Speaking French can be a nightmare at times.
Especially when you haven’t had much practice conversing with native speakers.
How many of us have mixed up our words and devolved into Neanderthals by uttering the wrong verb tense after feeling startled in a daunting situation or stuttered our way hopelessly through a conversation?
It’s okay, we’ve all been there. It’s normal.
Learning a language is no day at the theme park. If it were, we’d all be speaking like natives in a matter of weeks. The only way we can improve is by putting ourselves out there to make mistakes, these fautes (errors) are all a part of the learning process.
With a little determination and savoir faire (know how) you don’t need to stress. With these tips and tricks you’ll conquer speaking the French language in no time and be down to talk with even the fastest of speakers!
Why Learn to Speak French at Home?
Instead of being thrown out into the real world and left to fight your way to fluency, learning French at home will help you build your confidence step by step as you make mistakes, as well as leaps and bounds. Plus, there’s an endless amount of fun ways to learn French from home!
Being at home provides you with a comfortable and familiar environment, allowing you to relax and take off the pressure of language learning. By taking advantage of your home as a learning environment, you’ll avoid much of the stress commonly associated with language learning. French will come naturally to you rather than feeling like a painful experience that reminds you of school.
Learning at home isn’t only an indulgent and cozy experience, it’s also super practical. We don’t all have time to head off to a weekly class in French, let alone time to jet off to practice our conversation skills in France for a year, but scheduling 30 minutes a day in the comfort of your own home is another story. It’s practical and do-able!
In the time it takes you to get up and ready to go out, you could have already conquered a language exchange via Skype, read a chapter of that new French e-book and watched a French TV series. Take out the hassle of travel and anything is possible!
Preparation is Key
Conversations aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, that’s why books exist. If you’re the kind of person to get cold feet over the prospect of a conversation, learning at home couldn’t be any more perfect for you. Anxious over what to discuss? Afraid of feeling like you won’t understand anything? Fear not, just be prepared!
If you’re learning a language, you have to know that you can’t get out of learning through conversation.
What you can do is simply make a list of things you’d like to discuss: maybe you saw a film the other week, or maybe there’s a book you’ve been dying to read. Connecting with people through the Internet allows you find someone with your interests. By being at home you can have things on hand to discuss, prompters and, of course, Google! (Although good old trial and error can provide some funny results.)
How to Learn French Speaking at Home: 5 Dreamy Resources
If you’re going to boost your speaking skills there’s only one way to do it. Believe it or not, that one way is speaking! So here are the sites I recommend to get your language exchange game on.
HelloTalk is a nifty new app for both Android and iPhone users. It allows you to do a multitude of cool things that all revolve around language exchange. You sign up, create your profile and then you’re able to find native speakers of the language you’re learning.
Imagine Whatsapp but for learning—that’s what HelloTalk is all about. It’s a social hub where you can send messages and voice recordings, have a built-in translator on hand and even hear messages read out in a standard pronunciation. The way it’s set up means that it’s really practical to use and fit into daily life.
For the purpose of learning to speak through conversation it’s worth finding someone you have things in common with. Find someone who’s available to speak to you with the use of the in-app phone system. The app allows you to make and take free calls, so there’s no need to step out of the house when you can be conversing with a native in minutes!
If you thought it would be difficult to find a language exchange partner from the comfort of your own home, think again. Thanks to the internet—and sites like italki—you can find native speakers of any language online. In exchange for your expertise in your own native tongue, you can find someone willing to talk to you in their native tongue!
The site is really great for a variety of things, including posting diary entries where natives will then correct your writing, but the best thing about it is that you can use the site for a language exchange using the search tool and specifying your language choices. Who knows, maybe in the long run you’ll even make lifelong friends!
If you feel that your French is not quite up to scratch you can also find teachers who offer lessons on anything from grammar to general conversation for a small fee. There are both professional and community teachers. Professional teachers tend to have a lot more experience under their belt and qualifications in teaching a foreign language, and community teachers tend to be native speakers passionate about teaching their language, which is great for informal tutoring or general language practice.
You get the app on iTunes.
Now that you’ve got the exchange sorted out, here are some things you should be doing daily to keep your vocabulary in top form:
Memrise is a great resource for language learners, and there’s even an app for on-the-go learners.
It’s full of ready-made vocabulary lists for all sorts of levels and learners. If you’re looking for something in particular, or maybe you just want to learn a specific set of vocabulary, there’s plenty of content available to explore. You can also create your own course if you can’t find what you need.
Memrise uses sound, repetition and pictures (“mems”) to help “plant” new words into the memory. The software then gives you reminders to “water” the new words regularly which uses the science of spaced repetition to help keep words in the long-term memory.
FluentU is a great way to keep you on your language game, especially in terms of learning new vocabulary!
With a wide range of videos to choose from—everything from “The Hunger Games” trailers and Stromae videos to news commentary—you can delve into all sorts of situations and scenarios. This will keep you on top of all things French, while at the same time helping you to nail down useful and common vocabulary.
FluentU makes it easy to learn and review the new vocabulary with multimedia flashcards, vocabulary lists and more. You can even make use of the interactive subtitles by hovering your cursor over any word to receive an instant definition. So, no need to waste time Googling for a definition when you have the meaning, context, translation and pronunciation covered!
Yes, your average daily life is a great resource for learning French!
Often when we learn a language we follow a specific routine.
First we learn the alphabet, then eventually how to book a hotel room, then how to give directions and so on. This is all great, useful stuff, but sometimes we forget to cover what we we’d normally discuss in our own language on a day-to-day basis.
What words do you use frequently in everyday life? Is there a recurring topic that you often discuss with friends, family and coworkers? Make a note of all the words and phrases you find yourself using in English and make it your mission to find their French counterparts. By doing this you’re learning and translating your personality into French. Not only will you be able to communicate with French speakers, you’ll be able to express who you truly are. And after all, isn’t learning a language all about connecting with people?
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.