How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

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smallwhite
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Re: How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

Postby smallwhite » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:43 am

Sarafina wrote:
From easy to hard
1) Repeat random sounds of letters after hearing it pronounced by by a native speaker
2) Repeat random phrases that don't have many 'r' after hearing it spoken by a native speaker
3) Reading common phrases out loud
4) Reading out loud a fairly straightforward text
5) Having a conversation using phrases/words that I am already confident on my pronunciation of and can say it with fluidity as it's now become automatic for me
6) Repeating words that have tricky pronunciation or have bits that end with things like "+reuil" even after hearing a native speaker pronounce it
7) Reading out loud words that contain words like 'écureuil' without checking the pronunciation before hand

(I couldn't think of what to put down for 8 and 9)

10) Having a conversation where I try to pronounce a word that I know but have a rough idea of how it's pronounced

That's great you could come up with a list like this. Do you think you can practise these items progressively? I'd probably start with (3), and cover (1) and (2) only when I have problem with the individual sounds in the "common phrases". The phrases being "common" should mean that their practice should both be productive and feel productive. But finding "common phrases" could take time so doing (4) on the side would be good as "straightforward text" might be easier to find and would give you more words to practise each time. But practising (3) common phrases should be easy and really helpful. You can find phrases with audio on Memrise and from phone apps.
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Morgana
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Re: How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

Postby Morgana » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:32 am

Also phrases here: Book2 (though maybe they're too slow?)
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:35 am

From what I can tell, there’s a few things going on here adding to the chaos. I want you to read the following not as an insult but what I am noticing. It’s blunt, but my observations. Read it honestly and try to see if you agree or not (i am probably wrong at least some of the time), but where i’m not, it’s worth acknowledging your flaws, as it’s likely a key to solution(s)....

1. you’re impatient - to go back to the drawing board and attempt to improve your pronuncation (i.e. what feels like the beginning), you don’t have the patience for it. And I almost get the sense you’d like a quick ‘golden solution’. No harm in looking for that, but I think at the end of the day the solution is going to take a lot of concerted effort and time.

2. you’re confused with regards to all the awesome advice and are a bit lost in it all and unsure where to start and just want it fixed! (you’re impatient, but not in a crappy way, you just genuinely want to fix your pronunciation issues, but your personality wants to get on with the job of using French).

3. you’re impatient also because you’re used to relatively advanced (? intermediate) French at this stage via audio and even reading. Going back to work on your pronunciation takes time and effort, but you’re already enjoying the language despite the pronunciation difficulties. I think you’re at odds with yourself because you’re used to intermediate/advanced material while improving pronunciation means slowing things down.

Ideally it’s best to attempt to work on pronunciation fairly heavily at the beginning of the language learning journey and let it taper off as you become more and more familiar and at ease with the language and how it functions.

However, you’re a long way along the path already. I advise you keep speaking, reading and listening to advanced material BUT set aside SLOW TIME where you focus intensively on improving your pronunciation. Pick ONE SOUND and work it out to perfection - how to you pronounce it in all types of orthographies. Do it to death in your slow/intensive study time and when you’re totally comfortable with it (either gradually as you go along adjusting the sound, or when you’re ready inserting it as a brand new replacement sound), apply it to your normal speed conversations. FORCE yourself to implement it (the new corrected sound), even it means slowing down your normal speed conversational French so that you do insert the new sound.

If you’re still not exchanging your ‘new sound’ for your old habitual more incorrect sounds, then, every time you slip out the wrong pronunciation, don’t worry. Stop (the person you’re speaking with surely won’t mind) and correct yourself with your newly learned (hammered to death) sound by repeating the word with the corrected pronunciation.

Get comfortable with the corrected sound throughout all of your French (conversations, reading aloud for example), then pick, another sound to focus on in your SLOW TIME and once you’ve hammered it to death (perfected it/ corrected it) like you did with the first sound, then introduce this new version into your normal conversation too, and so on and so forth until you’ve corrected as much as you want to.

Don’t let the older incorrect pronunciations see the light of day- stop yourself every time and correct them. Don’t accept that they’re aloud to slip out here and there. They must be ELIMINATED 100% of the time, seriously, if you have any chance of supplanting them with the ‘new versions’.

It appears as if rdearman has suggested a decent resource (I’m not familiar with it, so I can judge). I would add that Pimsleur is great for shadowing. It’s incredibly slow but very clear. Get a hold of it if you can and you could perhaps use it as part of your ‘slow time’. And as for any course material, shadowing works well - this is what you could do in your slow time.

Of course all this is how I see it, and I may be completely wrong and completely lacking to see things from your perspective, but it’s my blunt, honest version of how I see things with the information you’ve provided. If you take on another language, I advise that you take a lot more time in the beginning to get comfortable with the sounds of the language and how to produce them and once you’re comfortable, you can speed up your language. Don’t rush!
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smallwhite
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Re: How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

Postby smallwhite » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:11 am

Sarafina wrote:
7) Reading out loud words that contain words like 'écureuil' without checking the pronunciation before hand

Wiktionary gives IPA /e.ky.ʁœj/, which rhymes with deuil and seuil. Doesn't look tricky? Have you gotten your spelling-pronunciation correspondence down? Are your notes complete?
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Re: How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

Postby kulaputra » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:49 pm

smallwhite wrote:
Sarafina wrote:
7) Reading out loud words that contain words like 'écureuil' without checking the pronunciation before hand

Wiktionary gives IPA /e.ky.ʁœj/, which rhymes with deuil and seuil. Doesn't look tricky? Have you gotten your spelling-pronunciation correspondence down? Are your notes complete?


The combination of back C + front V, or front C + back V, or either of those in reverse order, can be tricky for non-natives, doubly so if the V is front rounded (and there aren't rounded front vowels in the L1), or if the C features a place of articulation not found in the L1. Here we have front V + back C + front rounded V + uvular trill (back C) + front rounded V. For Anglophones this is a tricky combo. Chinese natives, such as yourself, may (or may not, this is a complicated matter) have slightly less trouble given the presence of front rounded vowels in Chinese languages (/y/ in Mandarin, /y/ /œ/ /ɵ/ in Cantonese).
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smallwhite
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Re: How can I reduce my accent when speaking French

Postby smallwhite » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:46 pm

kulaputra wrote:
smallwhite wrote:
Sarafina wrote:
7) Reading out loud words that contain words like 'écureuil' without checking the pronunciation before hand

Wiktionary gives IPA /e.ky.ʁœj/, which rhymes with deuil and seuil. Doesn't look tricky? Have you gotten your spelling-pronunciation correspondence down? Are your notes complete?


The combination of back C + front V, or front C + back V, or either of those in reverse order, can be tricky for non-natives, doubly so if the V is front rounded (and there aren't rounded front vowels in the L1), or if the C features a place of articulation not found in the L1. Here we have front V + back C + front rounded V + uvular trill (back C) + front rounded V. For Anglophones this is a tricky combo. Chinese natives, such as yourself, may (or may not, this is a complicated matter) have slightly less trouble given the presence of front rounded vowels in Chinese languages (/y/ in Mandarin, /y/ /œ/ /ɵ/ in Cantonese).

I interpreted Sarafina's point 7 as not knowing how the word should be pronounced, eg. whether it's /e.ky.ʁœj/ or /i.ku.ʁoil/ or what.
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