Accents - matching sound to the written accent
I searched the existing posts, and found a lot of discussion but not quite what I am looking for. Right now, the accent marks are not useful to me, they are not providing the guidance to pronunciation that they are intended to do.
Does anyone know of a good resource matching the sounds with the signs? When I read the description of the sound it just doesn't have the same effect for me.
You may want to learn basic phonetics of French. French spelling and pronunciation are very easy and regular so once you know all the sounds and can recognise them, you shouldn't have any more problems. The key thing is to know what sounds (from the IPA) you should hear in what places. Once you're able to differentiate between all those sounds, you can work on anything in any way you want, also through simply listening.
Some of the best phonetics introductions are on this Youtube channel. I really like them and used them a lot. Each one has three parts — consonants, vowels and spelling. Here are the links to the introduction for French: Part 1 — consonants; Part 2 — vowels; Part 3 — spelling;
The great thing about these introductions is that he makes you familiar with the basic IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) for the language, which is btw one of the most powerful tools in language learning, so it's extremely helpful to know it (not sure if you know it — if you don't you'll learn it there, and if you do, it's even more useful and you can just learn the sounds). They're not too technical or specific (like the technical Wikipedia articles), but cover roughly all you need to know about basic phonetics and orthography. Also they're pretty brief and concise. If you are learning French, you don't need to learn the whole IPA and all those crazy sounds, just differentiate between those used in French, the ones mentioned in those videos, and there are really few of them. Also the Wikipedia's IPA for... article can be helpful when you want to recap on those sounds and symbols. If you have problems with spelling, once you know the IPA for French, it might be useful to also look at the Orthography article (but be careful, they're tend to be pretty long and complicated, so don't try to remember everything in them. If you have some other questions regarding pronunciation or spelling, I'll try to help. Good luck :)
It is really knowing the sounds that I need to do right now - I have been trying to do it from text, and it just isn't getting to the right part of the brain. Accents right now are just another thing to try to remember, not an aid to pronunciation or differentiation of similar words.
Good channel that.