Last weekend, as my husband and I perused the map of new French regions, I pointed to the area we planned to move. It had been known as Languedoc-Roussillon. Now the area, combined with Mid-Pyrenees would be known as Occitanie.
"How do you pronounce it?" my husband asked.
"I don't know," I replied. I'm okay at speaking French that I've heard, but I'm awful at reading words and figuring out how to pronounce them. I guessed that it would probably rhyme with Punxsutawney, like the groundhog in Pennsylvania. Occitanie = Ocksutawney.
I decided I'd better check it out. So I searched, on my phone for how to pronounce Occitanie in French.
The website Forvo.com popped up. It's an app, so I can download it on my phone for $2.99, and after hearing how to pronounce Occitanie, I'd better. It's pronounced Ock-sit-uh-knee with the emphasis on sit.
Here, don't try to imagine how to say it, go to Forov and choose a female or male voice to pronounce it for you. Forvo pronounciation of Occitanie.
We looked up some other words, and my husband asked to see how to pronounce his name in French.
Now we've been to France many times, and he has heard our French friends massacre his name. There just isn't an easy way to say Earl in French.
When I searched on Forvo, it changed the language to English rather than French, and even some American.
I went back to searching for the pronunciation of areas within the region where we plan to move. One of those is Herault.
I typed it into Forvo.com and the pronuncation sounded a lot like Earl, maybe a bit more like Errol. "That's how I'll spell my name from now on so people can pronounce it," he said.
Here's Forvo's take on Herault.
Guess I'd better get busy practicing my French skills.
I have a student from Senegal, where they speak French, and I asked him how he would say "Earl." He laughed and agreed that it would be a very hard name for the French. But I don't feel too bad, because last week when we were reading a story in class, he read latté as lat.
I said, "Wait! That's a French word."
He went back and read it with French pronunciation and agreed, "Latté is a French word."
Are you good at reading French words and pronouncing them? How do you get better?