FRENCH ACCENT

 
 

CULTURE

Meeting/Greeting:

  • A handshake might be used when:

    • Meeting

    • Meeting someone for the first time

    • For business

    • Arriving to and departing from work

  • A kiss on the cheek might be used when:

    • Colleagues know each other well

    • Between friends friends and family (2 in Paris, and up to 4 in other parts of France!)

    • French etiquette is more formal among close acquaintances and younger people

Fun Facts:

  • The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be a temporary structure, intended to stand for 20 years after the 1889 World Fair

  • There are at least 3 replicas of the Statue of Liberty in the city; the most famous of them faces toward her sister in New York City

  • The main bell of Notre Dame is named Emmanuel

  • The French army was the first to wear camouflage, which comes from the French verb “to make up for the stage”


ORAL POSTURE

  • Jaw: Much closer together while speaking

 
 
  • Tongue: Feels slightly raised

  • Nasality: There are also quite a few nasal sounds in French, and as a result, a lowered soft palate (velum) may also be common.

  • The lip corners will be used to ever so slightly pushing forward, as this is a feature found in many of the French language front vowels.

 
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MELODY

Major features include:

  • Weakened syllables tend to be emphasized, giving a sense of even, or syncopated rhythm while speaking; common words that tend to be emphasized more include can, the, to, was
    Example: “modeling

  • Emphasized syllables feel as if they are pronounced with unnaturally higher notes or tones, compared to how they might normally be pronounced in SCGA
    Example: another

  • Declarative phrases may frequently end on an upward glide
    Example: “for what I have seen before”


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PRONUNCIATION

SOUND

 

KIT
(“SHORT I”)

IPA

 

I shifts to i

DESCRIPTION

 

The KIT vowel is consistently realized much closer to FLEECE (“long E” vowel)
Example: “six”


FACE
(“LONG A”)

eɪ̯ shifts to e

This sound does not continue into the General American diphthong “EH-EEY;” it feels as if it stops at “EH”
Example: “place”


BATH/TRAP
(“SHORT A”)

æ shifts to a

This sound feels a bit more open than in General American—almost like “AH”
Example: “passport”


FOOT
(“OO”)

ʊ shifts to u̽

This sound almost sounds like the General American “OOH”
Example: “push”


GOAT
(“LONG O”)

oʊ̯ shifts to o

This sound does not continue into the General American diphthong “OH-OOH;” it feels as if idt stops at “OH”
Example: “so”


“R”

ɹ shifts to ʁ

This sound feels as if you’re gargling in the back of your throat
Example: “squirrel”

NOTE: When the “R” sound comes before a consonant, think of using a lighter version of the General American “R”


“T”

t

When “T” is intervocalic (between 2 vowels), treat it as an actual “T” sound!
Example: “category”


“TH”

θ shifts to s

 

ð shifts to d̪

If “TH” is voiceless, it often shifts to “S”
Example: “month”

If “TH” is voiced, substitute a very light “D”


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