Must be my American palate...but, hard as I try, I cannot pronounce 'chaussures'! Wanting to be able to speak french, at least a bit...I repeat after the spoken words. Any tips on getting the correct sound to pronounce words like 'chaussures'? Have to say, got a copy of 'Harry Potter' in french (and several other books) and am having so much fun translating. This is so helping my aging, sixty year old brain! Thanks for all your help everyone!
One idea I have is that you might need help on vowels since French does have some Non-English ones. =Y
If you want to simply skip to the techniques on how to pronounce French sounds then jump to the grayed paragraphs.
For single u's in French, they are pronounced as IPA "y" or the Close front rounded vowel. How do you do that? Well you must understand the difference between unrounded and rounded vowels. Simply roundness refers to the protrusion of the lips.
Now if this scares you, don't worry, there's a simple trick. The oo in English as in moon is pronounced exactly like IPA "u" This is a rounded vowel.
- Now I want you to put your mouth in an oo shape but don't pronounce the sound. Try to pronounce an ee sound while your mouth is in that oo shape.
Sounds funny doesn't it? =J Infact you'll reject it at first since you're not used to the sound but hear the difference between English oo and that sound you (hopefully) successfully made. It should like a weird ee sound but with more "background" oo sound. Try saying words with a single u in French while pronouncing that sound and you'll see and hear the difference. Sometimes depending on how you hear it, it sounds more so oo or more so ee.
As for AU in french, that can be a bit tougher to explain but try follow along.
- First put your mouth in an oo shape as I said earlier and then try pronouncing the English uh as in cUt. Pronounce the two actions at the same time as you'll get a British sounding vowel. Should almost sound like how the Boston people say their own city.
But the thing is that despite this being close, this sound is the IPA ɔ or the Open-mid back rounded vowel.
That sound is usually used in pure o letters in French and not the au or ô ones which use a vowel very similar to it.
But the issue is that so far i've been having you round existing vowels in English as English has no unrounded equivalent.
- All I can tell you is that you pronounce the 2nd vowel I had you pronounce and sort of make it higher? Not in pitch but more so tongue position.
The vowel i'm referring to is "o" or the Close-mid back rounded vowel if you wanted to look it up and hear samples.
Whew, I hope my lengthy explanation has been very helpful and informative to you. Feel free to ask for more tips or ways on how to pronounce sounds if you want. =Y
It is tough to begin with, but ALWAYS tell yourself "I speak XYZ" as well as anyone in the world!! :) It's a different skill picking up 'Language #2'; fun but tiring. So, 'chaussures', similar to how _karsh suggests below, I often spend some time thinking "how would I write this phonetically, so a fellow American could copy it?" (same goes for an American word, I guess). Obviously it seems insanely slow, initially; "What!? 100,000 words times 10 minutes a word... I'll be DEAD!", but it's where each technique feeds into the other. It builds on everything. So, "chaussures", as an American (and remember, you ONLY have to be understood initially... you can get good later :) ).. "SHOW-SEWER" or maybe "SHO-SOO-UH". Here in Europe we are a bit luckier... so many languages borrow from each other, we can recognise 'sounds' etc.