“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.
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!"
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!
#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.
This informative article shared from French Today is especially appropriate for the PronouncingFrench website since we specialize in sounds. This fun blog gives the sounds that the French language uses to imitate real sounds, or onomatopoeia (maybe you remember that term from poetry units in your English classes.) So whereas in English we say “shhhh” for “be quiet”, the French say “chut”. The last entry also offers a charming video of a mother and her baby to illustrate the word for “cooing”.
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 #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.
For all those who would like to sound more French! I am dedicated to helping improve the quality of spoken French among teachers, students and all who wish to sound more authentic when speaking this beautiful language. To this end I have produced--so far--over 40 mini video lessons found on You Tube. These little lessons teach not just how to pronounce the vowels and consonants of French, but also are an introduction to the larger work I have created, Mastering French Pronunciation, an 8-chapter video course. This course is my “labor of love” in which I unlock the code to what the French do to sound French! Do check it out on the website. I will be posting some of these videos on my blog, so enjoy these mini lessons which are an introduction to the in depth material taught in the course. My heart is particularly open to teachers of French who with this course will have the tools to continue their professional development and become even better models for their students. I would love to hear from my readers: please comment on difficulties you have in French pronunciation, words you would like to see included in my Word of the Week or Hard Words in French series, and just feedback, etc. Enjoy!