Want to Speak French with Confidence? 4 Top French Conversation Lesson Sites
It’s pretty annoying that speaking is usually the most difficult part of learning a new language, but also the most essential component of fluency!
Thankfully, there are easy ways to improve your verbal communication in French.
Just sign up for lessons specifically aimed at developing your French conversation skills.
I’ve got some great options below that won’t break the bank.
- What Are the Different Types of French Conversation Lessons?
- 4 Sites for Affordable or Free French Conversation Lessons
- And one more thing...
What Are the Different Types of French Conversation Lessons?
- Language Exchange: When you participate in a French language exchange, you meet with a French speaker who also wants to learn English. You take turns speaking in each other’s language. For example, you might converse in English for 30 minutes, then in French for 30 minutes.
Language exchanges are great for learners on a budget. These lessons usually won’t cost you a dime, because both participants have a shared goal of gaining knowledge rather than money.
- Tutoring: In a tutoring session, an instructor teaches you French. You don’t have to speak English with them at all.
The downside of tutoring versus language exchange sessions is that hiring a private teacher costs money. So you should decide what’s more valuable to you—money or time? If you want to save money, go with a language exchange partner. If you want to save time by targeting your own language needs and skipping the English chat, spend a little cash to hire a tutor.
- Video Lessons: Videos are great tools for hearing French accents and seeing Francophones engage in everyday activities. They’re also ideal for visual learners. You might remember the vocabulary and accents more easily if you can see people’s mouths moving and associate their words with images.
- Audio Lessons: Hearing recordings gives you the chance to hear people speak in native accents at natural speeds. Listening is often the first step to learning to converse well.
While videos are great for visual learners, audio exercises are better for auditory learners. If you feel that watching a video might be too distracting for you and you just want to listen to natural French conversations, go with audio lessons.
4 Sites for Affordable or Free French Conversation Lessons
Mondly Lessons and Chatbot
When I hear the word “free,” I’m there! Mondly offers free French lessons to students who want to improve their speaking and conversation skills.
Mondly’s teaching philosophy is that learning French is more about perseverance than anything else. You shouldn’t necessarily study for hours at a time, because you’ll most likely get burned out. All you need is five minutes per day, every day. Mondly vows to make a difference with those five minutes.
Plus, thanks to Mondly’s app for iOS or Android, finding five minutes to study is ridiculously easy.
This program is for learners of all levels. Yes, just five minutes can benefit even absolute beginners!
Mondly’s main focus is teaching you French that’s useful in day-to-day life. The site’s most unique asset is its language partner robot. This chatbot actually understands you when you talk! It asks follow-up questions and carries on a conversation with you.
When the chatbot speaks, you hear its voice and see the text in front of you. These features are helpful for both auditory and visual learners!
Next, you hold down the microphone button and reply. If you aren’t sure how to respond, a menu of possible phrases appears on your screen. This list can help you learn new popular French phrases to integrate in your real-life conversations.
For example, if the chatbot says, Bonjour! Comment allez-vous? (Hello! How are you?), your screen might show you these options:
Très bien, merci. (Very well, thank you.)
Ça va bien! (It’s going well!)
Pas mal, merci. (Not bad, thank you.)
Just choose the answer that fits your mood, and you’ve already begun having a real conversation in French!
Thanks to this chatbot, you can enjoy all the benefits of having a language partner without fear of judgment.
Gumtree is a classifieds website that makes it easy to find a French conversation partner. Unlike the three previous resources on this list, it isn’t free. But hear me out! Keep reading to see why spending a little money could be worth it.
Many of the people advertising their French tutoring skills on Gumree are qualified language teachers and/or tutors. Not everyone who posts their services on Gumtree asks for money, but since these tutors are pros, the majority do want a little compensation. Most tutors ask for at least $14 per hour.
Depending on where you live, you might have trouble finding an in-person French tutor or language exchange partner. But thanks to Gumtree, you can easily find a qualified French tutor and talk to them via Skype! Ain’t the internet grand?
Shelling out a little cash is probably worth it, because these folks have the tools and skills to provide more than just conversation practice—they can help you overcome speaking obstacles, troubleshoot your mistakes and suggest techniques to improve quickly.
Verbalplanet has a similar setup to that of Gumtree. You find a tutor on Verbalplanet’s site and they teach you rather than participate in a language exchange.
The main difference between Verbalplanet and Gumtree is that Verbalplanet is much more organized. There are more regulations on this site.
For example, on Gumtree, certain tutors give free or discounted trial lessons to make themselves stand out in your search. Verbalplanet, on the other hand, requires every teacher to provide trial lessons either at no cost or 50 percent off.
On Gumtree, the length of your class depends on your individual agreement with the teacher. All Verbalplanet courses are 45 minutes. If you know 45 minutes is the amount of time you want each session to last, using Verbalplanet could save you time searching for the right tutor. If you need more or less time in your classes, you might want to check out Gumtree instead.
italki is a popular online video tutoring and conversation program. My favorite thing about italki is that the site makes it as easy as possible for you to find your ideal tutor. The website’s filters are super helpful!
For example, you can choose the country you want your tutor to be from. This filter is great if you know you want to develop a French accent versus, say, the Quebecois or Moroccan accent.
This site also allows you to give your price range per hour so you don’t spend forever trying to find someone whose services fit your budget.
Best of all, you choose between two different types of teachers. There are professional teachers with teaching experience and certification to teach French to second-language learners. Or you may choose a community teacher, someone who doesn’t have any certification but is passionate about teaching their native language.
Professional teachers’ classes are probably higher quality. Community teachers’ courses, however, are cheaper. And you can read reviews, so you won’t get sucked into a bad community teacher’s class!
Many italki tutors offer discounted 30-minute trials, so you can see if you’re a good fit.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Hopefully, these resources will make you a little less nervous for your next big French exam or conversation with a native French speaker. There’s no need to break a sweat. Now you can stay cool, calm and collected!
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)