Category Archives: pronunciation

French app: Memrise

Memrise is an app designed to help learn all sorts of things. Languages, art, math, even standardized tests.

I’ve been checking out the French section, and it’s not bad.

Memrise uses mnemonics (memory aids) to help you remember words and phrases.

“Je voudrais du café, s’il vous plaît.”

is one of the first sentences you’ll encounter. Very helpful for coffee drinkers like myself, and I love the politeness of “I would like, please” as opposed to “I want.” However, this is for purchasing a quantity of coffee. If I’d like a cuppa, I’d be better off saying “Je voudrais un café.”

The mnemonic is “voodoo ray” for voudrais. While it helped stick the word in my mind, it is not even close to an accurate pronunciation. So that’s a downside. Pronunciation is not my strong suit, so I don’t need any help when it comes to Americanizing the sounds.

I might check out Memrise’s other courses. 20th century Modern Art looks promising.

A question for French friends
Memrise translates “Je parle français” as “I can speak French.” Is it correct? Or is there a better way to say “I can” (I thought this would be translated simply as “I speak french”)?

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French pronunciation: A

As previously mentioned, my Duolingo Coach thinks my pronunciation stinks. Sadly, it does.

Les voyelles (the vowels) are particularly tricky.

I read an explanation of how Americans tend to form vowel sounds in the back of the mouth, while the French form them in the front.

So let’s look at the short ā, like in cat. Instead of pronouncing it with mouth wide open like a Midwesterner at the dentist, move that ā to the front of the mouth. Maybe even stick a piece of cavity-causing candy in your back teeth.

It’s not really an ā at all. It’s more of an “ah” as in oo-la-la.

Try it. I did, and Duolingo actually gave me props.

This post has not been approved by the American Dental Association.