French Language

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Re: french words that sound alike

 ericd wrote:

...Sheep and ship or paper and pepper.....is another story

At least Brittany Ferries have got rid of the woman who announced that "The Mont St Michel is a non-smoking sheep".

I agree with Idun about dessus and dessous, very confusing.

The ones that a ridiculous number of English speakers (and writers) have real trouble with are maire/mairie/marie/mari/marais of course

Big Smile [:D]

 


Will

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Re: french words that sound alike

I had a Polish student once who kept trying to talk about a pederast crossing...........

And I have repeated this many times before, possibly even on here, so either indulge me or switch off, as you prefer...

At a Large French Company where I used to be responsible for training, my language training provider came into my office one day, closed the door and collapsed in a hysterical heap. HE had been running a lunchtime class for out French stagiaires, most of whom spoke excellent English, but with accents that we'd all come to understand and accept. They'd asked me if I could arrange some help for them, though, as out in the wider world they were't finding people quite so helpful and understanding. So, some lunchtime classes were arranged.

Apparently, a student had said:

"I am 'aving problems weez my colleagues. Every time I ask for a piss of paper, zey laugh."

My language trainer had begun to explain about the use of the long vowel in English, and was about to offer some helful solutions and practise, when a girl at the other side of the table put her hand up..

"I 'ave solved zees problem" She announced, proudly. "I no longair ask for a piss of paper, I ask for a s**t of paper"

Fill in your own asterisks.....

Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: french words that sound alike

Douilles and Couilles, I pronounce them both the same with the exception of the consanant but I am never understood, always a long explanation before I can make myself understood.

I think it is as much a problem for the French listener, some just cant seem to make the mental leap that a word may just be pronounced slightly differently by a foreigner or perhaps using the wrong gender, this despite the fact that they are all capable of a passable imitation of an Englishman speaking French.

Its the failure to understand a word with the wrong prefix (whats the gramatical term, article? pronoun?) le instead of la or recto verso, OK a few words have both forms but given that I probably get it wrong on at least 15% of the nouns I use is it really beyond someones capability to understand?

I think its a bloke thing, sometimes I feel like a sullen Kevin type teenager when people (always men) ask their partner, "qu'est ce qu'il a dit"? the partner usually female who has the ability to listen always knows what I have said.

I find that I have to lip read more and more especially when there is backround noise or music, the people I find hardest to understand in French are usually the timid ones of both sexes, they whisper, often hiding their lips and expression behind their hands or will look away when talking and not make eye contact, and then there are the marmonneurs who make an art form out of not enunciating their words, some of them would make great ventriloquists.

In my diving club I know probably 40 people, there are about 4 that I either really cant understand or have real problems with, one has no teeth, one has a speech impediment, one finds it impossible to look at me directly and prefers to talk to me when he is walking away and one sounds like that halfwit character in the wacky races. Woot! [:-))]

The rest of them in general are so softly spoken in public that when we adjourn to our bureau, the only bar in town that if we are lucky may still be open at 9.30 pm, I cannot hear them due to the television being on despite no-one watching it, I reckon I do well to follow the subject and hear about 15% of what is being said.


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Re: french words that sound alike

I find if Im reading out loud from a book I totally mispronounce the words and lose my accent .
Although If I cant see the words I can say them correctly, as Im trying to read the french words in English ....
Dirty Tom =^..^=
Where ever I lay my paw thats my home

I support SPA Carcassonne ...go get a dog today
http://spacarcassonne.e-monsite.com/
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Re: french words that sound alike

For some unknown reason I am very self conscious when I speak French to a fluent French speaking English person, recounting une histoire etc, for some reason my accent goes to pot and I can hear my errors and it makes me cringe.
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Re: french words that sound alike

Im the same I can talk to french people OK ..but french speaking english people make's me go all silly....!!
Dirty Tom =^..^=
Where ever I lay my paw thats my home

I support SPA Carcassonne ...go get a dog today
http://spacarcassonne.e-monsite.com/
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Re: french words that sound alike

If you're having a problem with the difference between "ou" (as in vous, tout, etc) and "u" (as in vu, tu, etc) try this.  Get your lips into position as though you were about to whistle, then say "ou - u - ou - u" and so on without moving your lips.  The only thing that moves should be your tongue; for "ou" it should be as far back as possible, and for "u" it should be as far forward as possible.

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Re: french words that sound alike

I have to remember to be careful too with dessous and dessus, it's because of the "ou" and the "u", as you say Alan.
 But I also find myself using gestures and facial expressions more than I would when speaking english. I suppose that helps take the attention away from the grammatical errors too.

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