A few days ago, after I posted my long explanation about the pronunciation of the word « grenouille » — “frog” in French — a friend named Carolyn sent me a link to a site where you can hear the pronunciation of words and expressions in many different languages. Carolyn leaves comments on this blog and on others I read, and she and her husband have visited us here in Saint-Aignan a couple of times.
Here's a link to www.forvo.com that takes you to the pronunciation of the term « la grenouille » in French. In the search box, you can type in any word or expression you want and see if somebody has contributed a pronunciation. Click on the little blue arrow to hear the recording.
I've listened to quite a few of them and the pronunciations sound good to my ear. Some recordings are better than others, with less hum or buzz or static. I especially like the recordings of French words done by the contributor called spl0uf, who seems also to be an editor on the Forvo site.
Here's a link to the Forvo pronunciations for the term
« bouilloire », which means “kettle” and for which English speakers might need pronunciation help. It's just an example. The contributor I like, and who is a native speaker from France, pronounces it as I know it, and a contributor from the United Kingdom gives a passable pronunciation too.
Here's another example, for the pronunciation of the town named Loches, which I have blogged about before. Loches is a nice town about 20 miles southeast of Saint-Aignan — we go there regularly on shopping expeditions.
Another friend, Cheryl, asked me why I didn't just post an audio pronunciation of words like grenouille, nouille, douille, fouille, mouille, houille, ouille, and so forth, on my blog. There are two reasons: first, Blogger doesn't host audio files. It will take video files, but the process of preparing them for posting is pretty time-consuming, in my experience. Maybe I don't have the right software or understand the process entirely.
The second reason is the fact that I'm not a native speaker. My pronunciation is good, but it's better to base your pronunciation on samples recorded by native speakers of French. In my experience, there's nothing like having an intuitive understanding of a language, having grown up with it and learned it from your mother and father.
Also, pay attention to the country the speaker comes from. I just listened to a pronunciation of the adjective « grenobloise » — “of Grenoble” (the French city) — and it doesn't sound like the pronunciation I hear in France. The E vowel is wrong, to my ear, but the pronunciation is certainly understandable.
Take a look, or a listen, on www.forvo.com (this one takes you to the town named Reims) when you want to be sure how a word is pronounced, in French or other languages.