French Phonetics Student Testimonials
Special thanks to all those who spontaneously contributed to this page.
When I first arrived in Paris, I attended several different French language schools. I found each of them helpful, but only to a certain point. Although my comprehension improved and I gained the confidence to speak, no one could understand what I was saying! My strong American accent, coupled with some deeply ingrained grammatical errors, were significant barriers to my communicating in French. An American acquaintance spoke to me about Michel Garçon. He described Michel as an expert in assisting Anglophones to improve their accents. I did find that to be the case, but Michel was much more than that. He is an incredibly gifted teacher who simply will not give up on trying to correct students' shortcomings, be they in pronunciation or grammar. Michel provides one suggestion for improvement after another until he makes a breakthrough in correcting a student’s problem. In addition to being a superb teacher, Michel is also a fine human being, one of the most ethical and open individuals I have ever met. I now count him not only as a teacher but also as a dear friend. Loathe to give up my lessons with Michel when I returned to the United States, I convinced him to continue to give me lessons and that made my transition back to the States less difficult. I have recommended Michel to many individuals in the past and am pleased to continue giving him my wholehearted support now and in the future.
Senior Vice President, Finance / CFO
National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, United States
Having studied French both at school and university for many years, we were initially drawn to Michel’s lessons for his emphasis on phonetics. His clear, methodical approach to French pronunciation, breaking down the notoriously awkward French language sounds into their elemental parts, is immensely valuable. It improved our confidence and fluency in speaking in a matter of weeks, providing us with what was lacking after many years of academic studying.
But his lessons have much more to them than just phonetics, Michel provides clear explanations on how to avoid “anglicisms”, and how to improve the use of vocabulary and expressions, and more importantly, in the right context. His teaching always has a practical application, in particular he methodically but politely draws upon our mistakes to illustrate the lesson so that we understand how to avoid them in future. We both feel we have made tangible progress with the French language thanks to Michel.
Iain and Helena Briggs, United Kingdom / Paris.
Having got to the stage over the years where I can just about call myself "bilingual" in french, I wanted to take things up a level and try to sort out my pronunciation too. It is very important to me to be able to be more easily understood by native french speakers and not be blocked due to my phonetic lack of ability, especially since I am currently working towards an MBA in french.
Michel has taken me through a whole array of sounds by showing me how to shape my mouth to produce the right sound, use the right tone etc. He is also excellent at highlighting all the typical anglosaxon errors and how to avoid them. It is hard work and not always easy to get it right even with his help as some of the sounds just dont exist for us, but he patiently gives a clear target to aim for with great back up in terms of digital recordings (which I can then use in my own time to revisit some of my issues). Now I find I can hear myself better in my daily conversations : when I sometimes still see that confused look on someone's face I can more easily realise where I am going wrong and have the confidence to restate more clearly....and more slowly too, not with a fast english rhythm.
Finally my french husband is also convinced of my progress which is praise indeed !!
Kate Rodde, Paris
As a professor who wanted to improve his French phonetics (never having taken a phonetics course as an undergraduate), I was impressed with Michel's patience and pedagogy. He's a natural teacher who knows how to push and encourage and after a summer of tuition with him, I've not only acquired new linguistic skills but I've been able to pass these on to my students. Merci, Michel !
Paul A. Scott MA PhD (Dunelm)
Assistant Professor of French
University of Kansas, USA
"Also, I wanted to tell you, now that I have done the phonetics course at the Sorbonne, I can confidently say that our lessons together were far more productive. I still review the recordings all the time, and they have helped me tremendously. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks for a tutor".
Izabel Gass Graduate Student,
New Haven, CT
(added in December 2011)
Michel has a deep knowledge of phonetics and he was a great help to an amateur like me. The improvement is fast not only with the lessons but also with the material he provides so one can practice at home.
Anna Athanasiou, Paris
Michel is an outstanding teacher. Over the last 10 years, he has helped me with pronunciation, vocabulary and text editing. He is extremely reliable, knowledgeable thorough, and very personable.
Natasà Basic, professeur, Wisconsin
I have been working with Michel for a number of months. He is a great teacher, rigorous and adaptable, with real expertise in his field and plenty of experience in delivering it to his students. Not only have I seen real improvement in my pronunciation, which has made a great difference to me both professionally and personally, but studying phonetics has also been a fascinating and pleasurable experience thanks to Michel’s encouragement, patience and enthusiasm. I would absolutely recommend him.
