The 5 New Ways to Perfect Your French Accent
All good French students know, the key to unlocking French is clear pronunciation and a studied accent. Learning French as an adult may seem like a difficult obstacle, but if you have the right tools, there’s nothing stopping you from getting it right! As with everything, practice makes perfect, but take into account these 5 top French pronunciation tips and you’ll fast-forward your way to a perfect French tone.
1. Tongue Twisters
Beat French’s complex pronunciation by adapting your tongue to all its twists. How so? With virelangues of course! Virelangues (or, tongue twisters) keep your tongue limber so you don’t stumble or slow down while holding conversations. Complicated words just won’t seem as daunting. Give this favorite a try and see how it goes:
Je suis ce que je suis et si je suis ce que je suis, qu’est-ce que je suis?
Practice makes perfect, so repeat it often to work out any withstanding kinks.
2. Listen and Repeat
The key to perfecting any accent! Don’t just listen, but repeat what you hear out loud. While watching movies, pause and repeat phrases, attempting to mimic the accent with each try. Download podcasts to listen to on your way to work and use car CDs on commutes to pause and repeat out loud. Not only will your accent improve ten-fold, but you’ll learn plenty of new vocabulary as well!
3. Keep Your Vowels Clean
The English language requires more tongue movement than French does; especially when it comes to vowels. Keep in mind French vowels should be clean and pure. Your tongue should lie flatter and move less than when speaking English. The consonants will be easier for English speakers to pronounce. All the same, learn how to release these with less force than you would speaking English.
4. Find a Conversation Partner
Expats abound in America’s larger cities, and language exchanges are more common than you think! Go to group sessions where French speakers are eager to practice their English and vice versa. For a more methodical approach, take courses with a native French speaker. You can even find classes to sharpen your French skills from the comfort of your own home!
5. Go back to the basics and learn the IPA
The IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet and was invented in 1888 by French linguist Paul Passy who wanted to create a global system for transcribing every language on Earth. The IPA alphabet is completely phonetic which means that each symbol represents a sound. It may take some time, but once you learn this alphabet it will make learning to pronounce new words in French much easier -and facilitate learning other languages besides French as well!
Besides English, French is the only language taught in every single country in the world. There are millions of both first and second speakers –why not start now and join this growing community?
Improve your accent and perfect your pronunciation with Language Trainers! Contact us to see how our classes will work for you anytime and anywhere. Our expert native teachers will assess your current skills and create a plan of action designed to take your French skills and pronunciation to the next level!