Sometimes it would be nice if French conversations followed a script.
No idioms flying over your head.
No second-guessing your sentence structure.
No desperately scouring your brain for the right word.
Unfortunately, life’s not a movie.
But following a script actually can help you prepare for real-life French dialogues.
Practicing with a French conversation script allows you to become familiar with certain key words or phrases that you’ll need in the real world. You’ll also have the time to focus on your pronunciation and accent when you’re not hurriedly finding the next thing to say.
Here, we’ll provide some simple, sample French conversation scripts, along with resources so you can find more on your own.
Action! How to Practice with French Conversation Scripts
It may seem awkward if you’re by yourself, but a script (like a conversation) is meant to be spoken out loud. Again, taking the time to really focus on what you sound like does pay off.
It could be a good idea to go through the script a few times, trying different speeds.
Try going through it slowly to work on pronunciation, then say it again at a conversational speed so the words flow more naturally off your tongue.
Even if you’re saying the correct words, poor pronunciation and a sloppy accent can impede understanding. You may be tempted to read through quickly and keep moving, but taking the time to consciously work on pronunciation will help you sound more authentic in the long run.
If possible, act out the scenario with a partner, someone who speaks French or is a learner like you. It can make the script seem more realistic and enjoyable. Switch roles, too, so that you both have a chance to say each line.
There’s no shame if you don’t have that special person to do French-y things with. Don’t let that stop you from reading the lines aloud (and getting into it, if you’re so inclined!).
Eureka! Where to Find French Conversation Scripts
We’ll provide you with a few sample scripts ourselves, but of course, with the internet, there are so many possibilities.
These sites are key places to go to keep the conversations going and, if you’re creative, give you ideas for your own practice scenarios.
With its wide variety of free lessons and exercises, ToLearnFrench is a good site for French learners to know about in general.
One of the most beneficial portions of the site is devoted to dialogues. Each one has the works: a full French transcript, English translation and French audio.
There’s more. Every dialogue even has an exercise at the bottom to reinforce the phrases you learned. You’ll often be asked to put the words in order so that they form a complete thought, allowing you to review word order and see how individual words fit together.
Not sure where to start? Why not visit a French bakery? Really, what else could you ask for?
Speak French Fluently has a fair collection of dialogues from authentic French sources with full French transcripts.
Most dialogues have accompanying audio or video as well as English translation.
If you’re nervous about jumping into the deep waters of real spoken French, try to relax. The site has introductory pointers for each conversation. You can find out who the people involved are, the context and listening tips.
Another plus is the variety of French accents you can hear. The dialogues are organized by region and include France, Quebec and Africa.
FluentU is the perfect resource for authentic French conversation scripts, showing you how native speakers really use the language.
FluentU lets you learn French from real-world content like music videos, commercials, news broadcasts, cartoons and inspiring talks.
Since this content is material that native French speakers actually watch regularly, you’ll get the opportunity to learn real French the way it’s spoken in modern life.
One quick look will give you an idea of the diverse content found on FluentU:
Love the thought of learning French with native materials but afraid you won’t understand what’s being said? FluentU brings authentic French videos within reach of any learner. Interactive captions guide you along the way, so you never miss a word.
Tap on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more. For example, if you tap on the word “suit,” then this is what appears on your screen:
Don’t stop there, though. Use FluentU to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video through word lists, flashcards, quizzes and fun activities like “fill in the blank.”
As you continue advancing in your French studies, FluentU keeps track of all the grammar and vocabulary that you’ve been learning. It uses your viewed videos and mastered language lessons to recommend more useful videos and give you a 100% personalized experience.
Let’s Talk: French Conversation Scripts to Boost Your Speaking Confidence
To give you a feel for conversation scripts—the kinds of scenarios they cover, the general flow, the types of “key words” to look for—we’re including three examples right here.
Each one covers a particular, practical situation, but the phrases and structures are widely applicable.
1. Getting to Know Someone
Imagine you’re a college student studying in France. Now, even if you never have such an honor, this dialogue will equip you to introduce yourself and ask questions about another person in French.
Back to the scenario. You’re still working on perfecting the language, so you go to a local event for FLE (français comme langue étrangère, or “French as a foreign language”) college students.
Over dinner, a student sitting next to you strikes up a conversation. Because you’re roughly the same age, you employ the informal tu (you).
GÉRARD: D’où viens-tu? (Where are you from?)
