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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improve Your Pronunciation, for Intermediate/Advanced, May 8, 2004
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This review is from: An Introduction to French Pronunciation (Paperback)
The classic work on French pronunciation is Pierre Fouché's Traité de prononciation française, available at Amazon.fr. If you have ever researched a pronunciation question in Fouché's excellent work, you will have found that he covers seemingly every subject in extensive detail, with numerous examples as well as exceptions. For example, Fouché devotes one chapter, 49 pages, to the pronunciation of the mute e. For the foreign student of French, Fouché offers more detail than is needed and it is easy to miss the forest for the trees. This work by Glanville Price, An Introduction to French Pronunciation, offers the native English speaker already familiar with French an extremely helpful discussion of the points needed for mastery, while omitting the esoteric examples and exceptions covered by Fouché.
Price intended his work "not for absolute beginners. It is a book for those who already have at least a basic knowledge of how French is pronounced but who need help and advice with a view to improving their pronunciation, to making it more authentic, to eliminating serious errors, and to reducing to an acceptable minimum features of their pronunciation that would betray them as non-native speakers."
The list of chapter titles summarizes the topics discussed by Price:
General Considerations
The Production of Speech
The Articulation of French
The Vowel Phonemes
The Semi-Consonants
The Consonant Phonemes
The Rhythmic Group
The Syllable
Stress
The Vowels in Detail
Mute e
Vowel Length
The Semi-Consonants in Detail
The Consonants in Detail: (I) Stops
The Consonants in Detail: (II) Fricatives
The Consonants in Detail: (III) /r/, /l/ and the Nasals
Gemination
Consonantal Assimilation
Liaison
Intonation
For several of these subjects, e.g., mute e and liaison, Price offers basic rules and intermediate rules sufficient to improve your pronunciation, without the excruciating and esoteric detail of Fouché. For other subjects, e.g., syllabication, gemination (i.e., repeated consonants), consonantal assimilation (consecutive consonants), and phrase intonation, Price provides information for the foreign student that is not even covered or covered only sketchily by Fouché, who targets native French speakers. For example, Price uses syllabication to explain the variation in pronunciation of the e acute and e grave, e.g., why the "ai" is pronounced as e-acute in "aider" but e-grave in "aide". Where Price discusses differences between Parisian French and other dialects, including Canadian, as well as subtle variations in pronunciation, he offers guidance for the English speaker on which subtleties need to be mastered and which can be safely skipped or deferred.
Noticeably omitted from this work is any audio support, cassette or CD, providing aural examples of the points discussed. Price's philosophy on this is to give the student clear indication of what to listen for, what features to imitate, and what features not to imitate, when listening to any French speaker.
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