French Phonetics: Listening & Repetition Exercises

Have trouble hearing the difference between les and lait ? How about jeune and jeûne ? Um, yeah, me too. Still can’t say bûche correctly? How many silent letters are there in prompt ? Do you want to cry when you’re forced to pronounce serrurerie ?

Since I’m still on vacation, I’ve been working hard on making a pronunciation tutorial and exercises for French. Thanks to David, I’ve finally got the sound files recorded, edited, and uploaded to go along with the new French Phonetics page. I made two versions of the listening exercises – one in plain ol’ HTML and another with Hot Potatoes – and the repetition exercises have the transcripts available in case you can’t understand what the heck David is saying. (He talks fast sometimes.)

I hope to expand it in the future, but for now I’m already exhausted with just these hundred or so sound files. I love Audacity, but editing sound files is boring de chez boring.

So now, which one is it: les or lait ?

P.S. You can hear my lovely (ha!) Midwestern voice in the stress and intonation sections comparing English to French.

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  • http://unautrejp.blogspot.com/ Justin

    83% WOOT! I am so proud of myself. :-)

    Justins last blog post..Merry Christmas…

  • http://unautrejp.blogspot.com Justin

    83% WOOT! I am so proud of myself. :-)

    Justins last blog post..Merry Christmas…

  • http://twentyeighthofmay.wordpress.com/ Sally

    A fantastic resource – thank you very much, Jennie!

  • http://twentyeighthofmay.wordpress.com Sally

    A fantastic resource – thank you very much, Jennie!

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    I haven’t tried the exercise (my gfriend is watching TV in the same room right now), but I must underline that only in the East (Lorraine, Alsace, etc.) they pronounce “les” and “lait” differently; and “jeune” and “jeûne” have nowadays the same pronunciation (the “different” pronunciation of jeûne is an archaism).

    Davids last blog post..Back in Paris…

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    I haven’t tried the exercise (my gfriend is watching TV in the same room right now), but I must underline that only in the East (Lorraine, Alsace, etc.) they pronounce “les” and “lait” differently; and “jeune” and “jeûne” have nowadays the same pronunciation (the “different” pronunciation of jeûne is an archaism).

    Davids last blog post..Back in Paris…

  • Yvan

    “Serrurie” ? Did you mean “serrurerie” ?

  • Yvan

    “Serrurie” ? Did you mean “serrurerie” ?

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    @Yvan: Thanks! I knew there were more r’s in that word!

    @David: (My) David is from Annecy and he pronounces those words differently. And his father, who’s from Vaucluse, pronounces them differently too. I mostly wanted to include the les/lait difference because it’s hard for Americans to pronounce the short eh sound at the end of a word. Or they don’t know which sound to pronounce, and end up saying pet instead of pays or something else embarrassing. I can’t account for all regional variations, but I want people to be aware of all the vowels in French and their phonological environments.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    @Yvan: Thanks! I knew there were more r’s in that word!

    @David: (My) David is from Annecy and he pronounces those words differently. And his father, who’s from Vaucluse, pronounces them differently too. I mostly wanted to include the les/lait difference because it’s hard for Americans to pronounce the short eh sound at the end of a word. Or they don’t know which sound to pronounce, and end up saying pet instead of pays or something else embarrassing. I can’t account for all regional variations, but I want people to be aware of all the vowels in French and their phonological environments.

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com/ Linda

    Once my husband leaves the apartment, I will give these a try. I once thought a little French boy was asking for bread, le pain, when actually he was asking for his stuffed toy rabbit, lapin. Sigh.

    Lindas last blog post..Montmartre Meanderings

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda

    Once my husband leaves the apartment, I will give these a try. I once thought a little French boy was asking for bread, le pain, when actually he was asking for his stuffed toy rabbit, lapin. Sigh.

    Lindas last blog post..Montmartre Meanderings

  • http://noemagosa.wordpress.com/ Noelia

    Hmm, to my south-western French ear, both “les” and “lait” are pronounced the same way (frankly I don’t hear any difference in the podcast)… When in fact it should be {lé} and {lè}.

    Noelias last blog post..Bruckner Symphonies

  • http://noemagosa.wordpress.com Noelia

    Hmm, to my south-western French ear, both “les” and “lait” are pronounced the same way (frankly I don’t hear any difference in the podcast)… When in fact it should be {lé} and {lè}.

    Noelias last blog post..Bruckner Symphonies

  • http://noemagosa.wordpress.com/ Noelia

    ‘cus I’ve had some “French diction” courses while at the conservatoire and my “sunny” accent wasn’t the standard, you know. :-)

    Noelias last blog post..Bruckner Symphonies

  • http://noemagosa.wordpress.com Noelia

    ‘cus I’ve had some “French diction” courses while at the conservatoire and my “sunny” accent wasn’t the standard, you know. :-)

    Noelias last blog post..Bruckner Symphonies

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