#15 the French “r”. Many people think this uniquely French sound is hard to make and sounds harsh, but in reality it is very soft and quite easy to learn.
Hard Words #14
This is a word you see in airports and train stations, welcoming visitors, so it's a good idea to know how to say it. It does feature a French vowel that we don't have in English and that many find challenging to say. I give a hint about how French speakers form this sound which is also the sound you have in “soeur” or “oeuf”.
bouilloire The expats in France listed bouilloire as one of their “10 hardest words in French” and it's an important word, meaning tea kettle. As in most of these words, it is the spelling that causes the concern, especially the combination “ill” which has appeared in most of the words in this series. We saw this in the last word, #11, grenouille. It is really easy to say: the same sound you have in “bien” or “Pierre” or as in “yes” in English. To improve the quality of your spoken French, you will benefit from my video course. Check our more information on the website under courses.
Hard words #11
Our word this time is the fun word for “frog”: grenouille. You will often see this on menus in French restaurants as “cuisse de grenouille” or frog's legs, so it's a good idea to know how to say it correctly. The second syllable is the same as the word for “noodle”, nouille. And once again, as in most of these hard words listed by expats, there is that “ill” combination which seems hard to say but is really just one sound, the semi-vowel “iyuh” as in il y a. In my video course, you learn how to say each French sound as well as how the French produce those sounds through what I call “the French mouth”. Find more information on the website under courses.
Hard Words #10 Once again we take a look at the combination of letters “ill” which doesn't sound like you would expect. But also we mention the vowel “eu” as in “deux” which is so vital to speaking French correctly and one of the foundations of my video course. Go to my website under “Courses” to learn more and enroll in this program which will have you sounding much more like a French native speaker.
This new video series on Hard Words in French has been a lot of fun to teach. One of the interesting things I have noticed is that in most cases it is not that the word is particularly hard to pronounce but the spelling makes it look hard. I started the series around the time of Christmas, so the first of this series was “meilleurs voeux”. But from then on I have been focused on the “10 hardest words in French”, a list that appeared in an online news magazine called The Local. Fr. I am assuming that these were words expats in France submitted to the magazine and got the idea for the series. The word this week, “pneu” is not really all that hard but it has a couple of interesting features. One is the pronunciation of the eu spelling, which in this case we call the closed eu. Its phonetic symbol is /ø/ and it is one of the foundations of my course, Mastering French Pronunciation. What is so important about this vowel? It contains all the important characteristics of what I call “The French mouth”. Since I am an English speaker, I have had to learn how to sound French and that is the specialty of what I offer. These little video lessons give you a sample of the content of my teaching, but the course also gives the opportunity to practice what is taught by repeating exercises after me, and also by seeing a native French speaker say the words on video. If correcting your Anglo/American accent and sounding more authentically French interests you, I invite you to look into Mastering French Pronunciation.
Hard Words in French w/ Geri Metz
I am offering a new video series called “Hard Words in French”. These lessons will be similar to the Word of the Week series of 39 mini lessons (that you can find on You Tube) but will treat words that many people find challenging to say. I am hoping that many students, expats, teachers and travelers will have fun with these words. Some of them are really tricky like “serrurerie” where many of us non-native speakers are scared to go! Enjoy and start a conversation where you share your favorite “hard words” and please comment with your favorite hard words for future lessons. Merci!