Expugnator wrote:Since this has become the spot for evaluating French accents, I hope PM doesn't mind my sharing of my own record (also posted at my log)>
Thanks for sharing Expugnator,
Sounds very good to me Expugnator. From my experience with French phonetics and being a non-native I'll say the following... Natives have great experience to draw on as having naturally acquired the language in a way that instills the 'real' language into their brain from exposure and usage, but they don't necessarily study the intricacies of their own language (although perhaps they do in French?) I wouldn't be fantastic on English phonetics by any means, so maybe this is something unique to the Anglo world. I'm not saying in anyway whatsoever Arnaud isn't qualified to provide input here, I'm just saying that I can add a different perspective too, which may also be of some value, or not.
I can also hear that your pronunciation of essayer sounds like /esaje/. Arnaud mentions that it should sound like /esɛje/ (if not familiar with phonetics think French "ai"), which I agree with. He may also know what I"m about to say too, but it can also sound like this: /eseje/ more often than not perhaps. Strictly speaking it should be /esɛje/, but in reality it often is /eseje/ (Arnaud would know that 'reality' better than myself- i'm basing that on my focus on phonetics sitting at my desk in Australia and from other background reading).
My 'Dictionnaire de la langue française basé sur le TLFi, le Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé' which draws from three sources including 'Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales' states this for the pronunciation of essayer: [esεje] ou, p. harmonis. vocalique, [eseje] which can also be found here ("prononciation et orthographe" found near the bottom of the page in this link): http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/essayer
I remember reading something about this in my old Collins Robert 5 inch thick old dictionary that went something like this if I recall correctly: when /ε/ is followed by a consonant or semi-vowel then /e/ immidiately after, that the initial vowel sound of /ε/ has a tendency to become /e/. ie essayer /esɛje/ becomes /eseje/ for smoother speech with a succession of open syllables requiring closed vowel sounds /e/ (/ε/ is usually heard in closed syllables, with being French of course many exceptions). You may have already been aware of this stuff, but the "a" in essayer threw you. The last comment on this sound is that often as the first "e" gets altered in everyday speech to sound more closed /e/ these two sounds can almost merge or meet in the middle perhaps nearly sounding indistinguishable as one has a natural tendency to alter the sound to be more like /e/ but doesn't quite get 100% of the way from /ɛ/ to /e/.
Sometimes but not always (a couple of times only) I think your nasal vowel sound /ɔ̃/ "-on" is not being quite deep enough ("intonation" at 20 seconds, "leçon" at 22 sec), but this is really really minor, as it seems very good elsewhere.
I also hear in that same pronunciation of "leçon" (at 22 seconds) the 'e' as /ɛ/ instead of /ə/. As the sllable is not closed which would render it /ɛ/ it should not be pronounced /ɛ/. It shouldn't be pronounced /e/ either as it does not become /e/ because there is no accent aigu (é) present over 'e'. That leaves unstressed e /ə/. Phonetically then it is like this /ləsɔ̃/.
The other word I noticed seemed a little odd in your pronunciation was "bien". It sounds like /bjɑ̃/ whereas it should sound like /bjɛ̃/ (the nasal vowel to me seems a little off)
It might seem like i'm picking your recording apart. These a minor things in my opinion. I honestly think your French sounds better than 99% of other foreigners I've heard speak French and for the remaining 1% equal to them (I've not heard better).
Arnaud wrote:Perhaps it would be better to open a dedicated thread to the subject...Expugnator wrote:Since this has become the spot for evaluating French accents, I hope PM doesn't mind my sharing of my own record (also posted at my log)>
Good accent, easy to understand, so nothing special to say, as native speakers of romance and slavic languages have generally less difficulties than our friends speaking english: the R is a little eaten here and there, and the "ay" group in essayer (0'.12'') is not pronounced correctly: it's not "a+yer" but "ai+yer".
A little trick often taught to children is that the letter y works like a double i when placed between 2 vowels: so essayer is like "essai+ier"->"essaiier"->"essayer". (the words from the root "pays" are also pronounced with the "ai" sound)
Feel free to move any of these posts Arnaud. For the moment i'm happy to reply here on the existing posts by Expugnator, but if the topic grows (more users were to add more sample recordings) I'd prefer it elsewhere. Thanks for sharing guys!