How to Speak French Fluently

Speak French confidently with these 7 top tips

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Learning how to speak French is a dream for many travelers, foodies and Francophiles. A common misconception is that you need to learn French perfectly to be understood. But speaking French isn’t about knowing every word in the dictionary, it’s simply having the confidence to be able to express yourself.

Read on for our seven top tips for speaking French with confidence.

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7 tips on speaking French fluently and confidently

1. Pronunciation is key

There’s a pleasure that comes from speaking French with a (fairly) authentic French accent – consider it your reward for studying French pronunciation. Get better every day by speaking in front of a mirror to get you used to the way your mouth moves. And working on the tricky back of the throat ‘r’ sound (as in rien) in the shower will help loosen your tongue.

2. Watch and listen

Get used to the rhythm of the language by watching French series on Netflix with both French audio and subtitles. Don't worry if you don’t understand every word, just try to recognise the way words sound, versus their spelling.

3. Find your purpose

Why do you want to learn French? Learning a language can be hard, but focusing on your end goal will help you stay motivated. It can also help you choose study topics that are interesting to you.

4. Sing along

Singing along to music is a playful way to learn new French words, immerse yourself in French culture and get in touch with your inner romantic.

5. Fill in the gaps

The French use a lot of filler words to punctuate their sentences. While they might be hard to translate, they’re easy to learn and will help you speak French fluently.

  • Alors - So
  • Tu vois? - You know?
  • En fait - Actually
  • Ben oui - Uh yeah

6. Make it a game

Playing games is a fun way to learn French passively. If you’re a gamer, try to find Francophone players to play with. Or buddy up with another French learner and challenge each other with simple games such as celebrity heads, taboo or 20 questions.

7. Speak up

Chatting with native speakers is the best way to gain confidence speaking French. Pick up their expressions and gestures to help your conversational French sound more natural and fluent.

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Still have questions?

1. How can I teach myself to speak French?

If you’re looking to learn French without signing up for a language school or formal class, you’re in luck. There are more online resources available to French language learners than ever before. You can and should take advantage of the many free and low cost blogs, apps, and platforms available to French learners of all levels.

Tackling grammar and vocabulary can be tricky on your own, so be sure to find plenty of good resources – and practice your listening skills with some of the great French shows on Netflix. And be sure to get speaking practice – whether it’s with a French-speaking friend, coworker, or family member. Or, you can get short French lessons on your time and practice speaking with native French speakers on Busuu, of course!

2. Is French an easy language to learn?

Yes, French is a relatively easy language for English speakers to learn. Our language experts found French to be the third easiest option for English-speaking beginners, behind only Spanish and Italian, based on a review of spelling, pronunciation, and grammar.

French pronunciation and spelling can admittedly be a little tricky, and any language will take time and effort to master, but learning French is doable with the right resources.

3. How long does it take to speak French fluently?

A relatively easy language like French should take about 480 hours of study to reach basic fluency, according to data collected by The U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI).

That said, how long it’ll take you to reach your personal French language goals will depend on what those goals are and whether you’re able to put the time and effort in to reach them. We use a feature called Study Plan on Busuu to help learners figure out how much they need to study and how often to reach specific goals.

4. Is French a hard language to be fluent in?

Yes and no – it depends what kind of fluency you’re interested in. To completely blend in among native French speakers will take tons of study and practice – probably years. However, relative to other languages, French is not exceptionally difficult to learn to speak, read, and understand.

Some of the biggest hurdles are in mastering listening and responding to spoken French, as native speakers tend to speak quickly and drop certain letters and syllables in casual conversation that a French course alone is unlikely to teach you. That’s why it’s important to get feedback from native French speakers if you want to become fluent.

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