https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Had my first face to face conversation in French!

Hi people, passed a bit of a milestone on the weekend! I have been learning for about 16 months and I heard two French people speaking on a train in England. I hadn't spoken to anyone in French face to face before and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up!

I waited until they had finishing speaking in order not to be rude and just said "excusez-moi, vous etes francais ?" She said "Oui", with a big smile, so I sat down and said a bit more in French, but then my language skills quickly went downhill, so I switched to English with a bit of French thrown in.

I made some mistakes, but so did they and we helped each other with our French and English.

After a few minutes it was time for me to get off the train, but still, at least a partial success!

It helped that she was friendly, but it also shows that people appreciate you speaking to them in their own language! My heart was pounding before hand, but I think I will be a bit less nervous in future!

July 14, 2015

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MadameJeanneR

Speaking to others in their heart language naturally warms their heart. Congratulations. I was married to a French man for 22 years and never became fluent because it was only spoken at family gatherings not in our home (United States) and I was not received with encouragement when I tried. Now I have a son living in France and am truly motivated to become completely fluent.

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Sorry to hear it didn't work out well, but yes it looks like you have a lot of motivation to become fluent now. To help check-out some "frequency dictionaries". They aren't perfect and have a few mistakes in them, but I think they should form part of the language learning experience.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists#French http://french.about.com/ - good for grammar. http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french - good dictionary http://www.linguee.com/ - another good dictionary http://www.lerobert.com/espace-numerique/telechargement.html - probably the best dictionaries, but they are not free.

Best of luck!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

PS, only the top link is for frequency dictionaries, the others are just random dictionaries and good sites to help.

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dobie42

Excellent! What a great start! When hearing your language out in public, it is so gut wrenching to think about passing up the opportunity. I'm happy that you went along with a conversation!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Thanks!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

I'm glad you had the guts to speak out. What you managed to say or not is completely irrelevant, the important part is that you tried. And it seems you succeeded way more than you envisioned, good for you! Speaking to natives should be the number one goal of any language learner. I'm very happy you got a perfect opportunity to try it and went for it!

I hope it motivates you to work even harder to improve! Keep up the good work!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Thanks! Yes I learnt from my mistakes during it and it gave me something to work on when I got back! Always trying to improve.

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ernie669308

I am just starting out with duolingo. I wish I will get such an opportunity with time. Your story is encouraging.

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci beaucoup

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BobZoom

Awesome story.

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Thanks!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/xGemyx

Super happy for you! I can't even talk to my own French speaking friends in their language properly, what more for other people! I wish I could be as courageous like you and make more friends. Bonne Journée! x

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Thanks! Well 16 months had helped and it was on a train, so nothing much better to do! :)

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mphoenix12e

Félicitations! I'm not sure where you live, but a suggestion to you and all who wish to speak with other like minded people in the world of "des langues étrangères" is to try MeetUp.com and search French or French speakers (or whatever language) and perhaps you will find a group to meet with occasionally. Not every city will have a local group, so you might have to drive a bit to find an established group. If there are no options for you, perhaps you can start a group of your own! I meet twice a month at a local café with a group of Francophones from many French-speaking countries and learners like myself. i have been attending meetings since the end of 2009 and it has really helped my listening skills. I still get tongue-tied, but I'm much better than I was 6 years ago. Bonne chance to all of us learners!

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Link for the lazy.

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Bonne idée

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CanyonBluffs

Trés genial Eddie! I'm sure the next time you have an opportunity to speak French with a native speaker, you will be more confident. You brought up something that is really important. You were able to help the other person with her English. Sometimes we forget that there's a lot of room for cooperative support. Vous êtes une source d'inspiration!

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Oui, elle prononcé : « placement » comme « plassment ».

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tonya1981

How cool! Congrats to you! I speak English (obviously) and Spanish, but I am learning French and German as well and can't wait to find some people to practice with! I play a few online games with many international players, so that has let me practice a bit here and there. How exciting to you got some face-to-face time :)

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Thanks!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Don_Cristian

I need to find people with whom to speak French, it's the only language that I still haven't used properly in real life :D

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/neoking

Jesus Christ man, aren't all these languages hard to juggle in your head?

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Don_Cristian

well I'm not learning actually danish, irish, turkish and ukrainian ! I just tried them a little

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kirankling

dang

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RunningFrog

Good for you!

