Tips to Improve Your French Accent
We all know it’s difficult. It’s one of those languages that can make a fool of anyone — and I’m not here to discourage mistakes, they’re what help us learn — what I want to do is make you aware of some methods for improving your accent, to help you sound like a natural French speaker.
First, it should be noted that the reason we struggle with new languages is our set of rules from pronunciation in English; when we see a set of letters together, we speak it the way we’ve been taught since the early days, and while it’s not going to be easy, making a concerted effort to leave this behind while we learn a new set of rules will undeniably aid the cause.
The way we pronounce the ‘r’ in English is what will often give us away as foreigners, as it’s a long way from the way most other languages — especially of the Latin variety — pronounce it. So right off the bat you should rid yourself of this troublesome little letter; the French make it more guttural, it comes from the same position as our ‘g,’ watch some videos and practice this until you get it right.
Next, you need to be careful to pronounce the vowels correctly. The good thing about many other languages, including French, is that they’re phonetic; they pronounce words the way they are written. English on the other hand seems to pay little attention to that, think of the word “comfortable,” do you really pronounce the vowels clearly? This is an easier problem to fix but an important one, make sure to pronounce each syllable as it appears.
I’ve said this one before and I’ll say it again: listen to music and watch movies in French. Don’t be passive about it, sing along, repeat what they say, this all helps you to memorize new words and phrases plus greatly improves your accent. What’s great about listening to music, is that it’s shown to be an incredible memory booster, even better is that you can take it anywhere in an MP3 player, listen on the plane, on your morning run, and it’s unobtrusive so there’s no excuse!
Like any language the best thing you can do is practice, there really is no substitute for it. Learning a language takes time and you’re unlikely to see many improvements as soon as you’d like, but sticking at it and pushing through the inevitable second thoughts are what will take your French to the next level. Take our online French level test to discover your skill level, or you can inquire with any questions you might have.