When I was learning English, every dictionary that I ever came across with, had a phonetic transcription, so I could easily understand how the word is pronounced. For example, phonetic transcription for a word knee would be [ni:]. I just started to learn French and I am really surprised by the lack of phonetic transcriptions for such a hard-to-learn language. How am I supposed to know the pronunciation, when half of the letters are silent?
Are there any good sources on the web, where I could look up phonetic transcription for any word? It really makes me uncomfortable when I don't know how the word is pronounced.
After a year of intensive French learning, I could say that transcriptions are really useless. The pronunciation rules are complex, but quite strict. The only problem I still encounter from time to time is with liasons, enchaînements, and h muet/aspiré. But that comes with experience. Other than that, I like it so much, that there's no need to look up a new word in a dictionary in order to find out how to say it. Another awesome feature of French is that the stress is always placed on the last syllable.