Are you someone who strives to speak French like a local? Well, you’re not alone. With the right set of methods and a little bit of effort, it is doable. Today, we will discover some of the easiest ways to improve your spoken French.
6 simple steps to improve your spoken French
Linguistic nuances are the huge walls that stand between you and your fluency. How do we overcome this challenge? Here is a simple list to break that wall and focus on your French-speaking abilities with 6 easy steps.
1. Find a French-speaking community
Social interaction is one of the key factors to improving our language skills. On a daily basis, you are more likely to spend most of the time with people who speak a language that you are comfortable with.
So, unless you are in an environment where you are forced to speak nothing but French, you cannot adapt or blend with the language completely.
If you want a more professional experience, you can choose Italki, an application that provides one on one sessions with a French teacher of your choice to interact and learn.
2. Put things in context
It doesn’t matter how many new words or conjugations you learn in a day until you put them to good use in a conversation. It will be helpful to understand how this language works.
For example, let’s take the two verbs savoir and connaître that share the same meaning; to know. However, they are completely different in terms of usage.
Despite having the conjugations of both these verbs at your fingertips, it is necessary to use them in the right place.
So, the next time you learn something new in French, frame a few sentences to add meaning and structure. This will initiate a smooth conversational flow and facilitate your interactions.
3. Repeat and imitate
Repetition and imitation are one of the oldest approaches to memorizing new concepts. The main goal behind this activity is to remember and recall something quickly.
When we learn French, we constantly struggle to pronounce certain words and sounds because we all have a different accent associated with our native language and it is often hard to break out from this trap.
However, by repeating and imitating the words over time, you become fluent with your pronunciation as it becomes easier to understand how words fit together.
4. Avoid talking like a book
The traditional French taught in schools and the modernized French spoken today are different. The lessons learned in our classrooms and textbooks set a structure and lay the fundamentals to read and write.
However, when it comes to comprehension and communication, the rules are altered, words are contracted and replaced accordingly.
Here are a few examples:
- Use non instead of n’est-ce pas
- Use on instead of nous
- Drop the ne in the negative sentence
- Include expressive words and sounds like bof, ben, hein, euh
- Use ouais instead of oui occasionally
There is a lot more to this list of modernized French and as learners, we must willingly invite these changes to sound more natural.
5. Record your voice
Voice recording is an excellent activity that allows you to truly fine-tune your speaking skills. It helps you to reflect on your accent, grammar, fluency, and intonation.
To make a start, select a small passage to read and record the same in your voice. Once the activity is completed, play the recording to identify any areas of weakness.
Over time, you will compile a collection of voice recordings that show your progress from a beginner to an advanced speaker.
6. Embrace your mistakes
Every mistake leaves you with a stinging feeling to think twice before opening your mouth again. However, mistakes are an inseparable part of the learning process.
You feed and nurture the confidence to speak any new language through embarrassing conversations and unfavorable scenarios. These practical experiences help you to compare the differences and similarities with your native language.
If you see your criticism as beneficial, it becomes easier to learn from your mistakes than from your memory so make as many mistakes as you can to relearn, improve, and try again.
Keep it real
Real-world fluency is perceived to be one of the toughest aspects of the French language for various reasons. We cannot rely on our textbooks when we want to sound authentic. We need to understand some general patterns of language evolution to keep it real.
Nevertheless, it is not impossible to try. I hope these 6 steps will guide you along your journey to fluency in one way or the other. Regardless of which approach you plan to take, now is certainly the time to work on your speaking skills.