Do you sound like Joey in Friends when you speak French?

Written by Anthony Lucas, French teacher since 2007

Joey from Friends learns French

It’s not uncommon to see characters in films and TV series speaking French and uttering well-known French expressions such as “Voilà !” or “Bonjour“. Speaking French is often seen as chic, sophisticated and refined. We see this in Joey’s attitude when he tries to speak French in the Friends episode The One Where Joey Speaks French (Season 10 Episode 13).

In this episode, Joey needs to speak French at an audition to get a part. Phoebe tries to teach him but Joey can’t pronounce a single sentence correctly. It’s a disaster!

In fact, the actors playing Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) really do speak French! However, their levels of French are not really known.

Matt LeBlanc’s father, Paul LeBlanc, was of French-Canadian descent. His surname LeBlanc is actually French and can be translated as TheWhite. So it’s likely that Matt’s level of French is quite good, assuming he spoke French with his father as a child.

Lisa Kudrow’s pronunciation when she speaks French in this episode seems pretty good, which suggests that her level of French is good. She studied French when she was young and has been married to a Frenchman since 1995.

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