder to guess the meaning unless it’s in context. Is it any wonder I struggle with this language! I know we have ‘two’, ‘to’ and ‘too’ in English, but that seems like peanuts when compared with all the words in French that are pronounced the same way, even if written differently. And that’s not even including the French word for ‘sound’ — and any other words that sound the same when spoken — into the equation. Am I the only one?