How to get past shyness?

I've been trying to learn french for the past few weeks because I wanted a new language project, but I'm having a lot of trouble speaking with people. Normally I pick pronunciation up very quickly, but all the nasals in French and the differences between written and spoken have made it difficult to say the least. Anyways, whenever I put myself out there and try to chat with native speakers, they always laugh at my French and insist we switch to English. What the heck do I do?

September 1, 2018


People are laughing at you, not with you? What's the french word for jerk? connard? salaud?

Based on what you have posted I don't think shyness is the problem. If you were my son I'd say that you need to find some new friends.

I don't play the guitar all that well, but I know the minor and major chords and some decent strumming patterns. I don't play the piano like a virtuoso, but I can play a few songs. I can't sing like Frank Sinatra but if called upon I can belt out a few verses. I hang around with some musicians from time to time. Talented ones. Sometimes at parties people go around the room, c'mon man, it's your turn, get up there. Give us a tune! Of course I make mistakes. I hit a few sour notes, and it's a little embarrassing, especially in front of seasoned musicians. If they laugh, it's because I'm laughing too, but I can tell the difference between derision and encouragement. If they were really laughing at me I think I just might have to find a different group of people to hang out with.

September 2, 2018

well said..:-))

September 3, 2018

It may be a bit rude for your friends to laugh at you. I don't think this situation is because of shyness. But coming back to the topic, if you want to have a better french accent or you want to not get stuffed up when you speak french to another person then if you are old enough sign up for an exchange program or speak with people that actually want to help you learn french. You can also find websites on the internet if you are too shy. Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what to do.

September 2, 2018

The easiest thing for me was going to hostels in the Qu├ębec province of Canada. There are a bunch of people who are learning French there. After some time being comfortable with people while speaking English, you can transition to practicing your French! And since you all are learning, everyone will be awkward, which in turn makes it much more comfortable as you're not the only one. And yes, I met a couple of French people there as well and I practiced my French with them.

And the best part? The receptionist at one of my hostels gave me free French lessons each day!

I wish you the best in your French, BjornsenBjorn! :-)

September 2, 2018

Tell them you are learning and would appreciate their patience. When I started that's all it took for them to understand. Yes, people giggle when we make errors or sound funny but its important to not take it too seriously. If the goal is to speak the language, you need to speak the language. Make tons of mistakes, laugh at yourself and if that fails drink lots of wine*.

*my french professor told me to have a small glass of wine before class so I would relax and let the language flow.

September 3, 2018

I think what you need is to find the right persons to talk to. Not everyone is a jerk. But it also depends on when and if said people who seem to laugh or not have the patience to chat in french because maybe they just don't have or want to make the time for it. I think that if they are behaving this way then you may want to try a group where the purpose is learning and helping each other with that particular language. And if such a thing is happening in said language group, well, then you need to find another one. And I know, shyness does kind of hinder things. But you've already proven you can talk with others, so you are doing alright, at least in the area of social capabilities. As for the french, keep at it, keep listening, videos, whatever, and repeat what you can, practice, practice, we all can't get things at the same pace, but eventually with enough time and effort you will get there if you really want it.

September 2, 2018


ehm, are you really starting with 10 languages all in parallel including Spanish + French from the same Romance group?

You are in most of them at level 7-8/9.

If you are not just testing out a few ones:
You are IMHO wasting your personal resources (time factor, memory, etc.) and you won't be able to focus on spaced repetition, practicing recalling (Duolingo EN-FR forward tree will teach you reading on lower crown levels, but you actually need writing+speaking as well) and multiple resources as you would have to do ALL of them daily.

I've been trying to learn French for the past few weeks

How brave of you to try to start with the more difficult speaking part from day 1!

I didn't do it...

I don't think that Duolingo French computer TTS audio will really help you to get the French listening and pronunciation part right.

You could read about alternative language learning concepts on

What the heck do I do?

Maybe it ist just too soon to try to talk to local native speakers near you?

Have you tried the 100 days course (native recorded MP3s) and the French introduction course on

I also had seen the MP3 course from Paul Noble a few months ago online but what I heared about their "two student interacting model" and the user reviews based on this teaching style makes me wonder if this is a good way to start; I have not tried it personally as I would prefer native speakers (like the embedded French trainer from DigitalPublishing where I do not understand a single sentence ;) ).

Anyways, whenever I put myself out there and try to chat with native speakers, they always laugh at my French

Where? In France?

How about to find people who are REALLY interested to help you / chat with you on,,, & Co. or getting a teacher on

The last one, a real didactical patient language teacher, would be the option which I would probably go for in the first 3-6+ months (however, I did not).

You can also search for #add1challenge.

This makes me wonder: How much have you learned in the past few weeks in French?

Have you only used DuoLingo (TTS)?

September 2, 2018

Haha no I'm not a masochist, I've been on duolingo for about 4 years and I've tried a few languages during that time. I live in a tourist town, so I see a lot of internatuonak people, including the french. I'm spending most of my time learning Puget Salish right now so French is just kind of side project, I'm using a few different books and this site of course. Excusing my atrocious pronunciation, I could probably survive in Paris with the phrases I know (as long as everyone speaks slowly to me haha) Thanks for the tips, I will look into it.

September 2, 2018

@Thomas Heiss

fantastic advice ,thank you for the links provided,that is awesome.. Although I do not have any problem with speaking if needed ,but i lack fluency and a lot of links you shared are so useful.. thank you a million.. Much appreciated

September 3, 2018

Obviously, I don't know if this would apply where you live, but around here the public libraries offer a number of free classes throughout the week. There are usually several language groups for different levels that are offered. They're not so much classes as practice groups, so that you can get over exactly the problem you're having. :) You could check into something like that, since the idea of attending those is that everyone is learning together (with a native or experienced teacher, of course), so there's no judgement if you're having trouble. Good luck!

September 2, 2018

I did the Pimsleur French course and then spent some time in rural France, where the average person's English is horrid to non-existent. The people there were very willing to speak French with me, despite my deficiencies. Immersion and necessity are key.

September 3, 2018

You are associating with the wrong people, dump them, find other people to talk with. i try speaking in french to french people all the time and they never laugh, they mostly commpliment my poor attempts. some also try and assist me with pronunciation and phrases.

September 3, 2018
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