How eez your French accent?
Struggling with those silent letters, nasal consonants and vowels that make you sound like you’re underwater?
You and every other French learner!
French is a notoriously difficult language for newbies to pronounce. And that’s a problem, considering correct pronunciation is the key to actually being understood by real French speakers!
We’re here to help you fine tune your accent and build strong pronunciation skills, no matter what French proficiency level you’re at. Check out these nine online French pronunciation guides, dictionaries and exercises for perfect pronunciation practice anytime, anywhere.
How to Practice Pronunciation Every Day
The resources in this article are great options for focused pronunciation practice at any level. But for the fastest improvement, it’s important to squeeze in some extra practice whenever possible between lessons.
- Record yourself (and practice in front of a mirror). Using your phone or a recorder, practice reciting newspaper articles, book chapters or song lyrics aloud. Listen back and you may be surprised at the mistakes or bad habits you suddenly notice.
This is a good way to practice for those who may be a bit self-conscious about speaking in front of others. You can’t keep the training wheels on forever, though!
- Listen to podcasts (and parrot the speakers). Podcasts are a fantastic French audio resource and should become part of your rotation no matter what level you’re at. A great exercise to improve your pronunciation is to parrot the audio in short snippets.
What sounds are hardest for you? Are there certain accents that you find easier to imitate than others? Have fun with it!
- Find a French language partner. Find a virtual or IRL native speaker with who can regularly converse with you and gently correct your mistakes. Hellolingo is one great option for those of you looking for a partner on the world wide web.
9 Pitch-perfect Online French Pronunciation Tools
In order to make yourself understood by real life French speakers across the francophone world, pronunciation is key. Indeed, incorrect pronunciation of a word—when you put the wrong emphasis on the wrong syllable, for example—can entirely confuse the other person (or provide them with a hearty, deep belly laugh!).
This list of online resources will help you perfect your French pronunciation. Before you know it, your French speech will be as smooth as butter and as sweet as honey.
When your phonetics are on point, you’ll feel confident and ready to strut your French stuff.
You with me? Let’s go!
The Mimic Method
This thorough and innovative site created by Idahosa Ness (who, by the way, has learned six languages!) offers a way to speak French with a good accent. His approach prioritizes mimicry, which means you’ll hear and pronounce words first. Your ears, mouth and brain will be physically prepared to learn French quickly and naturally.
The Mimic Method uses musical techniques so that you’ll learn by ear rather than by sight. The mimic method takes seriously the idea that language is rooted in sound so there’s less of a focus on writing and more of a focus on learning words by hearing them. You’ll internalize grammar rules and patterns by habituating your ear to them, and refine your communication chops through conversation (and getting used to the sound of your voice in French).
Basically, this is how children learn languages. While it’s useful for anyone, this approach is great for younger beginners because it allows you to achieve conversational fluency before learning to read or write in the language.
Neat, right? Check out the detailed explanation of how it works here.
This is an online French audio dictionary with thousands of sound files, accompanying text and video clips to help you learn, practice and enjoy the French language. The site contains vocabulary lists, verb conjugation tables and topical phrases to help foreign language students and international travelers.
Fluent French speakers produce all the sound files, so you’ll know you’re building good habits and native-sounding pronunciation skills. Both English-to-French and French-to-English written translations are presented as well. You’ll hear French words while you see them simultaneously, which is a great memory boost.
If you want to develop a native-sounding French accent, why not go straight to the source?
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
This interactive site allows you to work on your French accent at your own pace with its wide array of exercises. It focuses on very specific French sounds and syllables so you can build your skills from the ground up.
There’s even a feature to compare your pronunciation to native speakers using a voice recording application.
There are many voices in the French-speaking world, so another awesome thing about this site is that it lets you hear the variations in different francophone accents. This makes it a great site for those who are interested in traveling to parts of the francophone world beyond l’hexagone (the hexagon, the nickname for mainland France).
Le Point du FLE
This site contains thousands of links for teaching and learning French. Suitable for adults and young children alike, this is a comprehensive site for those starting from scratch.
You’ll find a whole section dedicated to pronunciation and phonetics, with guides to specific sounds, interactive exercises and more.
There’s also a vast array of audio dialogue recordings. They’re in the standard Parisian French accent, which is usually what those beginning their French learning adventure start with.
(How to) Pronounce
I love a good app. With this app for iOS you can easily check the pronunciation of a word or phrase and memorize it.
All you have to do is type in a word or phrase of your choosing and you’ll hear how a French native speaker would say the word. You can adjust the speed of the audio for intensive listening.
This app is especially a keeper thanks to the feature that allows you to make a list of important or difficult words.
FrenchPod101 is a popular language program with hundreds of audio and video lessons. It’s great for busy people who want to squeeze in some French practice on-the-go.
The hosts are language experts whose mission is to make French learning interesting and culturally relevant. So don’t expect dry, textbook-style lessons here.
You’ll get to hear and imitate French native speakers throughout the program, but there are also lots of lessons designed to improve your pronunciation of specific sounds.
Plus, there are vocabulary flashcards, PDF notes and even an online community where you can meet other language learners.
On Forvo, people can share pronunciations of words in their native language and listen to words pronounced by other speakers of other languages. Its mission is to improve spoken communication across cultures.
Today, Forvo touts itself as the largest pronunciation guide in the world, the place where you’ll find tons of words pronounced in French (as well as several other languages!) arranged by category. You can also easily search for specific words you’re having trouble with.
The site also contains an impressive compilation of travel phrases. It’s a great site for French learners of all levels, especially those who are learning on their own or those who don’t have access to native French speakers with whom to verify pronunciation quandaries.
Here’s an incredible free stockpile of French language learning material. There are hundreds of videos, online lessons and exercises with answers, among many other tools.
For the purpose of pronunciation practice, there are interviews with French native speakers as well as scenes of day-to-day interactions in France. The course material is based on the real experiences of University of Texas students who participated in the UT Summer Program in Lyon, France. So this is a great way to habituate your ear to the Lyonnaise accent.
This is an especially great site for high school and university students, especially those who are preparing to study abroad or participate in a language exchange.
If you want to knock the socks off a native French speaker, (pronunciation) practice makes perfect!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.