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BryOl

Speaking to someone in their language is speaking to the heart, otherwise it would be the head. That was great

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kirankling

I just had my first face to face conversation too! I was at the beach and met a french family on vacation. I was able to help their young son, who only spoke french, to learn to skim-board.

July 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Brillant ! Je vous souhaite tout le meilleur.

July 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/malgorzat.ka

Bravo, bravo!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Thanks!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rlabersmith

Félicitations mon camarade! I hope I'll be as brave as you next time. Well done!!

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci pour vos souhaits et répondre en français.

July 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MadameJeanneR

Merci beaucoup pour l'information et l'encouragement.

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci aussi

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/o0Ami0o

Merci beaucoup. Your story is very inspiring :D I've just started. I hope one day I can hold a conversation in French :D

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci et bonne chance !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/oleebranch

WOW congrats! I had a slightly similar experience yesterday but I was rather surprised at the phrases that kept coming to me. I studied French in high school but I'd never had to opportunity to practice it and my study on Duolingo has been quite sporadic, so I enrolled for classes again. I took my assessment exam last evening... I was quite happy with myself :)

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Félicitations et bonne chance.

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/compicej

Excellent! Congrats. :D

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/compicej

De rien :)

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/vijayluiz

Where I live, we have meetup groups and language exchange events. I am learning German. I find that attempting to speak the language about once a week significantly improves my confidence and ability with speaking and thinking in the language. You might want to browse social networking sites for such groups and their events. I find that I now (after four months of learning German and three months of attending language exchange events) speak much more confidently than people who have taken then B1 courses at Goethe Institut if they are attending language exchange events for the very first time. More speaking practice!

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Vous avez bien fait.

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JazzBlues

I have discovered that Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses hold meetings in different languages eg french, spanish, italian. Since it is a church you can listen to the language for an hour or so with questions? and then if brave, try saying hello to the natives. A free opportunity to mingle and try a few sentences. You also get a chance to read along in the magazine, bible and sing also.

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bubacham84

what a courage brother , is not really easy to break down your first conversation in public with the language you trying to speak. It's like you were trying to build up a mountain out of a mud and finally you succeeded by giving it a try. I am also in the same boat with you, let's just keep on digging the well, we will finally fine some fresh water the bottom of it.

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Bonne chance !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Maha.xx

I congratulate you for having the guts to start the convo, making the first step isn't as easy as it sounds to be. I wish I could have enough courage to do the same because I regret that I've missed so many similar opportunities. Keep it up! My best wishes :)

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Ne regrette pas rien !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Maha.xx

Vous avez raison! Je vais essayer de ne rien regretter.

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/galyavakian

Communication face to face is always the best way to learn a language. It's normal that you'll make some mistakes at the first time but slowly you get used to it and become fluent in French. Sometimes, I communicate in French with my mother because she's a french educated and knows french and this makes me easier to learn the language. Bonne chance!!

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci pour vos encouragements !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/galyavakian

De rien Eddie. I wish all the luck to you!!

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaChamberlin

that's awesome. i hope to have a conversation like that oneday. when i was in france a woman in a shop tried to explain something to me in very loud fast french and i had no idea what she was saying. i hope the next time i go there, i will be able to understand more. it's also very helpful when the person is really nice.

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Williamk

I was on a train in England and had some French lady sit next to me, was too embarrassed to speak to her since she was reading. I appreciate your courage!!

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MidnightFlaneur

Well done !

July 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/_Omar_18

Inspiring !!

It really made me happy to read it ... and i actually wish to make this step once :( :(,but it's alwas the shiness :( ...

So ... really a very good step ;) ... keep it up!

July 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci ! Le plus vous apprenez le plus confiant que vous devenez.

July 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryAnne993219

I had a similar experience on a commuter train in the US. I was sitting next to a simultaneous translator for the Canadian Parliament. How cool is that? He was very patient with me and very encouraging. I opened with "Vous parlez français?" I knew he spoke French because I heard him speaking with his colleague. His English was perfect, too.

May 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/kukabara_1

Génial Eddie, it's nerve wrecking as it is talking to strangers let alone in another language you only learning :)

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

Merci, je sais !

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_In_France

I think I made a mistake! I should have said "vous êtes française ?", because I was speaking to a female. Not français? Is this correct?

Merci

July 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Elda_Mengisto

Felicitations, et bonne chance pour ton future!

I personally tried another app (Hellolingo), and found a couple of language partners there. While it does involve some speaking, I mostly write. Most of it understandable, albeit it definitely needed some corrections. ;)

March 10, 2017
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.