Helpful tips from native/very fluent French speakers

Hello all! I am an English speaker learning French, and am LOVING it. However since listening to some music and seeing some films I've noticed some diction is different. So I was wondering if some of you knowledgeable learners and native speakers had some tips for this. Basically any slang words that are more commonly used than some of the words or phrases we've been learning on here Any help is very appreciated ! Much thanks and happy learning ! :)

April 21, 2019


Most changes occur with pronunciation or even grammar use. I could talk all day about all the changes, but the most you'll hear is outright ignoring the "e" or pronouncing it very lightly, and elisions, lots of them. Take, for instance "Je ne sais pas" , in everyday speech someone might say "Je sais pas" (without "ne") , "J'sais pas" (leaving no space between the words) or an extreme version which is "Ché pas" (obviously, you shouldn't write them like that if you sit a test and so on, it's not proper grammar) . These sort of elisions can happen with any verb, like "J'parle", "J'sais", "J'veux" and so on; all you do is glue them together. Also, a very common French phrase that trips a lot of learners off is "T'inquiéte" (You're worrying) which actually means "Ne t'inquiéte pas" (Don't worry)

About slang, there's a whole lot of them, but the more common ones are "mec" (or gars) which can be translated as "bro" or "dude". The female equivalent of it is "meuf" which has more of a "girlfriend" sort of meaning nowadays. You can also hear thousands of slang words for money, like "balles" or "blé" or for work like "boulot".

Also, a lot of verlan (basically words said in reverse) like "chanmé" (taken from "méchant") which has taken the meaning of "cool" and "zarbi" taken from "bizzare". Also, the aforementioned "mec" can become "keum" , and "meuf" can become "feum". I recommend just looking up verlan and figuring things out on your own, as literally every word can be verlanised or even reverlanised.

There's a ton of other stuff I could go over, but they come with time and practice. French colloquialism is an entirely different beast to deal with.

April 21, 2019

Also, a very common French phrase that trips a lot of learners off is "T'inquiéte" (You're worrying) which actually means "Ne t'inquiéte pas" (Don't worry)


April 22, 2019

an equivalent to "je sais pas" = j'en sais rien

April 22, 2019

You're right, a lot of things change in casual speech. I can't list all of them as there are way too many of them, and they change depending of the region (Canadian slang for instance is very different from European slang) and the age of the speaker. I'll list a few which are universal in spoken French regardless of age or region, and although not being standard, are so common that they are not perceived as mistakes in regular speech.

-Not using 'ne': there is always another negating element (pas, plus, rien, personne...) so 'ne' is not needed to understand that a sentence is negated. Because of this it is almost always left out in speech. Instead of saying "Je n'habite pas ici", say "J'habite pas ici"

-Contracting words even when they are not followed by a vowel sound. This is very common in fast paced speech, as long as it doesn't make a word unpronounceable. Je, le, me... are pronounced J' l' m' even before most consonants. Instead of saying "je ne pense pas que j'aurai le temps", say "J'pense pas qu'j'aurai l'temps"
Tu also contracts to t' but only before vowels, despite not ending in an -e: instead of "Tu es là", say "T'es là"

-Using 'on' instead of 'nous'. This is extremely common, in fact using 'nous' can sound formal and a bit off in casual conversations. Instead of "nous sommes là", say "on est là". Note that this only happens when nous is the subject. you keep it if it is the object: "Il nous voit" stays "Il nous voit"

-Using c'est instead of ce sont. This is also very common: instead of "Ce sont mes enfants", say "C'est mes enfants"

April 21, 2019

Tu as raison, tout cela est bien dans le langage courant. Cependant dans tous les cas (à part le on qui est bien plus utilisé que le nous) ce sont des façons de parler certes courantes, mais si l'on parle à un patron ou dans un cadre moins courant que les amis ou la famille, il vaut mieux éviter contracter trop les mots et ne pas utiliser "ne" car en tout cas dans mon cas ça se remarque et ça n'est pas valorisant. Mais pour ce qu'il en est de la manière de s'exprimer courante des français je suis d'accord avec toi.

