Meet Julien Miquel, the Frenchman teaching Britons how to pronounce English words

Symbol, mischievous, goofy. Quinoa, schedule, ogle. Correctly identifying English pronunciation is as difficult as a scone (or scones) rolling down a very steep hill. If you’ve ever held yourself in bondage to avoid saying a word for fear of mispronouncing it, or ever had to endure the indignity of being corrected at a party (“It’s ‘archepielego’, isn’t it?”) Archipuhlyago’ No. “), then you may want to browse Julian Mikel’s YouTube channel.

In over 44,000 short videos, Mikel walks you through the correct way to pronounce everything from “Nike” to the name of Elon Musk’s seventh child (who has been given an impenetrable series of letters instead of a name), “croissant” and Will tell. “Graveyard”.

Google how to say something and you’ll end up in a weird corner of the internet where it lives. YouTube is full of channels like his, dedicated to pronunciation. For some people, they serve as a convenient travel companion. For others, they are a means of settling arguments. Arguing with a family member over Sunday lunch about how to pronounce February? YouTube can help. According to Mikel, it’s “feh-buh-eh-ree”, which, it’s fair to say, is an unlikely candidate for an English pronunciation expert.

Mikel is not a professor of phonetics and has no background in linguistics. He is also French. In fact, his customers often tell him he sounds like a movie villain, his voice is extremely deep and his Southern French accent is great. “I get a lot of comments on videos saying I should read audiobooks,” he says. It takes a courageous man to decide to teach English to non-speaking people, and yet last month, Mikel’s YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers, many of whom were British.

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