“JE TE DEMANDE”
Some of the “e”s in those words are going to drop in spoken French. But how to know which ones? You'll learn the secret in Lesson 4 of my video course, Mastering French Pronunciation. Here are what we explore in each of the 8 Lessons:
Lesson 1: Introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) These symbols are the best way to describe a sound and all the course exercises are written in phonetic symbols, so this lesson gets everyone on the same page.
Lesson 2: The Anglo-American vs. the French mouth positions—detailed explanation of how English and French have opposite mouth positions to make their sounds and teaches how to imitate what the French do to sound French
Open Syllabication—the French habit of ending each syllable in a vowel which is also key to developing an authentic accent. These 2 topics are the heart and soul of the course.
Lesson 3: French vowels. A detailed description of each French vowel sound and specifically how and where they are made in the mouth. Since French emphasizes vowels over consonants, this lesson is foundational.
Lesson 4: Vowels continued: the mute e—one of the most interesting and challenging French sounds, teaching when it is pronounced and when it falls; and a study of the French vowels that are sometimes pronounced more open and sometimes more closed and how to make the distinction in contemporary French.
Lesson 5: A detailed description of each French consonant sound and specifically how and where they are made in the mouth; special attention to the challenging French “r”.
Lesson 6: Consonants continued: how to eliminate the breathiness that English speakers bring to certain French consonants; a detailed description of the “semi-vowels” (which could also be called “semi-consonants”) with special attention to the /j/ which English speakers often find difficult in certain contexts. (example: fauteuil)
Lesson 7: How to avoid the English habit of nasalizing all vowels and learning that the French do just the opposite. Visuals of the French and English mouth to explain the process. This is a feature that most speakers of French are totally unaware of, but it really affects the quality of your accent.
Lesson 8: A look at how the accentuation of English affects the rhythm of our sentences, and how to avoid carrying over these habits when we speak French.
The city of Lyon has a special energy for several reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is that it is the spot where two mighty rivers merge—la confluence—of the Saône and the Rhone. It is an exciting and powerful moment when that much water flows together. The article that accompanies this blog shows a picture of this spot as well as other parts of Lyon, but there are some aspects of this lovely city that I appreciate and that the article leaves out, so I want to add a few words of my own.
Lyon has two captivating historical parts: its origins were on a hill overlooking the city when the Romans founded the city they called Lugdunum in 43 BCE. Here you can visit a large Roman theater with a capacity of 10,000 spectators! It's an inspiring site and close by is the basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière, with its décor that always reminds me of a wedding cake!
Just below the hill is my favorite part of the city, le Vieux Lyon, a whole “quartier” from the 16th century. Adding to the charm of the narrow streets and ancient buildings is the presence of pathways through buildings that join two streets. In the 16th century Lyon was the capital of silk weaving in France and the merchants would carry their wares along inner passageways to protect them from the rain. These passages are called “traboules”. There are 230 traboules in Lyon, and although many are closed to the public, in Vieux Lyon you can walk through 33 of them. Often at the end of a corridor you will open into a delightful inner courtyard with an ancient well and dwellings above where people still live in the historic buildings with their lovely Renaissance arches. It is an experience not to be missed. The longest traboule is at number 54 Rue saint-Jean. It goes through five courtyards to reach Rue du Boeuf, at number 27. So if you get the chance, don't miss Lyon.
Because I love you, I am offering a deep discount on my video course. For such a small investment you can feel more confident and at ease by speaking French without your English language accent. I have created this course with love: for the French language and for Anglo-American speakers of French. No one else teaches you exactly what the French mouth does to sound that way and offers structured exercises for you to practice these new habits. I invite you to join me in this adventure. You will be so glad you did, like these students:
"I want to let you know that I am absolutely beside myself with excitement as I am progressing through lesson 1 and 2. This is just what I have been trying to figure out on my own, without success. You teach it so clearly and it makes so much sense. "
"Your descriptions of how to shape your mouth are very useful. At school we are only told to listen and repeat, it doesn't help us to identify where we are going wrong. Thank you Geri!"
