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 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!

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