Lesson Transcript

Hey, everyone! This is Pierre from FrenchPod101.com. Today, you will learn how to pronounce the letter R in French like a native speaker. This is quite an annoying letter, R, in French R. After this lesson, you will be able to pronounce R like a perfect person and you will not face this embarrassing situation where you try to say a word in French with R but you're not understood because you mispronounce the R. So with this, you will be able to understand how to say R.
French R is really different from the English R and this is a sound rr… rr... that doesn't exist in English. So this is a new consonant that you need to learn when you start learning English. This is a bit like in the word eradicate. In English eradicate, er… er…, eradicate, er… So this is the same idea except that the R is from the throat. So this is the big difference. We need to use our throat to make this sound happen.
So here are some tips for you to pronounce that letter.
So this is vibrations coming from your throat and chest. R is not something from just your throat like an English R, something like from your throat. It's more something like vibrating. You need to make your throat vibrate. R, this is something like that.
When you do some gargling like you put water in your mouth and you do, rrr… this is the sound that you need to use, rr… like rrrr… rrr… Try to make this sound. This is a good training for you. Rrr… rrr… rrrr…. You can even try it with water if you want, but you can do it without, rr… grr… grrr… So try try to understand that your throat is vibrating when you do this sound, rr… rr…
In French when you do angriness like an angry dog or when someone in a comic is angry, usually we use these letters. I guess we can also use that in English and the pronunciation is like grr… grr… rr… grr… So we need to make this sound again, the vibration of the throat, grr… grr… like grr… This is the sound that a dog would make if he need to show his angriness. This is grr…
As you can see here, the letter G is quite interesting to make this sound happen. This is the kind of the continuation of the sound /g/ /r/. So if you try to say g…g...g…, you start to feel that your throat is vibrating. If you try to exaggerate, to force this sound g… g… g…, you can make this sound happen like the R, gr… grr… grr… grr… This is a kind of continuation of G, grr… grr… So if you try to do that, you can have this sound happen in your mouth.
So here are four tips. Remember vibrations, you need to make you throat vibrate. Then this is a bit like gargling or when you're angry or the kind of continuation of the sound of the letter G, grr… grr… grr… So try to say grr… or doing all those exercises in front of your computer. This is a good training.
Here are some words and you can try with this word so I'm going to just pick one first, rater, rater, rater. Rater is “to fail”, rater, rr… rater, rater. You can try to pronounce that, rater, rater “to fail”, je rater “I failed”, rater, rater. It’s okay if you exaggerate. This is the first way to get used to the sound like it's always exaggeration at first and then you will be used to making this sound so this is good.
Here, let's take another example, the example of big. In French it’s grand… grand. So here you can see G-R that's why I'm taking this sound because this is a bit like the continuation of the sound produced by the letter G. So here, it's like a kind of grrr… so grand, grand. So try to say it grand, grand. Sometimes, people when they are snoring, the sound that they make is qrr… so this is like the letter R. So if you snore, maybe you are able to do this sound, grrr, grrr.
So here, let's have a look of all the consonants that are mixed with R and the sound that is produced. So here, this is the eight letters that can be combined with R to make a kind of sound. So we will train for all those eight sounds.
So first, so it's alphabetical order. So here, bras, bras. This is “arm”, bras, bras. Bras… you need to feel the vibration here, bras, bras… bras. So try to say it, bras. Did you do it? You should do it.
Crrr, crrr. Now crier “to shout” when I’m shouting, crier, crier… crr… crr… crier, okay.
Next one is D-R, droite. It means like “write”, droi… droi… droi…“write”.
The next one is France like you're learning French so you need to say in French, france in French, F-R, france… france… france…france… This is the sound that you need to remember.
Then G, we've seen that before, grrr… grrr.... grand, grand.
The next one ready when you're ready prêt. You say prêt in French, prêt… prêt, P-R, pr… pr... prêt, the vibrations.
Then “true” like vrai… vrai in French, vrai… vrai… vrrr… vrrr… This is also the sound that we use in comics for the noise made by car. A car is usually making this sound in French. I guess it's the same in English, vrrr… vrrr… vrrr… vrai, vrai “true”, vrai, vrai.
The last one is trrr… T-R, très “very”, it’s very good. If you want to say, “it’s very big”, very big, you would say très...grand, très...grand, très grand, très. Sometimes, it's hard to differentiate drrr and trrr, drrr… trrr, dr… tr… tr… Droite, très. Très, doite, très, doite.
So try by yourself to say all those sounds. If you can manage one by one to train that and if you do the sound by yourself, it's a super training for you like you will be used to say all the common sounds with R. So this is a good training. So remember that and try to pronounce those words. You can also find some other words that you've learned before with R and try to say it. The idea is to say it. You need to say it. You cannot just watch a video of me saying that. You need to do it yourself; otherwise, you will never remember. Your throat, your mouth will never remember the sound so you need to do that.
Here are some maybe easier sounds with vowels. So here, we've seen that before, R-A, ra… rater “to fail”, rater, rater, ra… So you can try to say it, rater, rater.
The next one is “to redo” refaire, re… re… R-E, re… re. So I know R is sometimes hard to say but you have to say re… re… re…
The next one is rester “to stay”. So here, you can see it's R-E, but the pronunciation is like if there were an accent here so it’s ré, ré, ré. So you have to say rester, ré… ré… ré...
