Two choices for this French pronunciation lesson:
- You can listen to the lesson by downloading this mp3 recording: French pronunciation lesson #2
- or you can just read the lesson. (Of course, this being a pronunciation lesson, you're better off listening to the examples.
You'll also want to Download the list of words
that you will learn in this French pronunciation lesson. (If the list of words doesn't open in a separate window, try holding down your control key while you click on the link.)
We English speakers tend to pronounce all R’s like the R in the English word, “red.” Just feel what your tongue does when you pronounce the word ‘red.’ Red... rrrred. Do you feel the tip of your tongue rising up to say rrred?
The French, on the other hand, pronounce the Rs with the backs of their tongues. They don’t say Paris... they say... Paris.
The problem for English speakers trying to pronounce French is that we can’t help raising the tips of our tongues up to pronounce the Rs.
But until we do so, until wee stop using the fronts of our tongues to pronounce Rs, we cannot pronounce the French R correctly.
That’s right, the English R tongue movement actually gets in the way, it prevents you from having your tongue in the correct position to pronounce the French R.
Well, after months of struggling with the French R and after worrying about the differences between the French R pronunciation and the pronunciation of the French R for so long, I came up with a way to eliminate the English R from my French.
I call it the French R Pronunciation Trick !
Here it is:
when you need to pronounce a French word with an R in it, keep the tip of your tongue touching the inside of your bottom row of teeth. Touchng the tip of your tongue to the inside of your bottom row of teeth will improve your French pronunciation by keeping the front of your tongue down and forward...
... so that the back of your tongue can do what it needs to do to pronounce the French R sound.
Now, keep in mind that the French R Pronunciation Trick is only for English speakers who are learning to pronounce French.
I’m not saying that the French do this with their tongues when they speak. It’s just a trick to help you avoid pronouncing the English R and therefore be able to make the French R sound more easily.
Here is a link to get a printout of the words that this recording, the “French R Pronunciation Trick,” will teach you. There are some great words here; words like “ronronner,” which is the French word for “to purr” and challenging words like, “marguerite” and “chirurgie.” You’ll even learn to pronounce the a surprisingly common word that most English speakers slaughter when they pronounce it: bonjour. Yes, that simple greeting is mispronounced by most English speakers.
After you listen to this recording, go on to French Pronuciation Lesson 3.