I am a French native and I will be in the US for the coming one or two years. As every French people, my English was learned through orthograph and grammar so basically I do not know how to have a normal conversation in english. I was wondering what would be the most efficient and radical manner to get a "normal english speaker accent" considering the fact that it is very difficult for me to imitate accents (including in French).

Classic English courses are completely ineffective in this case: I would like to have someone who stops me after each word that is not pronounced correctly until I succeed (like for one or two hours a day, until the problem is solved). I was thinking about seeing a speech therapist but I do not know whether it is the most adapted and I do not know how much does it cost in the US…

Any good idea to solve that problem?

  • Not quite a solution for you but in fact English departments at universities in France do offer pronunciation/applied phonetics courses. It's obviously difficult to do it with a large group in a secondary school setting but not all courses are based on formal grammar lessons, even in France.
    – Gala
    Nov 21, 2014 at 12:14
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    Are you already in the US? If not, you might be overthinking this, just try to get as much exposure to the language as possible and don't be shy. Speaking comfortably comes with practice, I am a French-speaker myself and I was able to get a conversational level in English and German that way.
    – Gala
    Nov 21, 2014 at 12:17
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    Take a drama course? Those often focus quite a bit on accents and pronunciation, since that's often key to presenting different roles
    – Gagravarr
    Nov 21, 2014 at 12:38
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    The best solution I've found so far is to stop using your native language completely at least for some time.
    – Karlson
    Nov 21, 2014 at 13:08
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    There is such a thing as a course in "accent reduction". I don't know how effective they are, but this sounds like the kind of thing you are looking for. Usually they are offered by private companies rather than schools or universities. Nov 23, 2014 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


You have to cut off almost anything French from your life during the first months you're there, and engage in conversation without fear of not being understood or saying the words badly, you can always repeat them (just don't rush them like some people do).

At some point your brain will just switch to the new set of sounds.

If your accent remains too thick 6 months into it or so, there surely are specific courses at least in the big cities. A normal English class might not help you with that. If you just want someone to teach you how to say hamburger (like in the movie :P) until you say it right, you can pay an English speaker to do that for you. There's plenty of private tutors available anywhere, I don't know how effective it would be though.

Before spending money, I would see how it goes during the first months. Practice is all you need.

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