Two choices for this French pronunciation lesson:
In your quest for better French pronunciation, have you ever wished that someone who was bi-lingual in both English and French, who spoke both really well, would tell you what the difference was? Have you wished that such a person would help you improve your pronunciation by telling you how to move your tongue and lips to make the correct sounds? That’s what I’m going to do in these lessons.
In this first recording, I’m going to give you some general tips about the differences between English pronunciation and French pronunciation. I’ll keep it short because I want you to go quickly on to lesson two, which is the ‘French R Trick.’ That is the biggest key to making your French sound great.
Let’s get started with this first pronunciation lesson, which I’ll call “General Mouth Feel.” In other words, what does a person who is used to speaking English, have to do differently in order to speak French correctly?
When you speak English, you make the sounds about mid-way in your mouth and you use your tongue to modulate, or to change the sounds. For example, say the word, “really,” as in, “I am really excited.” Pronounce it slowly... Really.... Really. Do you feel your tongue move ? How about the word, “thorough?” I am thoroughly excited... thorough. The sound feels as if it starts in the middle of your mouth and you move the tongue around, back and forth mostly, and then up and down, to pronounce the different English sounds in the words.
Now, let’s move from the English pronunciation to the French pronunciation. To make French sounds, you’ll be keeping your tongue immobile, lying at the bottom of your mouth; and the sounds will come from far back in the throat.
For instance, the French pronunciation of “courage” is courage. Cou – rage ... courage. Say the first part and make the ‘ou’ sound way back in your throat. Cou.. cou... Now make a rrr... sound in the back of your throat and say cou – rage ... courage... courage.
Now, I’m sure that on your first day of French class, if your teacher had asked to you pronounce that word, you would have make the sounds in the middle of your mouth: courage... courage... But no, the sound comes from way back in your throat: cou – rage... courage.
So that’s the end of this first lesson. I just wanted you to know about making the sounds from way back in your throat. Next you need to listen to the French R Trick. As you are listening to it, keep in mind this idea of making the sounds from way back in your throat. That’s my first tip for improving your French pronunciation. Click this link to go on to French pronunciation lesson #2.
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