Little can compensate native English speakers for the fact that French can be so hard to pronounce – except perhaps the knowledge that our accents make us sound sexy. We may feel that we are mangling the language – and often, we are – but the result is usually well received.
Think of it as payback for French people sounding sexy when they speak English. It turns out the same is true in reverse.
Ironically, one of the mistakes that both sets of speakers make is to elongate vowel sounds. Eeet ees a beet like thees leestening to French people speak Engleesh. We sound similar when we speak French, I am assured.
We make other errors in our pronunciation too – confusing the ou and u sounds or pronouncing silent consonants at the end of words. And the rhythm of the language is hard for us to get right too.
French seems much harder to master than some other languages. I had my first French class at the age of 10. Now, here I am some 30+ years later and I still don’t sound like a native. I have accepted that I never will.
“I had my first French class at the age of 10. Now, here I am some 30+ years later and I still don’t sound like a native”
That said, some of my British friends say they wish they spoke French with an accent like mine. I studied in Rennes and I’ve worked in Paris and Brussels, so it is understandable that I should have a better command of the language than some of my countrymen. But I still have some way to go.
In my experience, the thing that can have the most impact on how you speak is spending more time with native speakers.
If that means spending more time in France, so be it.