An accent occurs when sound patterns from a native language(s) influence the pronunciation in the second or third language. Although every accent is different, there are popular mispronunciations for adults who learned French before they learned English (referred to as F1 speakers below). Here is a description of frequently occurring French accent sound targets.
How To Pronounce The H Sound
Adults who spoke French before learning English regularly have difficulty using the English “h” sound. In French, the "h" sound is silent and so F1 speakers are in the habit of ignoring that letter when they see it in a word. In English, the "h" sound is not silent and so F1 speakers who want to improve their English pronunciation will have to practice pronouncing that "h" sound.
The word “happy” becomes “appy”
The word “hair” becomes “air”
How To Pronounce The R Sound
F1 speakers tend to have stronger “r” sounds than the typical Canadian or American English speaker. Part of our work is to reduce the rolling of the French R sound to make it sound more like the Canadian/American English "r" sound.
Short I Sound
How To Pronounce The Short I Sound
F1 speakers commonly to elongate their “i” sounds so that a word like “tin” sounds like the word “teen.” Part of our work is training the F1 speaker to learn a new vowel sound for “i” and apply that new vowel sound to words containing the short "i" sounds
The word “bin” becomes “bean”
The word “fit” becomes “feet”
The word “pinnacle” become “peenacle”
How To Pronounce TH Sounds
F1 speakers often pronounce the TH sound with their tongue farther back than native Canadian and American English speakers. The latter pronounces these sounds with the tongue sandwiches between the top and the bottom teeth. As a result, F1 speakers often substitute the TH sound with something that resembles a "d," "z", or "t" sound. Consider the word “the,” do you pronounce it the same way as “duh” or "zuh"?
The word “through” becomes “true”
The word “although” become “alzo” or "aldo"
The word "then" becomes "zen" or "den"
Hooked U Sound
How To Pronounce The Hooked U Sound
English is a tricky language from a pronunciation perspective. There are more vowels than most other languages and often the intended vowel is not clearly indicated by the spelling. For this reason, F1 speakers often have a hard time with a sound called the "hooked u." The "hooked u" is a sound that often is symbolized by a double "o, " like in "look." Consider for a moment the difference between "look" and "Luke". Do you pronounce them the same, or differently? If you are a F1 speaker without specific practice with this sound, you probably pronounce them the same. This "hooked u" is an easy skill to grasp, and we are here to guide you through this minor pronunciation adjustment.