La prononciation française pour de vrai by Penny Sewell
Set of 3 DVDs (5 hours 43 minutes)
Is your French at least at an intermediate level (GSCE-level, A2/B1 of the Common European Framework)?
Would you like to pronounce French really well?
If so, read on...
A wealth of experience, thought and technical expertise has gone into this French pronunciation course, delivered in French. The course is aimed at motivated learners, working on their own at home or in college.
You will need, somewhere along the line, to work through the Introduction in order to make the most of the 5 hours 43 minutes of film.
Lessons 1 - 8 focus on stress, rhythm and intonation,
Lessons 9 - 17 on vowels and lessons
18 - 23 on consonants.
Lesson 24 gives you some phrases and tips you will love.
The sound recordings at the end can be used for further study and exercises, including transcription and repetition. The overall emphasis is on understanding how French pronunciation works, and on giving many opportunities for repeating after a model. If you find the explanations in French too challenging, you can consult the pdfs of the entire text, which are also included. A small accompanying booklet enables users to work some written exercises as explained in the film.
This course has grown out of Penny’s thirty-year experience of teaching French language, linguistics and culture to adult students at Birkbeck. The formal university course was tempered with practical, intensive work with students coming to France for one week immersion courses. The immersion students require the essence distilled from the part-time course and delivered in a way that they can immediately apply and work on for practical purposes. Feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive.
A note-worthy aspect of the course is that examples are taken from live interviews with three young French people who all have links with Birkbeck. Where possible, audio extracts are woven into the course, as further examples of points that are being made. The sound recordings at the end are extracted from the interviews made at the time.
Penny’s Birkbeck colleague, Mansour Shabbak, spent many hours filming and editing, using dedicated software. The cuts and merges are expertly done, and the on-screen text was created as one would create an animation film, line by line, symbol by symbol. We had great fun catching the arrows and slashes which the computer seemed to allow to swim about like fish in a pond!
The fact that the course is delivered in French means:
(a) that practice in listening comprehension is a major feature! (b) that advanced learners from any country in the world can benefit, even if the focus is clearly on overcoming the particular difficulties faced by speakers of UK English learning French; (c) that students will master many aspects of the discourse used by French phoneticians. But don’t worry, technical vocabulary is kept to a minimum, and what is used is always explained.
As with all university publications, it is important to know the scholarly sources of the facts discussed. They are:
Coveney, A. 2001 The Sounds of Contemporary French, Elm Bank Publications, Exeter
Crystal, D. 1995 The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language, CUP, Cambridge
Dansereau, D. 2006 Savoir dire, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, New York
Derivery, N. 1997 La Phonétique du français, Collection Mémo, Seuil, Paris
Gadet, F. 2003 La Variation sociale en français, Ophrys, Paris
Fonagy, I. 1983 La Voix vive, essai de psycho-phonétique, Payot, Paris
Walter, H 2001 Honni soit qui mal y pense, Robert Laffont, Paris
Wioland, F. 1991 Prononcer les mots du français, Hachette, Paris (out of print)
Reviews of La prononciation française pour de vrai
On Amazon UK, a user writes:
“Working through these academically rigorous DVDs has greatly improved both my pronunciation and my ability to understand spoken French.”
“Ms Sewell’s pronunciation is so clear that one learns the material being taught easily.”
“I can thoroughly recommend the course to private learners of French, like myself [...]. The course would also be useful for professional people needing to communicate convincingly in French.”
Dr. Pierre Larrivée in the online educational review, “Liaison”, states:
“The format and duration of the material would certainly make it a good complement to language classes at A-level and beyond.”
“This resource is an excellent addition to the toolbox of the teacher of advanced French, and a much-needed one too.”
La prononciation française pour de vrai - About the Author
Penny spent most of her working life as Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, in the Department of French at Birkbeck, University of London. Birkbeck is dedicated to the needs of mature students studying part-time, attending classes in the evenings, and Penny’s teaching experience is apparent in these publications. Mature students in particular ask to engage intellectually with the topic and be given plenty of examples and convincing arguments so that they grasp from within, as it were, how things work. Penny has completed the Diplôme d’orienteur pédagogique (BELC) in Paris, and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics at the University of Essex. Some people have the gift of musical tone-recognition, others can acquire near-native accents in foreign languages. Penny is one of the latter: her Spanish and German have, in the past, been praised as much as her French. In addition to the well-nigh authentic French accent, Penny has exceptionally clear diction and accessible delivery - a real asset when it comes to helping students perfect their own accent in the language.
Format: PAL, NTSC
Region: All Regions
Classification: To be announced
Studio: Penelope Sewell