The secret behind a good French pronunciation
Keywords: learn French – language learning tips – online learning
As a language teacher and an avid language learner myself, I receive a lot of questions about accents and French pronunciation tips. From my teaching experience, the number one objective that most of my students ask for is to speak like a native; to practice the speaking portion until it comes naturally and has enough language knowledge to feel confident in approaching a wide range of topics. And while you might not always be lucky to find that regular language exchange buddy, there is another way in which you can practice your speaking skills. One that is almost always available to our reach: TV.
I know that television may be less popular than ever in these times. With the rise of technology and the busy schedules, it may be a challenge. But also, with a rise of TECHNOLOGY and the busy SCHEDULES it is more accessible than ever. You don’t need to have a television in your home, a laptop will do. You don’t need to have access to a paying-platform, YouTube will do. And finally, the most important one: you don’t need to search for the perfect movie and set up movie night, a short sitcom on the go will do. All you have to do is type sitcoms, VF for “vérsion française” for French dubbing and subtitles and you can start your journey to improving your speaking skills. Personally, this method has been my practice buddy for so many years and with so many languages, it is reliable, fun and contrary to common misconceptions about television, very informative. Unlike what you may hear, YOU CAN LEARN A LOT FROM TV, and I HAVE. It is not only the pronunciation. You get to experience the culture: you get to learn about food, fashion and much more and top it off, you do all this while watching a comedy. Fun right?
Now let’s get back to how TV can help your communication skills?
First, sitcoms are situational comedy which means that the topics are not heavy, and the social interactions are what you may encounter in your day to day life. It’s dialogues at a grocery store, at a café, ordering food or going to the bank. It’s time off with your friends, discussing routines, relationships and work. It is natural and easy flowing and exactly what you need.
Second and most importantly, is the language used. Family-friendly sitcoms tend to mix between the familiar language we use with friends and family and the more formal language we use at work. Which means, you will NOT sound BOOKISH. Which is something that may be said about a language learner that reads books more than speaks with others. You learn the proper way to mix between the two according to the natives’ habits.
Finally, a short sitcom means you can press pause and play as many times as you want to repeat the word, sentence or if you want to “act” out the whole scene. Repetition is key with this method; you have the chance to listen again and again unlike an actual human interaction. Don’t forget the intonation: tone, pitch, volume; sitcoms cross all these off your list to get you to speak like a native.
Sound and subtitles:
It is important that you include both the French sound and the French subtitles. This will help you see the words you hear. Thus, you get to understand the rules behind the French pronunciation as well as the spelling. Two birds, one stone! And if you don’t understand the meaning of a word, just press pause and look it up in the dictionary: the subtitles will help you type the correct word and you can go back to the show and press play again. I suggest you watch each episode as many times as it takes you to feel comfortable enough to use the words and expressions the next time you find yourself in their shoes, and trust me, you will.
Do you want to get a better French pronunciation by practising with me or my colleagues? Check our current promotion.