Some clichés are true.
Take the old classic, “practice makes perfect.”
Any French learner knows that you won’t get perfectly fluent without hours of practice, practice, practice.
The only question is how to get effective French practice.
Especially when you can’t go to France or another francophone country every weekend.
But just a click away, there are tons of native French speakers you can practice your language skills with.
Online French group chats make it easy.
Group chats may not exactly have the same reputation as, say, French textbooks. However, they offer quick and easy access to both French writing practice and casual language usage.
Here, we’ll show you four specific French group chats to do just that.
We’ll also provide some advice and pointers to get the most out of your French chat room experience.
Ready to log on to a world of French practice?
Tips for Un Bon Tchat (A Good Chat)
- If you’re feeling nervous, it’s okay to just listen (err, read) at first. Although expressing yourself in French is necessary to master the language, it can be an intimidating thing to do. Particularly if you’re new to chatting with French speakers, it can be good to just watch the conversation for a bit before participating.
This can help you ease your way in and show you some of the different words and styles you’re likely to find in a chat room.
Don’t be afraid to jump in, though. There’s a first time to everything!
- Just as you’d probably use casual, informal sayings in a chat room, so would French speakers. For instance, instead of greeting someone with the standard bonjour (hello), you might encounter the much more familiar coucou (hi).
Similarly, keep in mind that the grammar and language use may not be textbook French. Chat rooms are generally not known for their literary eloquence or strict grammar, so don’t assume that everything you read is technically correct.
- If you’re simply looking for language practice opportunities, I’d recommend avoiding sites de rencontre (dating websites). French is complicated enough on its own! While a couple of the sites below do allow for romance, they’re not strictly set up for dating—the focus is friendly conversation.
Of course, use common sense when chatting with strangers online. If you find yourself in an inappropriate situation, there’s no shame in leaving the chat room and reporting it if necessary.
- Some words that are helpful for navigating a French group chat include tchatter (to chat) and un salon (a chat room, in this case) or un forum de discussion (discussion forum).
If you enjoy this type of authentic French practice, you can take it up a notch with FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
#Tchatter: Where to Find French Group Chats Online for Language Practice
French Chat is especially helpful for beginners since it’s designed for learners.
Although much of the discourse is in French and users are encouraged to use French as much as possible, English is permitted. Furthermore, this site covers topics that are more directly applicable to learners, such as French music suggestions.
This is an ideal place for you to start practicing French writing in a helpful and forgiving atmosphere.
Since this one attracts fewer native speakers, you’re less likely to encounter the kind of slang and casual language that characterizes many French group chats.
Therefore, this one can help with forming complete thoughts in proper French, but you may not learn some of the authentic words and sayings that French speakers often use in a casual setting.
MyLanguageExchange is another valuable resource intended for language learners. They connect people from around the world across dozens of languages.
Although MyLanguageExchange is a trusted site for finding a pen pal, you can also learn with their chat rooms and discussion forums.
When you create a profile, you’ll include the language(s) you know, as well as the language(s) you wish to learn. You may also write a brief biography or description (in any language) of yourself and what you’re looking to gain from the experience.
Unfortunately, guests and regular (non-paying) members can only talk if a paying gold member initiates the conversation. Although this may seem frustrating, it helps ensure that the users are serious about language learning and are willing to put in the required time and effort.
So purchasing a membership ($6 for one month or $24 for a full year) might be a good investment, especially since you also need to be a paying member to initiate an email exchange.
This is a chatroom service designed for French speakers. It attracts many native speakers, but all francophones are welcome.
Chat-fr is a prime opportunity for intermediate and advanced learners to mingle with native speakers and connect over shared interests.
There’s a main discussion area that you’ll automatically be directed to, called accueil.
Recognize this word? It’s related to the verb accueillir (to welcome). On a French website, the homepage will often be labeled accueil. In a French-speaking country, you might see a help or information desk referred to as accueil.
Here, since the primary chat room is the first place you go, accueil is like the homepage or even a welcome center.
Additionally, the site offers dozens of smaller chat rooms. Some focus on individual countries, including French-speaking ones like Morocco, Algeria, Belgium, France, etc. Others are meant for a particular age group, including chat rooms for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and more.
There are several more rooms that bring people together based on common interests, from Scrabble to veganism.
One downside of having so many chat rooms is that you may find yourself in one that contains only a couple other people and there’s little or nothing to talk about.
The primary forum will usually have the most people and you’ll be more likely to participate in good discussions. So if you’re unsure where to start, see what’s going on there first.
Although Chat-fr and Chaat.fr have many similarities (including the name), they’re not exactly the same.
The rules and format are very close, but each site has some chat rooms that are unique to itself. This one, for example, features rooms for discussing the news, people who use Netflix, poker fanatics and more. There’s also a similar accueil.
Clicking on a chat room will add its name to the left side of the screen, allowing you to easily switch between groups. This can be especially helpful if the conversation in a room that interests you is moving a bit slowly.
As with Chat-fr, you’re not required to create an account in order to take advantage of the site. However, you do have the option of creating one to keep someone from taking your username.
It could be a good idea if you want to drop by often.
Or if you’re just really attached to your high school nickname.
The next time you’re ready to take a break from the grammar books and just speak or write in French, shortcomings and all, give a French group chat a chance.
Along the way, you might be able to connect with people whose interests you share (and not just French).
Give these French group chats a try to see how they can enrich your French repertoire and provide a fun learning experience!
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.