So you want to know how to speak French. You’re in good company! Millions of people around the world embark on the journey to learn French all the time. There are many reasons why learning how to speak French is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only do you get to know the many people and places of the French-speaking world, but you also get to build your mental muscles by learning a new skill.
There are a couple things you’ll need to know if you want to know how to speak French. Of course, learning how to speak French takes time, effort, practice and patience. But don’t worry! With the right tools and teachers, you’ll soon know how to speak French with confidence.
How To Speak French: What You’ll Learn
Learning how to speak French means getting to know all the components of the French language: pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, among others. Each is essential in its own way to mastering French! Keep reading to learn more.
How To Speak French: Spelling And Pronouncing French Words
One of the most important things to do when you want to know how to speak French is to learn about French pronunciation. After all, you can’t actually speak the language if you don’t know how to speak French out loud!
French pronunciation is notoriously confusing for non-native French speakers, especially when they are confronted with a French word that looks nothing like it’s pronounced from how it’s spelled (think hors d'oeuvres, for one). The French language is full of funky orthography and very specific pronunciations — silent letters, clusters of vowels and sounds that don’t exist in English. And there are some sounds in French you’ll need to learn that don’t exist in English — like the back-of-the-throat r sound in words like rouge (“red”). But with enough practice, you’ll master French pronunciation with minimal stress.
How To Speak French: Vocabulary In French
Learning a new language means you’ve got to get really familiar with the words that make up that language. If you want to know how to speak French, you’re of course going to have to get familiar with French vocabulary. After all, you can’t actually use a new language without knowing the words, expressions and phrases that make up that language! The more French vocabulary you know, the more you’re able to talk about everything in your world — from what you do for work to your hobbies to your favorite colors and foods to the weather outside and everything in between. Plus, if you know authentic French phrases, you'll sound just like a native speaker.
The most effective way to remember French vocabulary and phrases is to focus on the words and expressions that interest you the most instead of wasting time on vocabulary you find boring or will never actually use. You can tailor your French vocabulary to your careers, hobbies, passions and everyday experiences and fill in the gaps where you want more words. This could include French for business or the medical profession. Or perhaps you like talking about sports, the entertainment industry or politics. You can create your own specialized French vocabulary depending on what’s important to you in your learning journey.
How To Speak French: Grammar In French
Learning the grammar of any foreign language can be tricky, especially if it’s very different from the grammar of the language or languages you already speak. Naturally, if you want to know how to speak French, you’re going to have to get to know French grammar. Luckily, many parts of French grammar are fairly easy to understand once you get a grasp on them.
There are, however, some elements of French grammar that are known to be more difficult for learners than others are — especially those elements that are more unfamiliar to native English speakers, like complex verb conjugations or gendered nouns, tricky concepts many beginner French learners have trouble mastering.
You might struggle with some aspects of French grammar and breeze through others. A lot of what you’ll find easy depends on the language or languages you already speak and how similar they are to French. And you can’t forget that everyone learns differently, so the parts of French grammar that give you trouble might be a piece of cake for someone else, and vice versa.
How To Speak French: The Best Methods For Learning French
If you want to know how to speak French, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices out there for how to get started. But it’s important to remember that there’s no right answer. Each method for learning how to speak French has its own advantages and limitations, so you should choose the methods that work best for you!
- Classroom learning and tutoring — You’ll get more regular, personalized feedback from an instructor and be able to practice speaking, but it can take a regular commitment of time and often money, and you might not be able to work at your own pace.
- Immersion learning — You’ll be challenged and required to adapt more quickly to a new language and culture, but the investment is quite extreme and requires money, time and the willingness to overcome major adversity.
- Software and apps — You can work at your own pace and choose content that works for you, but you don’t get as much practice in conversations with actual speakers, and you won’t get individualized interaction with native speakers.
- French-language media — Through French books, movies, TV shows, songs and podcasts, you get to hear and read the French language as it’s used by native speakers in real situations (and often for free), but you don’t get to practice speaking or learn the underlying rules and nuances of the language.
Of course, the best way to learn French is finding the right mix of all these elements that work well for you. And there’s no wrong answer! Part of learning how to speak French is figuring out which methods fit your schedule, budget, and learning style.
Find out more about the best ways to learn how to speak French.
How To Speak French With Babbel
If you want to know how to speak French like a real francophone, Babbel has you covered.
Babbel is designed by a team of language experts, educators, and designers who know all about what it takes to get the most out of learning a new language — so you are guaranteed a top-quality French learning journey that’s educational, engaging, and yes, even fun.
Babbel’s French lessons are designed to strengthen your skills in the four areas of language learning — reading, writing, speaking and listening — and make sure the content you’re learning is committed to your long-term memory. Helpful tips along the way help you reinforce what you’re learning by making connections in new ways.
Lessons introduce new words and expressions in stages, focusing on vocabulary that applies in conversations with actual native speakers — not nonsensical or impractical words that you’ll never use. And almost every lesson features a simulated real-life dialogue to help you put what you’re learning about French grammar into context in the sorts of conversations you’d be having with native speakers.
If you want to know how to speak French with confidence, what are you waiting for? Try a Babbel French lesson today!