There are many American celebrities who can speak French and Jodie Foster is one of the best on the list. Apart from being a renowned actress, producer, and director, she speaks terrific French.
She has wowed us with her flawless acting and challenging roles over the years. In addition to that, she speaks 5 languages and has been a source of inspiration for many language lovers.
How did Jodie Foster learn French?
Foster learned French at a very young age. She was exposed to the French language while attending the Lycée Français de Los Angeles, a French school.
Her fluency in French has opened doors for her to act in French films. She also does her own dubbing for English films in the French version. She also had the privilege of hosting César awards, the French equivalent of Oscars.
On top of that, she has even recorded French songs. It is always a treat for fans to watch her speak and we wish we knew her secret to attain such fluency in French.
We could still learn a thing or two from her French interviews that will enable us to sound more French.
How to sound more French: lessons from Jodie Foster
By observing this interview, we will take a close look at the way Foster speaks French, her flow and accent, the way she frames sentences, and other useful tips that we can incorporate in our lessons to upgrade our French.
1.Liaison and intonation
The liaison plays a huge role in French. It is one of the important aspects of French pronunciation that adds that extra beauty to the language. Foster just nails that.
So, what is this liaison? It is a rule in French. Whenever a word ends with a silent consonant and is followed by another word that begins with a vowel sound, we link the last letter of the first word with the first letter of the second word. This is called a liaison.
Another thing that we notice is the intonation. She drags the endings of some words that make her sound like a native speaker. These are simple but effective tricks that you get familiar with through practice. It helps you to enhance your language.
2. Adding sounds like “Euh”
The French have a lot of go-to sounds and one of them is “Euh”. If you listen carefully, she adds “Euh” at the end of few words which is something that native French speakers do a lot. If you watch a lot of French movies, you can hear a lot of these sounds. It is very evident.
I’m aware that we have enough things to keep in mind when we speak French. Our brain does a petit somersault recollecting whether the noun is feminine or masculine on one hand, trying to remember the liaisons and verb conjugations on the other, and at the same time placing the pronouns and adjectives at the right place.
However, speaking a language isn’t just about the right verbs and framing the right sentences. A lot goes into it like the accent, the right sounds, expression, etc. Especially when it’s a language like French it’s much needed.
3. Ouais instead of Oui
In this video, you can see Foster saying “Ouais” which is nothing but an equivalent of “oui”. Both mean “yeah” or “yes”.
A lot of French learners including me use a lot of “Oui”. Especially if you are a beginner “oui” is like your comfort word. There is nothing wrong with that but in order to sound more like the native French speakers replace the Oui with Ouais occasionally. These little details will help you to speak French like French.
To be more elaborate on the differences, Oui is more formal, very direct whereas Ouais is more informal. It’s more like saying yeah or yep during a friendly conversation. The French use this word a lot when they are speaking. It just blends in and feels like you are speaking French naturally.
4. The purpose of “Quoi” at the end of the sentence
We all know “Quoi” means “what” in French. There is no confusion in using “Quoi” as long as it is in the question form.
If you listen to the interview you come across sentences like “Enfin, la danse quoi.” You might be wondering what does this “Quoi” signifies here.
Why do we use “quoi” at the end of the phrase? Well, there are no direct translations of this word in English. It entirely depends on the context. It could be equivalent to words like you know, whatever, that’s it, etc.
It is simply used to emphasize or stress your statement. It is also advisable to practice this at the intermediate level because as a beginner it could be quite challenging to get it right.
Once you know how to use it, it could be really helpful to elevate your spoken French. In order to understand it further, I recommend you to watch more interviews and movies in French.
Time for some action!
I believe that you have already included the above 4 tips and tricks that we learned from Jodie Foster in your French lessons. Make sure you use it and put it to action.
Cinema has always had a huge influence on the French language. There are enough reasons to be inspired by our celebrities and now we just found one more. It is no wonder that learning a language has made their life and career better. So what are you waiting for?