native english speakers: french pronunciation help/tip

so my girlfriend is a native english speaker but has had 14 years of formal french training and she gave me these pronunciation tips the other day:

English pronunciation breaks up syllables after a vowel-consonant or vowel-consonant-consonant, example: Consonant: Con-Son-Nant.

In English, you rarely see two vowels next to each other that are pronounced individually; vowels give consonants their sounds. In a word like vowel, the W works overtime to round out both syllables: Vow-Wel.

In French, the vowels are more prominently pronounced, so they split up syllables on vowel endings. example: Parisien Pa-Ri-Si-E(n)

Hope that helps out! It's hard to describe in text. If anyone else has pronunciation tips, leave a comment, s’il vous plaît.

July 15, 2014


This is actually very interesting. Specifically the vowel/consonant argument. Helps with my understanding of words when I encounter them in My French-English Dictionary. Merci

July 17, 2014

merci merci merci!

July 17, 2014

It is interesting! My girlfriend said once she learned this (from her first french teacher) it opened up everything for her.

This tip has immensely help me out with pronunciation which was waaay behind my other skills. I'm slowly going through Le Petit Prince and my girlfriend demonstrates this for me. Just choose a word and take your finger and place it after the vowel for each syllable. So, Parisien becomes Pa-Ri-Si-E(n). Do it with a french accent and boom, you're there. For fun, try doing the same thing with an English accent to compare, then it becomes Par-Ris-Sie-N.

It takes practice but I hope it helps you guys out as it has me!

July 17, 2014

Thanks again. Would you suggest that as a beginning book? I have been trying to find something to start out with...sounds like Le petit prince could be a winner.

July 17, 2014

if you're at level 7 on Duolingo then I imagine you could start it. It would definitely improve your vocab. There are a lot of words not covered on Duolingo that you'll find in there. For example, words that translate to "adult" and "boa constrictor." Good luck!

July 17, 2014

Merci, beaucoup! A big help!

March 2, 2017
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