TOI (YOU): Je viens des États-Unis. Et toi? (I am from the United States. And you?)
GÉRARD: Ma famille vient de la Côte d’Ivoire. Je m’appelle Gérard. (My family is from the Ivory Coast. My name is Gérard.)
TOI: Je m’appelle _____. Qu’est-ce que tu étudies? (My name is _____. What are you studying?)
GÉRARD: J’étudie l’histoire parce que je veux être professeur d’histoire au lycée. (I study history because I want to be a high school history teacher.)
TOI: J’étudie la musique. J’espère jouer un jour dans un orchestre. (I study music. I hope to play one day in an orchestra.)
GÉRARD: Quel instrument? (What instrument?)
TOI: Je joue du violon. (I play the violin.)
Feel free to customize the conversation. You’re practicing how to introduce yourself, after all.
Or play around with different vocabulary by creating a whole new persona. Try different countries, names, fields of study, etc. You can be whoever you want!
2. At the Grocery Store
This one is based on an encounter I had at a French grocery store when I forgot that at most European supermarkets, you weigh vegetables in the produce section and a machine prints a barcode that can be scanned at check-out.
It’s quite efficient when you know the system.
There I was, just trying to buy a few carrots at self-checkout when the attendant noticed my confusion at the machine.
Note that vous (formal “you”) is employed since this is a more formal encounter. You and the attendant don’t know each other personally.
GARDIEN (ATTENDANT): Excusez-moi, Madame. Vous devez les peser à la machine à l’arrière avec les légumes. (Excuse me, ma’am. You need to weigh them at the back with the vegetables.)
VOUS: Ah, oui. J’ai oublié! (Ah, yes. I forgot!)
GARDIEN: Pas de problème. Vous pouvez laisser les autres articles ici. (Not a problem. You can leave the other items here.)
VOUS: Merci. Donnez-moi une minute. (Thank you. Give me a minute.)
— Vous revenez (You return)
VOUS: Merci pour votre patience. Bonne journée! (Thank you for your patience. Have a good day!)
GARDIEN: De rien. Bonne journée! (You’re welcome. Have a good day!)
Ideally, you’ll now remember how to buy European fruits and vegetables like a natural.
Nevertheless, this dialogue offers opportunities to practice a formal register, modal verbs such as vous devez (you must) and vous pouvez (you can) and saying thank you.
3. At the Bank
Now, opening a bank account is a big step, especially in another country.
Unless you’re looking to live in France long-term (why not?), you probably won’t actually create an account with a French bank. However, this conversation allows you to familiarize yourself with specialized vocabulary such as financial terms and document names, which can be helpful even during shorter trips.
VOUS: Bonjour. Je veux ouvrir un compte. (Hello. I want to open an account.)
BANQUIER (BANKER): Très bien. Avez-vous une carte d’identité? (Very good. Do you have ID?)
VOUS: J’ai un passeport américain. (I have an American passport.)
BANQUIER: Ça marche. Avez-vous donc un titre de séjour? (That works. Do you have a visa, then?)
VOUS: Oui, je l’ai apporté avec moi. (Yes, I brought it with me.)
BANQUIER: Bon. Enfin, avez-vous quelque chose avec votre adresse, une note par exemple? (Good. Finally, do you have something with your address, a bill for example?)
VOUS: Oh, je pense que non. C’est obligatoire? (Oh, I don’t think so. It’s required?)
BANQUIER: Oui. Pouvez-vous revenir demain, vers 14h00? (Yes. Can you return tomorrow, around 2 p.m.?)
VOUS: Oui, merci. Je vous vois demain. Bonne journée. (Yes, thank you. I’ll see you tomorrow. Have a good day.)
BANQUIER: Bonne journée. (Have a good day.)
A few other good personal finance terms include une carte de débit (a debit card) and un impôt (a tax).
Note that in France, the 24-hour clock is often used, especially in a formal situation. Thus, 14h00 or quatorze heures becomes 2 p.m.
Becoming comfortable speaking French is always a challenge, but it’s not impossible.
No, real human conversations usually don’t follow predictable rules.
But there are still ways to prepare. French conversation scripts such as these can give you key words that are likely to come up in an actual conversation, as well as familiarize you with conversational flow.
Rachel Larsen is a lifelong francophile and freelance writer who dreams of living in France one day. She’s currently a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. To learn more, visit her LinkedIn page.
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