Common English Mispronunciations Of French Speakers And How To Avoid Them
Regardless of one’s native language, there will inevitably be similar challenges for them and their countrymen as they acquire the English language. Perhaps, some of the English vowel and consonant sounds aren’t found in your native tongue. Some languages articulate each word independently and precisely. American English is very rhythmic as a result of its word and sentence stress which could prove to be difficult for some learners to determine when and where to place the stress. The following paragraphs will cover the most common English Mispronunciations of French Speakers.
In the same way, French speakers will encounter the same challenges as they learn to pronounce English clearly and effectively. Is French your native language? Are you on the journey to communicate fluently in English? More than likely, you’ve experienced a few of the same difficulties encountered by other French speakers. This brief article will open your eyes to some of the ways to conquer these challenges and pronounce American English more fluently.
The R Sound
One of the most common challenges for a French speaker is the American R sound. To articulate the American R sound, you can allow your tongue to rest in the middle of your mouth as you say, “AW”, then begin to curl the tip of your tongue upward and you will hear the R sound develop. In the English word “tomorrow”, you can begin by saying “tomo” then curl the tongue upward and finish with “row”. In the same way, you can begin pronouncing the word “experience” by saying “expee” then curl the tongue upward and finish with “rience”. Repetition is the ‘name of the game’! Practice these words by exaggerating the sounds and you will build strong muscle memory in your mouth causing you to naturally say them, and words like them.
The Voiced TH Sound
Another commonly mispronounced sound is the voiced TH sound. Usually, a French speaker will use the “D” sound instead of the voiced “TH” sound. In American English, the voiced TH sound is articulated by placing your tongue on your front teeth, then allowing your vocal cords to vibrate as you make the sound: “TH”… “TH”… Practice words that have the “TH” sound, as you looking yourself in a mirror: Pronounce the words “These” and “those”. See how your tongue touches and vibrates on your teeth at the beginning of each word?
The Voiceless TH Sound
Similarly, the voiceless TH sound can be just as much of a challenge for French speakers as the voiced TH sound. The majority of the time, this sound is mispronounced with the “T” sound. The voiceless TH sound is articulated exactly like the voiced TH sound except the vocal cords are not used. As you place your tongue on your front teeth, you will push air through the tongue and teeth to create a quiet TH sound. Practice some words like “think” and “thought”. You should not use your vocal cords when pronouncing these words . Then, repeat until you pronounce the vowel sound that follows the “TH” sound. Articulating these sounds may be slightly challenging, but with concentration and practice, you’ll be pronouncing these TH words naturally before you know it!
A helpful website where you can search for words that are challenging for you to pronounce is called Zizifox.com. When you type in your search word, a video will play using your search word right at the beginning. This will give you an example of how American’s pronounce the word.
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