The next one is “rice” riz...riz… R-I, riz… So here, be careful. The Z is silent and here as well, the R is silent. This is only this R that is not silent and here so riz, riz, riz, riz, an easy sound.
Then rocher “a rock” rocher, rocher, rocher.
Then rue, rue “a street” rue, rue.
So we've seen all the basic letters, all the basic vowels in French, but in French, we've got some additional vowel sounds. This is roi, roue, ren and there are some others, but we will focus on those for now.
Roi, roi. This is quite easy. If you have difficulties to say O-I in French, you've got this technique. It's like ro + so it's like when you say ro...a… So in French, you know it's a, a, like you don't say a, it’s a. So if you want to read that, it's a and this is ro...ro...a… roa, roa. So this is a way to say it, but it’s a bit different from the way I'm saying it, roi, roi... because I'm saying it more fluently like roi like it's smoother, roi, roi, roi. It means “king” roi.
Next one is roue “wheel” roue, roue… roue… okay?
Last one is ren like it's the case for E-N or A-N. You know, E-N and A-N, it’s exactly the same sound in French. Rentrer, rentrer, rentrer. So here, you can see that we've got two R and even one more, but this one is silent because it's a verb. I will explain that later, silent R. So here, rentrer… rentrer… rentrer… If you can say this word, it's really good because here you've got R so this annoying R but also this sound /en/ which is quite hard to say. Also a combination between one consonant so T with R, so if you can try this word, this is kind of the word that, if you can say it, it means you've mastered the R, the r… r… rentrer.
So this is some common vowels. We've got all the sounds but this is kind of common and if you know how to say one, you're supposed to know how to say the others if you know another sound.
So the last one, I would like to show you three more examples. So you see here, you know how to say that in French? It’s ère...ère...ère. This is like the letter because in French we don't say that R, it’s ère...ère. So this is the sound ère and we've got words that are using this sound. So here when you want to say “proud” in French, you say fier, fier… fier. So the sound is like ère, fi...er, fi...er.
Then two others, really common words, “father and mother”, père, mère, père, mère, père, mère, again, vibrations. So here, it’s like the same pronunciation than when you just spell the letter, ère… père, ère… père, the letter R, ère…, “father” père. Can you do it? Can you try to make it? Mère, père and you can try with other vowels if you want like here it's P, but you can also try with T, tère, tère. It means like to shut your mouth like to be quiet, tère, tère. So this is quite interesting if you can master those examples as well. You should train with that.
Here, you've got one extra rule like this is concerning the silent R because R is sometimes silent only when it's at the end of words and in two specific cases.
The first one is when there is a verb from the premier groupe “first group” if you know what it is in French, first group. They're all ending with E-R and those verbs ending with E-R, the R is always silent. So here, rester “to stay”, rester, R is silent, the last R. Here again, rentrer, here, the R is silent. So this is the first case and the second case is premier, premier. It's an adjective and it means “first” and this adjective is always silent here. Here, you can see that you've got another R so you can also train this word, premier, premier. It’s like P, P-R so premier. But you have to be careful because this silent R, there is the liaison that is used with this letter. When a letter is silent, there is always this rule of the liaison. It means that when there is a word starting with a vowel after a word ending with a silent R, you've got to say the R. So here, when you want to say “the first child” le premier enfant, le premier enfant, you need to do that, le premier enfant, le premier enfant. This is the same sound than here, ren, le premier enfant. It’s like you get rid of this letter and you add an R here. You say the word premier like if the R was silent, le premier and then you add an additional R sound here before the word so instead of saying enfant, you say renfant… renfant… here, le premier enfant.
Here, this is a case where there is no vowel, le premier fils. So here, you don’t say it so be careful. It's only when there is a vowel, okay.
So let's wrap it up. We've seen that R is a sound coming from your throat. This is vibrations, really important. You need to feel those vibrations. With this, if you want to try to mimic the sound, you can think of gargling like when you're gargling, rrr… grr… grrrr…, this is the sound that you need to do. Also, this is the sound of angriness, grr…, grr… grr… and as you can see here, the continuation of the sound g… g... g… The beginning of the vibration is made when you do G and then grr… grr. Here, we've seen a lot of examples like consonants with R so brrr… crrr… drrr… frrr… grrr… prrr… vrrr… trrr... okay. Can you try to do it? It's a good exercise if you can do it. Then we've seen some vowels, ra, re, ré, ri, ro, ru, but also some extra ones, roa, rou, ren; roa, rou, ren. Also, ère, some words using the letter R as if you were spelling it, ère, ère, père, mère, fier. Don’t forget that sometimes R is silent in two specific cases, remember those cases, ending verbs with E-R at the end and premiere. With the premier in particular, there is sometimes this liaison when there is a vowel after the adjective. So with this, you can master R. You can watch this video again if you're not sure, but also if you want to hear my accent, this is a good training but also you can train by yourself and say those words. This is really important.
So that's all for this lesson. Do you have any questions? If you have questions, you can still ask on the comment section. This is really interesting for you to get answers. Be sure to check the ultimate guide of French pronunciation on FrenchPod101.com. You can find the link on the description. That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed this video. See you next time!