What is the most common mistake I encounter from my English and French speakers? Do you really want to know?
Well, it’s not a particular grammar mistake at all. It’s something much more basic. 60% of English is basically French. That is the good news and the bad news at the same time. But just because it looks the same, feels the same and you think they are the same, you are extremely wrong!!
French and English might have 10,000 words in common but just because “reception”, “hotel” or “bus” look the same, they are pronounced totally differently. So everyone has a pronunciation problem when they try to master the other language. If you are a French speaker you have no idea why pronounce “aidia” and not “idee” and if you are an English speakers you cannot comprehend why “internet” is “anternet”. Does not make any sense, does it?
So what can you do about this most frequent problem? The answer might surprise you: be curious!
Listen to what’s going on around you. Listen how people speak to each other in the street, in front of you in the queue, at the skating rink, at the restaurant, on tv, in the cinema. If you actually started deeply listening to your surroundings, you would be shocked. People talk about very private issues quite openly on their mobile phones, at the next table. You would learn so much about their lives if you just listened. And while listening you would “ just know” that private issues are “praivit” in English and “privé” in French.
So be curious and listen. You might learn so much more than pronunciation.