French Fluency: Tips for sounding more authentic when speaking French

La motivation seule, ça marche pas. = Motivation alone doesn’t work.
Mais tu peux faire mieux ! = But you can do better.

Fluency in French is two things:

  • La confiance en soi = Confidence
  • Être compris = Being understood

And it’s a lot already!

How can you start improving that today?
What easy tips can you use right now?
And how can you start your long term plan on the right foot, to speak French fluently?
C’est parti ! = Let’s go !

Index:
1. How to Speak French fluently: First easy tips
2. How to Speak French fluently: Long-term plan
3. How to Speak French fluently: Building a Habit
4. How to Speak French fluently: Practice Speaking
5. How to Speak French fluently: Practice your Pronunciation

Want all the vocabulary of the lesson ?

1. How to Speak French fluently: First easy tips

Speaking French fluently will take time, but you can start with a simple:
Oui ! Bonjour ! = Yes! Hi!
You already know these words, but they’re fantastic for our goal here. Just learn a few more small words you can use anytime!

Or, if you prefer:

  • Youpi = Yay!
  • Dommage ! = Too bad!
  • J’aime beaucoup. = I like that a lot.
  • C’est vrai ! = That’s true!

Speaking French fluently is a long journey. But easy tips like these can go a long way to get you started. Make a few French sentences (like these) your “catchphrases,” use them whenever you can – and soon you’ll master them.

And once you’re fully confident with them, you’ll always have something to fall back on – even if you forget all your French conjugations. So you’ll never totally lose your confidence in a conversation!

Or you can do that with filler words:

  • Alors ? = So… ?
  • Tu sais… = You know…
  • Je veux dire… = I mean..

Or with complex sentences. They’ll give you a structure that you can tweak to make your own sentences later!

Find your favorite example by learning une chanson en français (= a song in French) for instance.

Whatever you choose, write them down in un cahier / un carnet (= a notebook). It’s a basic, simple (but necessary) tool for learning!

If you want to learn: nothing better than a notebook (or flashcards) with a system of spaced repetition – learning something, reviewing it a day later, then a week later, then a month later, then every other month.

2. How to Speak French fluently: Long-term plan

You can’t learn how to speak French fluently in a day. But what you can do today, is build your plan to get there someday.

A – What’s your goal?

Be clear about your goal. It should be clear and short. So you can keep that in mind, and focus first on what matters to you.
Are you looking to have a better vacation in France? Do you want to read some Victor Hugo? Are you trying to impress an employer?

Because these all call for very different plans. One thing they have in common, though: you need to have fun learning.

B – Having fun

Have fun learning! Focus on what matters to you.
If you like:

Take a moment to find how to fit French into your hobbies. And find a piece of French pop culture that you enjoy!

C – Immersion

Living your personal life in French (at least for a time, when it makes sense), is l’immersion. It’s effective and fun!

You can do a little immersion by:

  • Mettre les paramètres du téléphone en français = Turning your phone settings to French
  • Écrire la liste de course en français = Writing your grocery list in French. Saying the name of the ingredients out loud !
  • Parler français autant que possible = Speak French, practice French as much as possible. Even for a few minutes a day!

The key is both building a habit, and practicing a lot.

3. How to Speak French fluently: Building a Habit

At least, not alone. Motivation always fades away, when you’re busy with something else. What you need to do instead is to set up a habit.

Practice 10 minutes after breakfast everyday. Review your notebook after coming home from work. Focus on a French podcast when driving… The specifics are up to you.

When learning becomes part of your day, you don’t need to psych yourself up (or think about it) to do it. You just do it.

Accountability helps as well: practice with a partner, or join a structured program to give you deadlines.

4. How to Speak French fluently: Practice Speaking

Get confident fast in French: “Produce” a lot of French language, make mistakes, make the language your own. That’s how children do it!

  • If you read something in French: read it out loud.
  • If you watch my videos: pause and make your own examples!
  • If you’re watching a movie: try imiter les personnages = to imitate how the characters talk, their accents… and especially their coolest lines!

This will do wonder to build your confidence in French.

The even better way, of course, is to talk to real French people. If you don’t know any, you can reach out to conversation groups or social media. Real practice is the best.

But there’s something you’ll want to do before that:

5. How to Speak French fluently: Practice your Pronunciation

S’entraîner à la prononciation = practice your pronunciation.

Yeah, I know, it’s difficult! I’m sorry!
But remember how Speaking French Fluently is confidence AND being understood? Well, that’s the second part. You need a good enough pronunciation to be understood. And the cycle feeds on itself too: you’ll be more confident, it’ll be easier to practice, so you’ll improve even more.

But it’s not easy to get started. One thing that students often miss: it starts with l’écoute, hearing.

Some French sounds don’t even exist in your mother tongue. So you first need to hear them. Like the difference between Dessus (= over) and Dessous (= under).
At the same time, try to visualize that sound, how you could make it. Each sound comes from a specific part of your mouth, your tongue and your throat, so you’ll need practice to make them.
Once again, imitation is a great tool here. It will make you really pay attention to the way people really talk, the sounds they really make – even fictional characters on TV.

And it will only come with a habit of regular practice.

Learn more today:

Click on the link to get to the lesson!

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!


→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂

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Join the conversation!

  • Hi Geraldine, I make so many mistakes in French but always appreciate it when someone corrects me. In this spirit and not at all trying to be smart, I’ve sometimes noticed that you say “to practice” as a verb when it should be “to practise”. Just one of those little traps that both French and English catch us out with. Hope you don’t mind my pointing this out. I love your lessons.

  • Déja, je parle le français assez bien. Mon probleme est le comprehension quand les Français me parlent !
    Des conseils à ce sujet, svp ? 🙂

    • Bonjour,

      Oui, c’est un problème assez commun et il faut beaucoup de pratique. Je recommande aux étudiant.es d’écouter la radio tous les jours. C’est un bon moyen de s’habituer à une certaine vitesse d’élocution.
      Bien entendu, cela dépend aussi du contexte. De manière générale, si la compréhension est bloquée à cause d’un mot ou d’une phrase, il ne faut pas hésiter à poser des questions ou demander de répéter.
      Par exemple, « Je suis navré mais je ne comprends par le mot xxxx, est-ce que vous pouvez m’expliquer ce que c’est ? »

      Merci,

      Fabien
      Comme Une Française Team

  • Bonjour, How do you make friends in France with French people? I know people who have lived there for years and say it is very difficult. Any tips? Merci mille fois.

    • Bonjour Kate,

      Très bonne question ! It is a great question, and it depends on so many factors. However, I would say that the best way to meet people is perhaps to get involved in the local life (associations, activities, festivities, volunteer work, joining a club, etc.)If one lives in France as a family and has children in school, perhaps getting involved in the school life with other families is a good starting point.

      I hope this helps.

      Fabien
      Comme Une Française Team

  • This is excellent guidance Géraldine on the right
    approach that will work ~ don’t try to do it all at
    once ! Or, as you say in France ~ au fur et à mesure.
    Merci beaucoup ..

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