Learning by Ear: Practice Techniques
So, how do we go about this? Now we’ll go over some techniques for improving your pronunciation by exercising your listening skills. We’re going to cover 4 “layers” of French pronunciation, train our ear to listen for them, and then imitate them one at a time. Our four-part video series breaks each layer down in detail and gives you the opportunity to apply them step by step in practice. By practicing this way, you can improve your speaking skills consistently and progressively, and enjoy the language learning process, without getting in your own way.
The 4 layers are:
I. The intonation – the “speech music”
Intonation is the speech music of language: high and low sounds, or tones, as well as rhythm.
II. The vowel placement
Vowel placement refers to where you place emphasis when you create vowel sounds, in the front, center, or the back of the mouth, in particular. Vowel placement can differ widely from language to language.
III. The actual vowel sounds
Vowel sounds are made by adopting specific articulation of the tongue and mouth in a completely open an unobstructed way.
IV. The consonant sounds
Consonant sounds are all the rest of the language sounds. Not completely open, but obstructed in some way by the mouth or tongue.
Now, let’s apply these techniques in practice: