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Free Masterclass – Day #6

Top 30 French Mistakes English Speakers Make
Free Masterclass – Day #6

16. Grammar mistake: “Et tu ?”

This seems easy enough, but for some reason even my advanced students often make that mistake. Maybe because English uses “you” for both (unlike she and her, I and me…)

Make sure to use stress pronouns (moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles) before and after prepositions ; et, avec, pour, de, à, mais…

Correct answer: “et toi?”

17. Vocabulary mistake: “Demain, je vais visiter ma mère”

In French, the verb visiter means to take a tour of something. We use it for museums, houses, less often cities or countries unless you took a guided tour of it.
To say to visit someone, we use “to go see someone” = “aller voir”.

Correct sentence: Demain, je vais voir ma mère

18. Pronunciation mistake: Beware of the pronunciation difference between the French “u” and the French “ou”

U start with your mouth almost closed, but lips pushed way forward and up as if you wanted to touch your nose. Be careful that the air goes out, not in (not inhaling). This sound does not exist in English, but all the mouth is like the English “ee” sound, except for the lips. So start saying “ee” out loud, then move your lips like described above, and find the U sound.
Tip: most students know how to say “tu”. So use the word “tu” as a tuning fork: when there is a word that has the sound U and you’re not sure how to say it, say “tu” out loud, then isolate the sound “u” and repeat it a couple of times, then say the new word.

OU is a bit like the oo of “good”, but deeper and longer.
The key to a good French “ou” sound is to round up your throat. Then push your lips forward and curl them up towards your nose (think of an howling monkey…).

Tip: most students know how to say “vous”. So use the word “vous” as a tuning fork: say “vous” out loud, then isolate the sound “OU” and repeat it a couple of times, then say the new word.

If you are really interested in learning all the basics and subtleties of modern French pronunciation, you have to hear them not just read about them! My “Secrets of French Pronunciation” masterclass comes with 3 hours of professional audio recording that covers all the common and tricky to pronounce words the way they are pronounced by the French today.


I’ll see you tomorrow for more top French Mistakes English speakers make…

Camille

 

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