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I caught part of A Place in the Sun today. Anyone tell me where the Loo ahh Valley is? I have no idea where the presenter is from, but helas it wasn't just her although she really does get on my wick, some of the estate agents called it that too. But like saying Reems I expect
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Know what you  mean Reims to Rrrance!?! 

Mind you Bordeaux - Bord Ooh!  to Borrdoh.

Royan  = royanne or Whyann

Troyes is another one  comme trois - twah

I still make lots of mistakes and goodness knows what the french think I am really saying

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Sometimes I suspect that Peter Sellers as a sideline did a  'Learn yourself French' course. These things are Clouseauesque. If it is the Loo Ahh. Then frenc law is the Loo.

My pet hate is 'already you'. Drives me nuts hearing deja vew.

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[quote]Going off town names a bit, but still on pronunciation - I hate the way many English speakers (especially Americans) pronounce Moulin as in Moulin Rouge. If I hear one more 'moo-lon' I shall go ...[/quote]

"Now, Répète après moi; moo-lan, it's *** moo-lan, as in vin or pain" ,

Oh you northerners and Parisians.  Down here in the SW , well South of the LOOOARE, they would not know what you are talking about with van and pan or moo-lan

Its moo-leng as in veng, peng and seng


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If you think that the TV presenters pronounciation is weird, how about the Brits who live in AKWITAYNE or, my favourite THE DORDOYNE?

Why do the Brits always stick in an unnecessary THE?

The Dordogne, The Gers, The Charente. I assume that they come from the Yorkshire or the Surrey.

Thr French language requires the definite article, so that La Charente is correct - but not in English, otherwise it sounds as though one lives in a river - "J'habite dans la Charente".

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Well I don't claim to be perfect, but still can't resist...

Once standing in the Tuileries in Paris an American lady came up to me (certainly heard me speaking English) and asked "excuse me, could you tell me where the loo is?". So I looked around and pointed her in the direction of the little girls room. Then (as she tottered off ) I realised she'd meant the Louvre.... Oh well I'm sure she figured it out later

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It's hard to be perfect, and it's true that French is often really difficult for us poor English to pronounce - but then our own language is hardly a model upon which we can base anything!

Pity the poor French, or people of any nationality trying to learn and correctly pronounce English!!

I've been wrestling with this problem with a couple of my students recently (I knew drastic measures were called for when a French lady told me that her mother was a sewer, pronounced like the place you find effluent, but meant as in seamstress!!)

I found this poem, supposedly written in 1923 by a Dutchman, and if nothing else, it shows how much work has been involved in us being able to pronounce our own language properly!! I guess, irritating though it is, we should be allowed a few mistakes in French

"Once you've learned to correctly pronounce every word in the following poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. If you find it tough going, do not despair, you are not alone.

Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it's written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation's OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche! Is a paling stout and spikey? Won't it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It's a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough -- Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!



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Excellent illustration of what the rest of the world is up against. Fun for us to read, maybe, but a nightmare for anyone else. It makes me feel less intimidated by French pronunciation but also means I have less reason for getting it wrong.

Thanks for that.


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French, although clearly outclassed by English, has a few oddities of its own.  Here are some homonyms to start with.....

Ton tonton tond ton mouton.

Vingt, vins, vain.

Héraut, héro, Hérault

Ma mère et le maire sont allés à la mer.

L'attribut, la tribu.

Sot, seau, sceau, seaux, sceaux, saut, sauts.

os, eau, eaux.

pot, peau, peaux

Il parle, ils parlent.


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CroixBlanche that is wonderfully illustrating the difficulties I had when I first met my Father-in-law.

He was a crusty type of a fellow and my first few years within the family were no end of gentle taunts on my pronounciation of the english language...

So much so that after some 25+ years here, when people come to my door, they are baffled by my accent! South African, Australian, Scandinavian anything in the world but French. Indeed I cannot even for my supper speak like Inspector Clousot of the Pink Panther!... and my French family says that I speak French with a plum in my mouth!! like a proper foreigner!!

Even to my sneezes! Supposedly-I don't know-when I sneeze I haven't the time to think which language?!?!? They are French when I am in UK and British when I am in France!

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[quote]Les mûres sur la mur sont mûres. Verre, ver, vers (towards), vers (verse)[/quote]

Sorry MJC

Les mûres sur LE (not la) mur, sont mures !!

Also verre, vers, ver,   .... vair... La chaussure de Cendrillon was in vair (kind of fur) not verre (glass)

Where is Vraititi?....

He would have loads of these similars sound french words.

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"Even to my sneezes! Supposedly-I don't know-when I sneeze I haven't the time to think which language?!?!? They are French when I am in UK and British when I am in France!"

Now you've got me really curious - as it's not the first time I've heard this - so please tell me more! My oldest and dearest friend, who's English but has lived in France for over 20 years, tells me that she's constantly being laughed at by her kids for sneezing like and English person, and when I last visited her and her eldest daughter was talking to us, I sneezed and the kids all looked at each other and laughed. Whatever it is, I do it to - But what is it?????


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I don't know how you speak or sneeze, Missy, but you certainly write all right.  Sneezing is a bit like aye! and ouch!, we don't have the same reaction when pinched, and as for the animals, a coq goes "cocorico" and a cock goes "cockadoodledoo" (my husband can never say that right!).

I am also taken for a South African now when I speak English, and a Belgian or Dutch when I speak French (quel merdier!).

Have you ever heard a French person say Southampton?!

Is Vraititi stiiiiiillll in Honfleur?


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[quote]Can anyone tell me how I should speak the acronyms that France is so fond of? For example if they are pronouncable do you say them as a word. Are my bank details (R.I.B.) a "rib" or an "airy ...[/quote]

They are rib or rip if it is a post office account
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