When I spent my 6 months in France (I am always going on about mes six mois glorieux!), I worked in a hotel in Montmartre and I discovered that one of the best ways to improve my french was to imitate the voice of the hotel manager.
Everyday he would say things to me such as: ‘Oh!! Vous n’avez rien compris!’ and: ‘Il ne faut pas le faire comme ça’! His repertoire of expressions also included the occasional phrase which wasn’t a criticism.
Pourquoi un modèle de voix?
Whilst painful, it was actually very useful for two reasons. Firstly, as he tended to repeat the same phrases in a similar tone everyday, I learnt them very quickly. Secondly, he had a particular manner of speaking which was clear, slow and very distinctive. This inevitably meant I found myself trying to impersonate him. Unconsciously he helped me a lot and became my french voice model.
Où peut-on en trouver ?
Having a French voice model can be very useful. When you are living outside France ce n’est pas de tout évident, but not entirely impossible. From listening to french radio and watching french television you can find yourself one.
Les critères de choix
The criteria for selection is simple. Firstly, choose a male voice model if you are man, and a female if you are a women.
Secondly, choose somebody you find has an interesting voice and a distinctive way of expressing themselves. You don’t have admire the person or like what they say. They just have to have an engaging way of speaking which you feel you could adopt.
For example, if you are a woman it could be Rokhaya Diallo…
…or perhaps Delphine Wespiser, Miss France 2012!
If you are man you might follow the cadence of Lillian Thuram’s voice…
Or you could try to imitate the intonations of Nicholas Sarkozy!