Learn French on… Discord? How to Hack This Gamer Chat for Language Learning
Welcome to a virtual world of non-stop French learning.
A French Discord server will connect you instantly with French speakers and students.
You might already think of Discord as a place for gamers, but you would be surprised how many opportunities there are for French speakers to practice texting and chatting together on this platform.
We will help you unwrap this totally out-of-the-box language learning tool and take your French game to a whole new level.
- Just What Is Discord, Anyway?
- How to Get Set Up on Discord
- How to Best Use Discord to Get Quality French Practice
- Where to Find the Best Discord Servers for French Learning
- And one more thing...
Just What Is Discord, Anyway?
Remember how I said “out of the box?” Discord, although not designed for French learning specifically, can become an invaluable resource to unconventional French students who are ready for speaking and writing practice.
Discord is a voice chat platform for gamers—yep, gamers!
Released in 2015, Discord was designed to be a low-resource platform for gamers to communicate in real time while competing or teaming up in a video game. Following the tradition of Internet Relay Chats, subgroups not related to video games have been created, including French chat groups!
Back in the day before internet forums, Internet Relay Chats permitted discussions in real time between several users. Discord basically re-creates this dynamic of real time group chats, but with the added possibility of voice chats.
Although Discord contains pay features, its basic functionality is absolutely free.
I have not once been prompted to pay for anything I wanted to use on Discord. It is only when you want to use special features such as extra emojis that you would have to pay.
How to Get Set Up on Discord
Obviously, before we can use Discord to practice French writing and speaking, we need to make our account. It is fast, easy and free!
- Find a link to a Discord group that interests you. Below, I have provided links to groups (called “servers” on Discord) dedicated to French learning. Just click on one or look for others on Google. For example, type: “French writing Discord” and see what you find.
The link is the invitation that every user needs. But do not worry! Discord automatically accepts you if you click the link.
- When prompted, supply an email, password and username. Since you do not yet have a Discord account, you will first be prompted to supply an email address and password. Then, check your email for the confirmation link, after which you will be asked to provide a username.
- Follow the “getting-started” instructions of the server. After supplying the required data, you will be automatically re-directed to the Discord server you wanted to join. However, you will not be able to write anything in any sub-section except the “welcome” section, where you generally need to provide information such as your country, native language and level of French.
After this, you can write in any sub-section you want.
Discord groups generally have several sub-sections on the left panel. For example, you might find “word of the day,” “correct my French,” “general discussion,” etc. On the right panel you will see all active users and their languages.
Finally, on the extreme left you will see a “+” symbol that you can use to look for and join other Discord groups without having to search in Google.
How to Best Use Discord to Get Quality French Practice
Now that you are set up, how do you best use Discord to practice your French writing and speaking? Nothing could be easier!
- Make a point of connecting at least once a day. This is not a Discord-specific tip—more of an active French practice one. You should try to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day (no scientific reason for this, it is just what works for me) to either writing or speaking. Otherwise, you will fall into the trap of understanding reading and spoken French well, but not actually being able to use the language well.
- Use the writing and speaking features extensively. Once you have registered with the Discord group you like, you can immediately start writing messages in French. If there is a section where native speakers can correct you, all the better.
At first, it can be demoralizing to be constantly corrected, but this is how you learn, and until you actually start using French actively, you will not know the mistakes you are making.
- Practice speaking as the group allows. Whether or not you can talk in real-time depends on the group parameters. In my experience, the best way to get audio practice is to record your audio on your computer and load it into the Discord chat using the “+” symbol next to where you type.
- Do not forget to help other French students if you can. Remember that not every French student is at the same level, and if you can, you should dedicate time to help others. Studies have shown that you actually remember more of what you teach to others.
Similarly, many groups are “French-English” exchanges, and native French speakers are there to improve their English as well. Language learning is a team activity, and group chats always have etiquette rules that should be respected.
- Find servers dedicated to French learning. This should be obvious, but you should look for several French learning servers that suit you. That way if one becomes inactive (always a possibility in chat platforms) you have others.
- Pay attention to new vocabulary. Similar to the French media clips on the language program FluentU, French servers on Discord give you a chance to actually learn from native speakers. When any unfamiliar slang or other expressions pop up, note them down so you can study them in-depth later.
As luck would have it, I have taken the trouble of revealing to you my favorite Discord servers below.
Where to Find the Best Discord Servers for French Learning
So by now, you should be convinced that Discord is an excellent resource for the budding French student, but you might be asking, “are there any servers you recommend?” Yes! I have compiled a list of French servers that will give you a never-ending source of writing and speaking practice!
Learn French: Learn with Others at Your Level
With good reason, I mention Learn French first. Having over 2,000 members and generally over 200 active at any one time, Learn French offers a thriving community of language learners. The first thing you will need to do to post is take a test to evaluate your level, after which you will be placed in a “class” with other users.
Then you can post in sections including “grammar help,” “introductions” and “face to face,” among others. If you are looking for structured and progressive French speaking and writing practice, Learn French is for you!
French International Server: Chat with Native French Speakers
The French International Server is designed to be a general chat space for French native speakers, so this is probably best for advanced learners. It can be a great way to just start speaking and writing French.
The French International Server also has a continuous voice chat section. To activate, make sure you have a microphone or headset connected, navigate to the voice section at the bottom of the topics panel and upon clicking you will be connected automatically and can start talking.
French: Join a Large and Active Language Community
This was the first Discord server I joined because it has a little bit of everything. Also, with over 6,000 members, it is the largest community I found dedicated to French.
There is no test to evaluate your level in this server, so you have to be honest with yourself. After providing the information requested in the “welcome” section, you can post to such groups as “vocal-texte,” “general discussion,” “culture” and many more.
Also, there are several voice groups you can join, but they do not always have a lot of participation. Due to the variety of groups and the size of the French server community, this server is appropriate for all levels of learners. But if you are looking for structured practice, you should stick with Learn French.
French Servers for Games and Hobbies
If you are an advanced learner and simply want to participate in Discord servers for French speaking people, even if they are not geared towards language learning, Discord offers several topic-specific servers. These are great areas to learn specific subsets of vocabulary.
- If you are a gamer, you could check out SCUM France, the official French language discord server for SCUM, the popular online survival game.
- If you love music you can share tunes and chat about your favorite artists in No Music No Life [FR].
You can find even more by browsing the servers on Disboard with the français tag. Just be aware that some are NSFW.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
With Discord servers, you gain access to an active and growing community dedicated to language practice. By committing time to learning French on Discord, you will be on your way to fluency!
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 FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.