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Isabelle Cottenet, your French pronunciation coach

I’m based in France, near Nantes, a beautiful and vibrant region in southern Brittany.
Located on the Loire River just 40 minutes from the coast, Nantes is moving away from its industrial past and becoming a hub for startups, and a green city with many parks.

Before that, I spent many years in Sophia-Antipolis, often referred to as a mini Silicon Valley.
This high-tech hub located on the French Riviera is renowned for its innovation and technology companies.
It’s also where my career first took shape, working for tech companies and a consultancy firm.

I studied and lived in Paris for 12 years, immersing myself in its cosmopolitan way of life. It was also during this time that I set up my own business, embracing the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship.

Even though I’ve left the “City of Lights,” my online business allows me to collaborate and engage with a diverse range of clients from all over Europe and the United States!

And the best part? All of this is possible from the tranquility of my French village.

Education & linguistic experience

Isabelle Cottenet

Why pronunciation?

French communication

After 20 years as a professionally qualified marketing and technical translator, supporting high-tech industries with their communication needs, I now also leverage my expertise in spoken and written French to help my clients improve their French pronunciation and spoken skills. 


My fascination for accents began when I attended school in Raleigh, North Carolina as a teenager. 

Integrating into an American middle school at 13 was challenging, but the Southern drawl soon became a part of me. When I returned to France, my high school English teachers felt it necessary to mold my accent back into a form that was more “acceptable” at the time.

The result was a hybrid accent that reflects my journey with the English language.

However, aIl accents evolve. They are the product of our origins, experiences, influences…

They are also one of the first things our listeners notice when we express ourselves in our additional languages.

Music and languages

Coming from a family of musicians, music has always been a part of my life. From a young age, I explored different genres from classical music to jazz, soul, pop and chanson française, either at the piano or behind a microphone.

My ear-training background helps me identify pronunciation, intonation and rhythmic issues, and find ways to address them. 

These two passions also led me to investigate how music and languages are interconnected. 

I believe that human interaction is key to build confidence in language acquisition.

Therefore becoming a pronunciation coach was the logical next step.


Vocal technique and phonetics

From opera singing...

Studying with an opera singer inspired me to learn Italian so I could understand La Bohême and Le Nozze di Figaro. cover bands.

As a French native singing English songs for cover bands, I had to:  


Podcast guest appearances

I had the honor of being interviewed by other language professionals who host podcasts. All these conversations were conducted in English.

Podcast: John Scott Lawton's English (March 2023)

John Scott Lawton

John Scott is an English coach for executives, a workshop facilitator, and a writer with a passion for poetry.

When John invited me onto his podcast, he wanted us to delve into the fundamental principles of English and French pronunciation.

I thoroughly enjoyed answering his questions, and we’ve already planned a second episode where we will dissect how to pronouce French expressions commonly used in English.

The podcast also features short musical interludes that pleasantly punctuate each chapter. Happy listening!

LinkedIn Audio Live with Eisha Karol (November 2023)

Eisha Karol is a British pronunciation coach and the founder of PronounceMe. When we connected on LinkedIn, we discovered that our approaches to teaching pronunciation were grounded in similar principles, especially the practice of music.

In this engaging live audio event on LinkedIn, Eisha and I explore the challenges faced when working in a non-native language.


Eisha Karol - Pronounce me

English with Kirsty (October 2023)

Kirsty Wolf is an online English teacher who continually expands her language skills. After mastering German and Romanian, she is now learning Portuguese. For years she has hosted a podcast covering a wide range of topics, including business English. She also shares her tips and tricks for learning new languages and effectively communicating in English.

When Kirsty invited me onto her podcast, we discussed teaching pronunciation and the challenges English speakers face with French pronunciation. At the end of the episode, I offer five tips for pronunciation practice.

Note: This episode is available as an audio podcast only.

The Language Worker (August 2023)

Rita Prazeres Gonçalves is Portuguese and has lived in the United States for a long time.

Her podcast, The Language Worker, was born out of her passion for languages. She hosts language professionals from around the world to discuss their profession and how their love for languages shapes their personal lives.

In my first English interview (a challenge for me!), I had the opportunity to revisit my professional journey.
We discussed the 1992 Albertville Olympics, song translation, the origin of the ‘French Pronunciation Coaching’ project, and how music now helps me improve my clients’ French pronunciation.

(Small technical issues with my microphone at the beginning of the interview explain the poor audio quality.
The sound improves from 7:10 onwards.)  

The episode is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and major podcast platforms.