Teaching Tips

Using Stereotypical Accent to Improve French Accentuation

  • Viviane Ruellot (Western Michigan University)


Accentuation in English and French differs not only in the placement of stress but also in its strength, leading to a reduction of English unaccented vowels that does not occur in French (Tranel, 1987). Failure to assign equal weight to French syllables not only affects the degree of accent “foreignness” (Dansereau, 1995, p. 645), but the accompanying vowelreduction may considerably impact comprehensibility. This teaching tip proposes practice activities for the development of French accentuation through imitation of a stereotypical French accent. Imitation of a foreign language (L2) accent in the speaker’snative language (L1) has proven efficient in improving L2 pronunciation (Everitt, 2015). Not only does it afford learners exclusive focus on that skill, but it also allows them to retrieve phonological and phonetic knowledge acquired through exposure to L2 accent, including stereotypical accent, and apply it to improve L2 pronunciation. As it has helped Spanish learners improve aspiration of L2 English /p/, /t/, and /k/ in Everitt (2015), it may also help English learners with French stress placement and unaltered vowel quality. Proposed is a series of contextualized and communicative activities designed towards that goal.

How to Cite:

Ruellot, V., (2019) “Using Stereotypical Accent to Improve French Accentuation”, Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Proceedings 11(1).

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Published on
31 Dec 2019