April 21, 2019

The only contribution I could really make is concerning Canadian slang... so, here we go I guess ! X)

-The most common thing I've noticed is the anglicisms. I'm not just talking about words originating from English : A lot of people will just form their sentences like they would in English... but obviously, with French words. It's sometimes quite confusing and I definitely don't recommend doing this, it sounds very sketchy and unprofessional x)

-There's also the repetition of a pronoun in a question. To understand this one you gotta know how questions are formed in French : usually you start with the verb, then the pronoun.

ex: "Es-tu allé au magasin?" for "Did you go to the store?"

A more familiar way of putting it is by starting with the pronoun, like a normal sentence. It technically is a grammatical error, but with the tone of voice/question mark, it's easy to understand that it's a question and most people don't notice.

ex. "Tu es allé au magasin?", which means the same thing as the example above.

The error people often do is combining both. So it creates things like this :

"T'es-tu allé au magasin?"

Honestly that's the only things I can think of at the moment, I'll add some later. And sorry, they're both grammatical errors, but I guess it can helpya if you go to Quebec one day, or listen to one of these terrible French Canadian voice acting xD

When I think about Canadian slang, it's mostly the accent and the expressions that comes to mind. They're both very.. interesting. But I couldn't list ALL French Canadian expressions obviously xD

Thanks for reading this useless comment, have a good day -

April 21, 2019

Je partage votre sentiment, mais je continue de ramper en français!

April 21, 2019

I'm a native speaker but living in Belgium we use some words that French people don't use. For example if you want a baguette here in Belgium you have to say "pain français". If you want a sandwich with fries in it you have to say "Mitrailette". In France if you say that you're gonna eat a mitrailette they will look at you like an alien (or a disturbed terrorist) haha. The same with a round bread, here we say "un pistolet".

If you want to say "what a mess!" here we say "c'est quoi ce brol?" instead of bordel. Brol can also mean something that has been used and not quite useful "c'est du brol!". In Belgium we also say "à tantôt" to say "see you soon" but in France it would be "à tout à l'heure". The strangest thing for French people is our "nonante" to say "90" and "septante" for "70".

In slang, sometimes you'll also hear Arabic words used by young people like miskine, starfoullah, hlel (ta hlel = ta meuf) things like that (sorry for the spelling). Also ton daron/ta daronne instead of ton père/ ta mère. When you wanna go to a fastfood restaurant (not the famous like Mc Donald's or BK) say "Je vais au grec"

If you really want to improve your slang listen to French rap like PNL, Damso, Vald, Orelsan, Lorenzo,... but honestly even if I'm a native speaker I don't understand every slang words they use.

April 21, 2019

ahah or also "tracasse" to say t'inquiète, one of my belgian friend used it a lot ! for rap and slangs you can also listen to lomepal, he's a very good artist.

April 22, 2019

Oh I don't use tracasse that much but it depends where he lives in Belgium. There are also "Oh c'est bon", "Je gère t'inquiète".

Je kiffe "Yeux disent" de Lomepal, he is a pretty good artist indeed.

In another style, I like Roméo Elvis and Angèle, they are quite famous currently and their songs are somewhat entertaining, plus they are brother and sister (and Belgians lol).

April 22, 2019

very interesting

April 21, 2019

thank you and good luck for authers langanges

April 21, 2019

Wow you really helped her. Nice job

April 21, 2019

Un conseil: Il vaut mieux pour un étranger de ne pas utiliser l'argot ou des tournures de phrase trop familières. Cela ne passe pas bien ! Contentez-vous dans un premier temps du français un peu littéraire...

April 22, 2019

Merci beaucoup for all of this help, ya'll ! Greatly appreciated :))))

April 27, 2019
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