There aren't too many women in the world named Geraldine, but it's my name (although “Geri” is how I am known) and also the name of another French online teacher, Géraldine Lepère. I would like to introduce you to her work.
She is a 27 year old expert in French language and lifestyle and her videos are fresh and fun and full of information you won't normally find in books.
Géraldine has a delightful teaching called Comme une Française in which she reaches out to expat women in France (as well as the rest of us) with helpful little lessons on choosing the right French words and expressions. In many cases she saves you from making embarrassing mistakes as the following link will demonstrate but also deals with everyday issues like “tu” or “vous” and how to order a café like a French person would. She has a wide selection of videos and also offers courses. Do check out her offerings which will make you smile as she draws you in with her vibrant personality and helpful information. The following link is one of my favorites, but it does deal with “risqué” subjects so be careful if sharing with students. CLICK HERE to watch the video. It will spare you many “uh oh” moments! Enjoy.
Jevous Souhaite Une Annee 2017 Pleine De Joie! For those who don't speak French, it says “I wish you a 2017 full of joy”. But on the right side there are lots of other wishes: full of success, of delicious things, of love, of friendship, of laughter, of health, of hugs and many more. So adding them all up is my wish for all who read this blog. Please don't lose out on the amazing sale of my video course—30% is a huge discount and it is over the last day of this year. Give yourself the gift of a better French accent. Click on the image below and SIGN UP TODAY!
With this lovely article on Christmas in France from France Today, I would like to share the love and warmth of this beautiful season with all of you. This time of year has so much significance to so many on so many levels. The Solstice which brings a promise of the light to come; the Christmas tree and the greens that we bring into the house to have the aliveness of the plants with us in the darkest time of the year; the lights, the gifts, the joy of children, the familiar music, all raise the vibration of mankind and remind us of a higher way of goodness and beauty. May that love be with us all and guide our thoughts and actions in the coming year and beyond. *Meilleurs voeux.
(*I know a lot of folks have trouble pronouncing this expression which means “best wishes”. I taught how to say it in the first of the series “Hard Words in French” which you can find on my You Tube channel. HERE
One of my favorite bloggers about France is French Girl in Seattle. She always features delightful articles accompanied by exceptional photos. The one I am sharing here is about the Yves St-Laurent exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. French Girl gives an excellent overview of St-Laurent's life and work with exciting photos and even a trailer for the movie about the iconic fashion designer who gave us so many of the “looks” we have worn and admired over the years.
And be sure to check out French Girl in Seattle you'll be glad you did
Although the French have in more recent times embraced some of the Halloween tradition, it's true that this day is usually thought of as particularly a phenomenon of the British Isles and North America. Of course the 31st of October and the 1st of November have religious significance as Hallowed Eve before All Saints Day, but when we say Halloween we are usually thinking of pumpkins, costumes, trick or treating and spooky things. I got a lot of laughs from these Halloween jokes in French and hope you do, too.
If you are like me, you never tire of seeing beautiful photos of France and reading about French culture, charming villages to visit, cuisine, markets, and all the other delightful aspects of the country we love—and that is the most visited country in the world. For a feast of enticing images, articles and information on France, I want to highly recommend one of my favorite web addresses. The website is hosted by Janine Marsh, a lovely British woman who has settled in France. She also publishes a delightful online magazine and sends out a weekly newsletter—all absolutely FREE! Janine is a professional travel writer and has a heart full of love—not only for France but for her large collection of cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, geese and any critter who finds its way to her door. The link below will take you to the website where you will find a very nice article that she wrote about me and my work. The whole operation of The Good Life France has Janine's warm and friendly touch to it. I am really glad I found her, and you will be, too.
My apologies to those readers who don't read French, but I think you can get the idea from most of these amusing takes on our cell phone use. I think the one about “how nice for the whole family to be together” while they are all consulting their devices is particularly sad. Don't forget to breathe the fresh air, listen to the birdsongs and connect with other people and animals. There's a Real world out there to enjoy and love.