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Katie
French and English Speakers

What is the best way to help with French pronunciation and speaking it fluently? My American accent makes my French sound awful and it is discouraging and hard for me to get past the fear of sounding ridiculous. I watch some French TV but I dont have access to any native speakers other than online.

Jan 9, 2015 5:31 AM
Comments · 14

Record sound very scary idea ಠ_ರೃ

and I do not want to be silly in the morning  ( ⌣́,⌣̀)

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https://a.clyp.it/oo0l5ilc.mp3

hahahahahahahahah ≧◠◡◠≦

January 9, 2015

Rehearsed much audio to correct mistakes and correct pronunciation
This method is used in learning English and helped me a lot

January 9, 2015

Look at my accent it is bad too but it's not really a problem
audio here -->

https://clyp.it/vua3mwx3

January 9, 2015

Study the IPA a little bit. Gain an understanding that we really don't have 'accents'. We simply use a range of vocal sounds to produce speech.

 

The amount of noises our vocal organs can make is pretty big, but by the time we hit adolescents we have stopped using a large number of them. I.e. Each language uses a subset of the sounds, and the speakers tend to lose the ability to pronounce the other sounds.

 

So when you say you have an American accent. What you are really saying is that you have lived your life accessing the sounds that the Americans use, and hence you have lost the ability to access many of the french sounds.

 

Good news ! You can recitify it with practice, just recognise that you are teaching your vocal organs to produce sounds that they have probably not pronounced since you were a baby. Practice practice practice.

 

1. Practice practice practice. (Check out Youtube for some great lessons on pronunciation).

2. Don't be afraid to exagerate. As you improve you will lose the exageration.

3. Be aware that the subset of sounds used by your target language will sound foreign to your ears. I know that when I speak French I quite often feel like I am just gargling. But that is the french language, it has loads more nasal sounds then the English language.

January 9, 2015

Having passed the DELF B1 exam, hopefully my advice can help guide you in the right direction :)  For any learner of French for pronunciation and as your primary method, I would strongly recommend Assimil: New French with Ease.  Assimil is renowned over Europe as the best language learning self study method and sadly - for some bizarre reason - it hasn't really made its way over to the US (yet!).  Despite it saying it will allow you to reach B2 on the CEFR, I would say it's closer to B1.  With this, I would recommend a technique called 'shadowing' developed by Professor Alexander Arguelles, a polyglot who reportedly can speak (or at least read) around 50 languages.  The idea is simple: take a bilingual text (such as Assimil) and repeat exactly what the speaker is saying, matching their intonation until you internalise it and can say it without reference to the text (Google it to get a better idea).  It should get to the point where you can be in the shower or just a random walk and be able to repeat verbatim whole conversations!  For listening, I would use LingQ.  Podcasts with transcripts developed by Steve Kauffman, another polyglot who provides a fun way to learn, as you can be on the bus, train, etc and be able to listen and have access to the vocabulary (: 

The main ingredient though, is time!  With the French accent especially and the guttaral 'r' sound, it will come naturally after you apply the shadowing technique.  And it is pretty cool when it does ;D 

 

(Note: that for any language, not just French, I would use the exact same techniques i.e for Spanish, Chinese, etc) 

 

Bonne chance ! 

January 9, 2015
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Katie
Language Skills
English, French, Spanish
Learning Language
French