French Pronunciation - Some tips.
I thought maybe this topic might be helpful, especially for people struggling to understand the french pronunciation. I really suggest getting a good textbook to accompany Duolingo... Duolingo is not a complete learning system, however it is a great accompaniment.
These are a few excerpts from my own French textbook (Contacts by Valette), and I included them with the encouragement to gather your own resources. I provide a link to a free french textbook, it is a wonderful resource and used as a first year textbook at quite a few universities... and free!!
Without further ado here are some excerpts: Some letters in French are not pronounced, especially when they come at the end of a word.
The following letters are usually silent: h in all positions e.g. Henri -> enri, Thomas -> Tomas, Nathalie ->Natalie, Arthur -> Artur, hôtel -> ôtel, théâtre -> téâtre
final -e e.g. Louise -> Louis, Philippe -> Philipp, anglaise -> anglais, française -> français
final -s e.g. Louis -> Loui, Paris -> Pari, anglais -> anglai, français -> françai
other final consonants e.g. Richard -> Richar, Margot -> Margo, Bordeaux -> Bordeau
Exceptions: final -c, -k, -f, -l are pronounced and sometimes -r Eric, Marc, actif, bonjour.
Next find a printable copy of the french alphabet and put it on your wall. French call the letters by different names. e.g. W in english is called "double-you" but in french it is called "double-vay". A [ah], B [bay], C [say], D [day], E [er], F [eff]... X[eeks], Y[ee grek]
In spoken French, words are not separated. Within a group of words, syllables are linked together. e.g. un ami -> unami In general, the final "n" of un, mon, and ton is silent. However, it is pronounced when the next word begins with a vowel sound, that is with an a, e, i, o, u, and often h. This is called LIAISON.
Other resources: http://lightandmatter.com/french/ (This is a free textbook for first-year students. It is wonderful.)
Memrise.com (Practice practice practice for pronunciation).
http://www.mylanguageexchange.com (find a native speak and talk on skype)
Please add more!
This has also been a helpful link for understanding liaison. http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons.htm
I agree about finding a good textbook. I've been using Deux Mondes (7th ed.) from McGraw-Hill in my beginning French course at university. It puts a strong focus on grammar, which has been helpful, because Duolingo kind of leaves you to sink or swim in that area. (you can get the sixth edition on Amazon for less than $30).
Another great resource is "English Grammar for Students of French" by Jacqueline Morton. I highly recommend this book. I bought mine for less than ten bucks and it's been a huge help. It compares English grammar to French grammar in simple terms. This can easily save you the frustration of Googling an problem only to become even more confused by the overload of information.
I have that same grammar book on my desk. I agree, it is well worth the cost.