French English Accent


Hey everyone,

It's been a minute since the last time I posted. But here's another breakdown of another foreign English accent.


For French English speakers, two specific challenges that cannot fully be explained in an infographic include the uvular focus and the syllable-timed rhythm. Whereas English has a central mouth resonance which results in a forward mouth resonance, French speakers typically have a more backed sounding resonance. For lack of a better word, it sounds more throaty.

What needs to happen in order to develop your self-awareness of resonance is that experimentation. You have to try and move that resonance mouth shape to gain control and insight. Try blowing a raspberry or saying "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm". The goal would be to really focus your attention on your lips and cheeks to focus your attention to the front of your mouth and face. Can you feel the vibrations in your lips and cheeks? Can you make that vibration stronger? This kind of attention is naturally helpful in drawing your resonance forward.

The second challenge is the French English rhythm. French's inherent rhythmic pattern is different from English. I have included some links below for further detail if you're interested, but the idea is that French sentences are divided into rhythmic groups based on their grammatical purpose. Nouns group together while verbs group together and prepositions group together. This is different from English where only specific words and even specific parts of words are stressed (e.g. 'development' - we stress the first syllable in English). The best way to practice English rhythm is to practice rhythmic sentences. Whether this is repeating after a Native English speaker, singing nursery rhymes or even practicing limerick poems. In order to say rhymes and maintain their inherent rhyme scheme, you are forced to implement proper word and sound stress.

References:

(1) Avery, P., & Ehrlich, S. L. (2012). Teaching American English pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(2)Lawless, L. K. (n.d.). French Rhythm - Le Rythme. Retrieved December 16, 2017, from https://www.thoughtco.com/understanding-french-rhythm-1369588

#Accent #educational

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