Mastering the dreaded French R sound

Written by on December 15, 2018 in Courses

The French R is the most notorious of sounds in French pronunciation. There are multitudes of tutorials on the French R and yet it still eludes many non-native speakers. Well, today I’m going to demystify the French R and show you a simple trick that will get you on your way to mastering this infamous sound.

In this video I explain and demonstrate the proper pronunciation of the French R. Contrary to popular opinion, it is in fact not harsh or guttural, but is actually the weakest and softest of the French consonants. So give it a try and see if you can master this pesky sound!

One of the specialties of my teaching method is to show first what we do in our native English to make the sounds, and then the very different mouth and tongue positions that French speakers use to make their sounds. To make the English R we push the lips forward and in American English we even pronounce it in final position as in “mother” or “far”, while our British cousins do not.

So to recap what I covered in the video:

# 1: the French R does not involve the lips. It is made in the back of the throat and there is no lip movement at all. #2: The tongue is raised in the back of the mouth until it lightly touches the back of the soft palate. And #3: In French, the tip of the tongue is usually held down behind the lower teeth.

If you like many others desire to sound more like a French native when speaking this beautiful language, you may want to enroll in my video course, Mastering French Pronunciation. Please visit my website pronouncingfrench.com. There you will find more information on my course as well as my many blogs on French Culture and other helpful resources. I offer a 30 day unconditional money back guarantee so you have nothing to lose– except your English Accent!

Oh, and by the way:  although I speak of correcting the accent of “the American mouth” my teaching shows how the French make their sounds, so no matter what your native language is you will learn what to do to sound French.  And if English is not your native language, you will learn more about English in the bargain!

Here’s what people are saying about my teaching!

“Actually, finally, feeling it as I form that ‘r’ in my mouth is, pardon me, the coolest feeling!”

“Your review of the difference between the English “r” and the French “r” is the first that allowed me to really get it. Now, I know that it is not about the lip position in the front of the mouth, but rather the tongue in the back of the mouth.” Catherine A.

“I cannot begin to tell you the breakthrough that has occurred for me simply through your insight into tongue position…Your course was worth every penny! I have more insight with regard to French pronunciation than ever.” Fr. Aris

“Your course has changed everything for me. I just knew there was more to the sounds of speaking French, but without your teaching I just couldn’t learn what these are. Your course is utterly wonderful – for me it was the perfect pace, incredibly well explained, and told me exactly what I needed so that I now feel a lot more confident, and feel a real desire now to keep trying to really learn so I can engage with French speakers more fluently. I want to thank you very much indeed – everyone learning French should have this teaching!” Emeritus Professor, Victoria Grace

Wishing you continued success with Pronouncing French.

Geri Metz

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