French Revolution pronunciations

The following page contains a list of French Revolution pronunciations of selected words, names, words and phrases. They are provided for reference or for use by students delivering oral presentations. Words or names not appearing here are likely pronounced phonetically, e.g. Jacobins. These pronunciations appear as used by native French speakers. Please note that English translations may often vary.

People and groups

Name Description Pronunciation
Marie Antoinette French queen mah-ree arn-twah-net
Antoine Barnave constitutional monarchist arn-twon-bar-nav
Cordeliers radical political club cor-der-leah
Georges Couthon radical politician jorjah coo-ton
Georges Danton populist leader jorjah don-ton
Jacques-Louis David revolutionary artist jark-loo-wee-dah-veed
Camille Desmoulins radical journalist car-meal day-moo-lahn
Marquis de Lafayette liberal noble leader mar-key de-lah-fi-yet
Jean-Paul Marat radical writer shon-poor-mare-rah
Honore Mirabeau early revolutionary leader on-or mirror-bo
Jacques Necker finance minister jark-nick-eh
Maximilien Robespierre radical politician maxa-million roe-ba-spear
Montagnard radical political faction mon-tan-yard
parlement pre-revolutionary law court par-leh-mon
Jean-Jacques Rousseau philosophe shon-jark-roo-so
Louis Saint-Just radical politician loo-wee sarn-joost
sans-culottes working-class radicals sarn-cue-lot
Emmanuel Sieyès writer and politician e-manu-well say-yez


Name Description Pronunciation
Bastille Parisian fortress bass-steel
Champ de Mars Parisian parade ground shom-der-mars
Hôtel de Ville Paris town hall oh-tel der-vil
Lyon major French city lee-on
Orleans City and noble title or-lee-on
Paris French capital pah-ree
Tuileries Parisian castle twill-er-ree
Vendée Rebellious province von-deh
Versailles Royal compound ver-sigh

Other useful words and phrases

Name Description Pronunciation
Ancien Régime pre-revolution France on-see-on ray-jeem
assignat revolutionary currency ah-see-nyah
bourgeoisie middle classes bore-jwah-zee
cahiers de doléances books of grievance car-hear de doll-lee-orns
don gratuit voluntary church gift don grah-twee
émigré individual who fled France immi-gray
enragés urban radicals on-rarj
journée important day sure-knee
La patrie en danger July 1792 call to arms lah pat-tree on don-jeh
lettre de cachet arbitrary order let-reh-der-cash-ay
levée en masse conscription order ler-vay-on-mass
lit de justice royal decree session lee-der-joo-steese
livre pre-revolutionary currency leaver
philosophe Enlightenment philosopher fee-lo-soff
Thermidor significant month thair-me-door

Citation information
Title: “French Revolution pronunciations”
Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson
Publisher: Alpha History
Date published: June 20, 2019
Date accessed: August 21, 2019
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