Ah, French pronunciation. When I was a student preparing for French oral examinations I used to walk around the house muttering to myself in French in a deranged manner. I was never entirely sure if it was correct or not- I just hoped for the best! Anyway, I made French friends in college and have spent around two years in France working/ studying since that so all is well on the pronunciation front now. That said, I speak regularly to French friends to maintain it.
Here are some ways to work on your own French pronunciation:
- Youtube Channels
Today there are lots of resources for the foreign language learner, which is fantastic. One of the best pronunciation channel I’ve came across is Learn French with Alexa. Her pronunciation videos are excellent. There are probably lots more channels like this on Youtube but I really recommend Alexa’s. She focuses on the usual sounds that are challenging for French learners. Keep working at it and you will no longer fear ordering the mille-feuille in a French bakery! Alexa has a very nice, approachable manner and explains everything very clearly. Don’t rush it. Focus on one sound at a time. If there’s any other channels that you use like this let me know!
2. “Read with Me”
Audio books (if you can get your hands on them) are an excellent way to work on pronunciation- you can simply read the text with the narrator and identify your errors. There are some short “read with me” videos on Youtube that are very helpful. Learn French with Gilian offers these. She also offers a few “how to speak like French” videos that uses the same method that teaches pronunciation to French children (example here). Sylvie Laine offers other “read with me” videos (example here) that are really useful. There are lots of these videos available on Youtube of varying difficulty- just search “read with me French.”
3. Chatting with a native
My school has recently purchased headsets with microphones to facilitiate Skype calls with native French speakers. I am so excited about this for the students. If you are a student it may be worthwhile giving your teacher this idea. Of course it won’t be financially possible for a lot of schools but your teacher may well be interested. If you have exchange students in your class, get chatting to them! Don’t be afraid. For learners over 18 some Language Exchange websites may be useful- an example of one is here.