Kristina Valendinova, Freelance translator, DipTrans (Fr/Eng)
I am an expat and I have been living in Paris for a long time. I was born in Japan and lived there until the age of 12, then immigrated to the United States. I came to Paris at the age of 29. My work is in graphic design and illustration, so I was able to do my work in a French company even though I didn’t speak French well. That's how I had been getting by, with speaking broken French. Three years ago, I had a "Lost in translation" problem with my French husband. Sometimes my pronunciation was not good enough so that we misunderstood each other. My husband corrected my mistakes in French, but he was not capable of teaching me why they were wrong. I was making the same mistakes all the time, and I did not know how to learn. So that was when I searched for a Phonetic French teacher and I met Michel Garçon. I took private lessons from Michel for 3 - 4 months and that helped me enormously. Michel is a passionate and serious teacher and I appreciated him a lot. He was attentive and patient which gave me confidence. The French language is a difficult language, I can not say that I speak it faultlessly, but after taking the private lessons, my husband and I don't have the same problem any more. I thank Michel Garçon for effective lessons.
Yukié Matsushita, graphic Illustrator, Paris
Michel Garçon is an exceptional teacher of French phonetics. His earnestness and genuine interest in his students’ progression is uniquely rewarding. He uses a variety of teaching materials that are, in and of themselves, enriching. Motivating and individualized lessons encourage the perfecting of one’s pronunciation as well as a more nuanced understanding of French language and literature.
Mary Kay O. Lazarus, PhD, Salt Lake City
I stumbled upon Michel's listing my chance when I first arrived in France 5 years ago. It was the best stroke of luck I could have asked for. Michel's comprehensive teaching (pronunciation, grammar, reading, speaking, writing) will not only improve your language skills immeasurably, but also leave you inspired and fascinated at the beauty and depth of the French language. Michel's own passion for French comes out in every lesson and his infinite patience and support make for an ideal learning environment. I cannot recommend highly enough.
John Spyro Kamfonas, Pianist, Paris
Michel is one of the top educators I have ever had a pleasure of working with. First of all, Michel is an expert in French phonetics. I have had many teachers and I think Michel has the greatest knowledge on the subject he is teaching: French phonetics. Secondly Michel is very professional and yet approachable. He pushes his students to continually improve but you can also have a laugh with him. Finally, he tailors lessons to every student. He adapts not only to the course of study but also his style of teaching, what makes him and his classes so very unique and interesting. Working on your accent is very rewarding (but also challenging) and if you have Michel by your side you will certainly succeed in your French accent reduction journey.
Anna Sipurzynska, Paris, 29 July 2018
I started to study with Michel two months ago and it’s been great! He is very patient and willing to spend extra time to explain everything thoroughly. You can build your vocabulary while learning phonetics at the same time. Every lesson is followed by detailed notes and a recording from the class which is very helpful to review what you learned. I’m so happy I found such a great teacher 🙂
Madoka Marshall, Denver, 17 August 2018
Michel is a fantastic teacher. I have relocated to France with zero knowledge of French language. I know some Italian so I thought that French, being a related language will be quite easy for me to grasp. After a few frustrating months and a couple of online courses that provided little progress I knew I had to look for something else. I am lucky to have found Michel. His method focuses on phonetics, which (at least for me) is undoubtedly the most complicated part of the French language. By recreating an environment where one is able to re-learn how to produce (and therefore to be able to hear) sounds the way native French speakers do Michel manages to make even the complete novices to start sounding like competent speakers. Interestingly enough this method leads to really accelerated path of learning the language. My feeling is that each of the lessons I am getting from him is worth 4-5 "standard" lessons. Aside from the classwork he is also providing me with additional practice material to work with at home. This material consists of tailor-made exercises that address my weak spots. If you are looking for a top-notch teacher and have aspirations to learn the language quickly look no further. 100% recommended.
Laurynas Sadauskas, Paris, 28 November 2018
Learning from Michel was the highlight of the year I spent in Paris! He taught the rules of phonetics with friendliness, warmth, and a clear love of the French language. I already loved French and now I love it even more 🙂 He even personalized lessons for me, having me read through my favorite book so I could practice words that were important to me. Even after a few lessons, people stopped speaking to me in English when I spoke to them in French, which really improved my quality of life in Paris. Now that I know the phonetics rules and how to interpret IPA symbols, I feel confident that I can pronounce any French word I come across.
Rose Berman, USA, 1st October 2023