Watch Americans Try to Pronounce French Names

Manon. Timothé. Maëlys. Amandine. Héloïse. How many can you pronounce?

French names can be quite baffling to read and pronounce. French has five accents and American English has zero accents (unless you’re reading the New Yorker). In French, the emphasis on a word goes in the middle (Par-ee), while in American English, the emphasis goes the end (Par-iss). Ever been told by a French person that Americans sound nasally? They’re kind of right. The sounds Americans make are all shaped and distinguished at the front of our face, like in our sinuses! The French form their words at the front of their mouth. Germans, meanwhile, shape sounds using their throats, and Italians–as one Italian grandfather told me–speak from the heart. Say a few French and English words aloud and see if you can feel the difference.

If you can take what you learned about where in your mouth to form sounds when you’re speaking French, and put it to work, you’ll pronounce French names way better than these Americans!

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