from My Fair Lady:
Professor Henry Higgins: All right, Eliza, say it again.
Eliza Doolittle: The rine in spine sties minely in the pline.
Professor Henry Higgins: [sighs] The *rain* in *Spain* stays *mainly* in the *plain*.
Eliza Doolittle: Didn’t ah sy that?
Professor Henry Higgins: No, Eliza, you didn’t “sy” that, you didn’t even “say” that. Now every night before you get into bed, where you used to say your prayers, I want you to say “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” fifty times. You’ll get much further with the Lord if you learn not to offend His ears.
We (Ken, Julie, Will, Mark, and Sabrina) are all Eliza. Poor Andrea is Professor Higgins. While Andrea is three inches away from my face, staring at me intently, encouraging me with, “Don’t say you can’t make that sound, just say that you can’t make it YET!”
I take a deep breath and murder the French “L” like no other.
So, I will try to type-teach it to you – and maybe then it will enter my repertoire (see, I can at least think of a French word!).
Step 1: Say “all” like any American. Feel how the back of your tongue is at the bottom of the back of your mouth.
Step 2: Now, put your whole tongue UP and touch the roof of your mouth, with the sides of your tongue touching the insides of your top back teeth.
Step 3: Keep it there.
Step 4: Put your thumb and index finger of one hand on either side of your lips so that your lips don’t move.
Step 5: Say “all.”
There, you have made a nice light airy “L,” not the hard harsh “L” we rough Americans are known for.
By the way, it’s really hard not to laugh when someone is up-close staring intently at your mouth while you try to get it to do things it has never done.
We are blessed to have excellent and patient instructors! Sabrina is very good at trilling, the rest of us – works in progress. She is trilling in the halls, just because she knows it’s a required sound that she has absolutely nailed. Her uvula obeys when she tells it to bounce off the back of her tongue, mine completely ignores me. C’est la vie.
Thanks for sharing by reading. We are blessed by faithful prayer partners.
Our next lesson: voiceless velar fricatives – not even kidding . . .