Think in French: getting those UNEs and UNs sorted out

From the FluentListener newsletter
Direct Link for members : La Fleuriste – download recordings and pdf here.
Non-members – check out the Advanced Listening tips below the text. There is GOLD in today’s newsletter.

Hello All,
Today, you’ll learn to say UNE (and not UN) in front of the word ‘formation.” After today, it will be automatic: you’ll never have to think about it again.

Why is this important? Answer: even though you’re smart, it will be easier if you don’t have to think about it.

  • Read and listen once or twice to familiarize yourself with the meaning and sound.
  • Echo after the speaker, practicing saying une formation. After 2 or 3 runs through…
  • Read the Advanced Listening tips. (Scroll down to see them below the text.)
  • Echo the recording 6 more times. (Since your brain will be occupied with French, counting may be hard: use your fingers to keep count. :-))

Good luck!

Advanced French listening tips:

  • First line:
    • the [‘n] in the first line IS pronounced in this recording. (It was not pronounced in the original interview; that’s why it is in brackets.)
    • formation : as a native Englsh speaker, you’ll want to pronounce it like formaSHion; but there is no SH sound here. Instead, listen carefully and note that the T is pronounced like an S.
  • Second line:
    • en plus: note that the S is pronounced. In spoken French, if plus means ‘more,’ the S is pronounced. If you don’t pronounce the S, the French listener will think you are saying ‘no more.’
    • particulière: note that it is not… particYou…. there is no Y sound in front of the U in particulière
  • Third line: notice the liaison between c’est and une. Pronounce that T when you echo the speaker.
  • Fourth line:
    • pronounce the T in faite (because formation is feminine – the agreement between direct object (formation) and past participle (fait) helps avoid any possible confusion about what is being fait.) However, don’t kick yourself if you can’t do this on the fly during a French conversation: if you forget the agreement, your French friends will understand you anyway.
    • maîtres : sounds exactly like mettre. (The first syllable rhymes not with ‘late’ but rather with ‘let.’)
    • notice that there is no Y sound at the beginning of européen.

If you don’t know what I mean by ‘echoing,’ here you are: I mean repeating just after the speaker. Instead of saying the words at the same time, you allow a slight delay. You may need to turn the sound up a bit in order to hear the speaker’s voice above your own. Look out for words that are hard to pronounce. When you find one, experiment with moving your tongue and lips in new ways until you find a movement that makes that word easier to pronounce. I find this to be challenging but fun. I hope you enjoy it!

Best regards,
David Tolman

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