Paris. The city of love. The home of the Eiffel Tower and French fries. If you’re planning on visiting Paris, or if you just want to learn more about the French language, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing 7 resources that will help you better understand spoken French.
Is spoken French hard to understand?
I was recently asked by a student if spoken French is hard to understand. This got me thinking about how different the spoken language can be from the written language. I’ll discuss some of the reasons why spoken French can be difficult for students and offer a few tips on how to improve understanding.
Many English speakers find spoken French hard to understand. This is because the French language has a lot of Silent Letters. For example, the letter /e/ is silent at the end of words like livre. This can make it difficult to know when a word is ending, and can also change the sound of a word.
Another thing that can make understanding spoken French difficult is the fact that there are many liaisons. This means that two words that would normally be separated by a space are instead run together.
For example, the phrase Les enfants sont à l’école (The children are at school) will be pronounced: Les_enfants sont_à l’école
In addition, French speakers tend to speak quickly and use a lot of idiomatic expressions. You will find several articles presenting common French idioms:
As you can see, there are a lot of things that can make spoken French hard to understand for English speakers. However, there are a few things that you can do to make spoken French easier to understand:
- First, try to listen for key words and phrases.
- Second, pay attention to the context and try to fill in the gaps.
- And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you are unsure about what is being said.
How long does it take to understand spoken French?
How long does it take to understand spoken French? It all depends on how long you study, of course!
But if you’re like most students, you may not be reaching your full potential in terms of comprehension. That’s why I’ve put together a few tips to help speed up the learning process.
Learning a new language can be a challenge, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. When it comes to learning French, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Some people pick up the basics after just a few months of study, while others find that it takes years to really achieve fluency. However, there are a few general guidelines that can help to speed up the process.
- First of all, it is important to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. This means listening to French radio and television, reading French books and newspapers, and speaking the language as often as you can.
- Additionally, it helps to create a study schedule and stick to it. Dedicating just 30 minutes a day to studying French can make a big difference over time.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The more you practice, the better you will become at understanding and speaking French.
What resources should I use to learn French?
When it comes to learning French, there are a variety of resources available to help you on your journey. For starters, consider picking up a copy of « Le Petit Prince » by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Not only is it a classic tale that has been enjoyed by generations of readers, but it’s also written in relatively simple French, making it ideal for beginners.
If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, consider signing up for a French conversation group or taking a French language class. There’s nothing like being able to practice your new language skills with native speakers!
And finally, don’t forget about the internet – there are many online dictionaries and forums where you can connect with other French learners from all over the world. Here, our selection to better understand spoken French:
Learn French Fun
No false modesty, let’s start with our own YouTube channel. Every two weeks, we publish a video always accompanied by a free bonus PDF to help you learn French. You’ll find grammar lessons, vocabulary explanations and tips to improve your oral skills or for your exams. Go and see 🙂
Website of the French-speaking television channel TV5 Monde, you will find many audio resources to practice your understanding of spoken French. Moreover, these documents are always accompanied by questions, the correction and the transcription of the document.
And you can make your choice according to your level!
By the way, do you know your level in French? If you don’t know it yet, we have written an article to help you evaluate it.
As for TV5 Monde, RFI radio has developed a website with many audio resources from their radio programs.
As they are accompanied by questions with the correction, it will be a very good way to improve your understanding of French as it is spoken.
This is not a website with audio resources but one of the two most famous French dictionaries.
And yes, I recommend that you read the explanation of a word you don’t know in French, and not on a bilingual dictionary that will give you the translation:
- First of all, the translation might be imperfect.
- Second, it’s the best way to forget that new vocabulary word you just discovered.
This is why we do all our French courses only in French. And that’s even for beginners! It’s THE way to get into the language right away.
French for business
Do you need to learn French for your job? The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris Ile-De-France has created a website especially for that.
You will find videos in French for the professional world: talking about your job, daily tasks, everything that concerns the French language applied to work.
Specialized training you can do on your own
If you don’t have the budget to invest in online classes – because it is a budget! – you have the possibility to turn to specific trainings made to be done on your own.
For example, we have two of them:
- One on the conjugation of the 50 verbs most used by the French, with examples of sentences actually pronounced by the French, exercises and correction.
- And another one, on French phonetics: how to be sure that you will pronounce all your sentences correctly.
Below is a short presentation of the courses:
And if you have any ideas for a course that might interest you, let us know and we’ll work on it.
You already have a good level of French and you want to improve it? You want to understand all the little subtleties of the spoken language?
Here is a selection of YouTube channels that I recommend according to different themes:
The channel of the Montreux Humor Festival (CH). Be careful, understanding humor in a foreign language is extremely difficult, because in addition to the language, there is the cultural universe to understand.
A YouTube channel of economic popularization. If your field is economics, you will find everything you know but explained in French.
A YouTube channel of a French researcher based in Berlin – but who speaks in French – and who presents his scientific work in a very playful and exciting way.
The YouTube channel of the program Tracks, broadcasted on Arte (French-German TV channel). The art underground told in French…
What is the best way to understand French?
When it comes to learning French, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some people learn best by immersion, while others prefer a more structured approach.
However, there are a few basic things that all French learners should keep in mind.
- First of all, it is important to appreciate the beauty of the French language. From its lyrical sound to its rich history, taking the time to appreciate French culture will make the learning process more enjoyable.
- Secondly, it is helpful to start with the basics. Learning key phrases and grammar rules will provide a strong foundation on which to build.
- Finally, practice makes perfect. The more you speak and write in French, the better your skills will become.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a bilingual francophile in no time!
Conclusion paragraph: spoken French can be hard to understand at times, but with the right resources you will be understanding and speaking this beautiful language in no time.
I hope you have found these resources helpful and that they continue to help you on your journey learning spoken French.
Au revoir !