Too many people are hesitant to start speaking because they feel they have a poor French accent. Unless you have been brought up to be bi-lingual or have devoted a great deal of time to its study, you will speak French with an accent.
The trick is to reach a standard of pronunciation commensurate with your knowledge. You don’t want to speak Bony French with a superb accent just as a really good speaker shouldn’t have a careless or sloppy one. Besides, an accent is a sign to your listener that you are a foreigner who is making an effort to communicate in his language. Too good an accent, without the language behind it, will unleash an overwhelming torrent of French from the person you’re addressing who has overestimated your capabilities.
IF YOU HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF FRENCH PRONUNCIATION – YOU PROBABLY HAVE – AND READ OUT A PASSAGE IN FRENCH, MOST OF IT WOULD BE UNDERSTANDABLE TO A SYMPATHETIC FRENCH PERSON – WHICH NEARLY ALL OF THEM ARE.
You will find, in the front of every dictionary, phrase or guide book, there is a section on pronunciation, so it seems a waste of time to include one here.
In our next post though, we’ll give you some tips to help you improve your pronunciation and become more confident in conversational French. In no time at all you’ll be passing the time of day with the locals.