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Understanding spoken French/speaking French?

Hi everyone, I have been studying French for 2 years now. I am in bilingual class with French at school, I listen to some French podcasts and try to read news in French but I still can't speak. When I do, suddenly all my vocabulary dissapears, I get lost in conjugation and forget probably all of thw grammar rules possible. What should I do? I mean, I know that it's probably about practicing but maybe you have some other tips. Also, what are the best sources to learn from (especially when it comes to podcasts or things like this, I dont really know where to find some audios)?

Sorry for any English mistakes... Thanks in advance!

November 12, 2017



Practice writing what you want to say first and use a dictionary when you don't know a word. Conversation is harder, because you often don't have the time to look words up when you didn't remember them. Review all the words you have learned daily. Start with simple conversations and work your way up. Have you tried talking to the bots on the app version?
It is common to feel a block in your memory when you first try to speak. So relax and say what you do remember. Remind yourself that it will come back to you later. Check this video out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi_OmybUa3Q

Bonjour! Comment ça va?

Here are some resources I gave to someone else before: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8298977


Speaking requires developing a level of automaticity that is very hard to get to without immersion. My French vocabulary must be at least 5x my Spanish vocabulary, but never having had the same sink-or-swim immersion, my conversational ability is nowhere close. However, it is improving.

One of the things I am doing is trying to use French every day - not practice, but use even if only in a passive sense. I listen to the RFI news podcast every day (Journal en francais facile), not worrying about word for word comprehension but simply understanding the news. When learning Spanish, one of my real breakthroughs was playing team sports, when I found myself speaking Spanish to team mates without actually realizing it. Sports offer a strong context with bounded vocabulary, but a fairly high tempo. Building on that, I watch French language sports broadcasts regularly now. Depending on your interests, I think you could find similar French language use/immersion opportunities.


Try reading out loud so your mouth will begin to be accustomed to making shapes and sounds of the words. You'll start to get a feel for the cadence of the language the more you speak it, even if it is just to yourself. I also recommend that you learn common conversational expressions and phrases by heart so that you do not have to think of conjugating them on the fly. Just like in English, there are a lot of very common phrases that pop up repeatedly in day-to-day talk in French. This will make your conversation easier and more natural.

Here's some: https://www.thoughtco.com/most-common-french-phrases-1371064 https://www.fluentu.com/blog/french/casual-everyday-french-phrases-expressions/ https://www.rocketlanguages.com/french/phrases/french-expressions

Youtube is a great source for listening to short clips/tutorials/commercials/songs all in French. ex. https://www.youtube.com/user/CommeUneFrancaiseTV

Lastly try putting yourself for short periods of time in "sink-or-swim" situations. Find a native tandem partner either locally or online and agree to speak only in French for a set amont of time. It is uncomfortable at first. You might find yourself pausing to think. It's okay! With time you will find alternative ways to say what you want to say. It won't be perfect, but the initial goal is communication. It does get easier with practice.

Good luck and have fun!


il faut trouver quelq'un (un vrai francaphone) que vous pouvez practicar avec. il existe les sites internet où vous pouvez trouver un ami par exemple, www.converstationalexchange.com (faites le recherche pour les autres sites )

d'apres moi, c'est efficace a practicar plus de deux fois par semiane. Ca va vous aider beaucoup. Vous avez peut-être des amis dans votre classe qui parlent français très bien? etuidiez ensemble! en fait, demandez à votre professeur une connexion française. La plus important: il faut avoir la cohérence.


I don't have the links but in the discord chatrooms you can find natives avaible irl to have an exchange. There are two discord channels made for duolingo by some users.


Well, one of my friends is French actually. Have been always so afraid to talk with him in French... I guess that I am gonna try it finally


I like Ian's comment about trying to use it more. I know if can be difficult, but more practice can help with confidence, and higher ability. That is where I would head—and there are other good suggestions too.

No worries about the English mistakes if there are some; we are all learning and I understood what you meant, which is what I think is important. :D


There is no way you can learn to speak, without speaking .You can start practicing by speaking to yourself when you are alone at home, and then find somebody to practice with. I had the same problem with French and Spanish, but as I was obligated to speak Spanish at work almost everyday, I can speak it without difficulty. I make some mistakes in grammar, but I have no problem with communication. On the other way - I don't have many occasions to speak French at work, so even though I know more words in French than in Spanish, I speak it less fluently. So practice, practise and practise, there are no shortcuts :P

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