French is a beautiful language. It is spoken by almost 140 million people as their native language, and it is the official language in 29 countries. On top of that there are about 190 million people speaking French as their second language. French is also one of the official languages in the United Nations. Speaking French fluently is a useful and appreciated skill. It looks good on your job resume and makes it possible to communicate with people all around the world! You can learn how to speak French fluently in many ways.
Taking French Lessons
You can start to teach yourself French by taking French lessons by attending a nearby class or getting yourself a French language learning software, which you can download on to your computer. These can be very helpful, although some learners find that they are not enough. If this is your first time learning another language, you will probably need some formal lessons. While not essential, they are very beneficial. You will also get to meet other people who want to learn French. Whether you want to take online or offline lessons, you need to consider your choice of instructors carefully. If possible, choose someone who speaks French as their native language.
Listening to French Conversations
Another way to improve your skills is to listen to actual conversations in French. You can easily do this by watching French news programs or movies. Online movie sites, such as Netflix, have a foreign films and television section. Many of the French videos have English subtitles. This means you cannot only hear the French, you will be able to read the translation in English as you hear the characters speak.
Learning the pronunciation
Learning French is more than just repeating phrases and learning them by heart. In order to speak French fluently, you must master the language. For at least twenty minutes a day, you need to practice pronouncing French sounds. This is a difficult language to learn, as the French speak with sounds with which English speakers are not familiar. This is why you might want to consider having an instructor to help you learn. The instructor can be a teacher, a tutor, a French-speaking friend or once again a computer software which has a built-in voice recognition. Many programs let you record your speech and compare it to the model speech. You will have no-one to correct you if you try learning all on your own.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Understanding spoken French can prove difficult in the beginning due to the way the language is pronounced. Many letters disappear and the words are pronounced together. How will you ever know where one word ends and another begins? That is fortunately something your brain will learn to do, but you have to give it a lot of practice. Start with listening to French in many settings, and continue by exercising your oral skills.
The only way to learn to speak French fluently is to speak it. Many language students are very self-conscious and worry a lot about making mistakes. I know how it feels and how scary it is to start using a new language especially with native speakers, but try to get over it! Most native speakers are very happy to hear someone trying to speak their language, and the main thing is to get yourself understood. They can usually work out what you are trying to say even if you make some mistakes. And if not, keep trying! I started to speak with my husband almost right away after starting my French studies, but it took me a long time to get my mouth open around his friends or relatives.
Find a friend with whom you can practice, preferably someone who speaks French as their native language. In order to speak French fluently, regular practice is a must. Practicing alone is not the most efficient way to learn. You can find people online who will be willing to help you practice. Perhaps you can do a language exchange: you teach them English and they teach you French! Do not worry about messing up. Others will understand that you are trying to learn.
Take a language course in France
The best way to learn to speak French fluently is to travel to France and spend time with French-speakers there. There are various courses you can attend as well. Spending time in a French-speaking environment will push you to practice your French skills and somehow your brain seems to change gears too: you might notice some fast improvement in just some weeks.
Whatever you do, do not get frustrated or impatient. You will not learn how to speak French fluently overnight. Whichever method of learning you choose, stick with your lessons. In fact, you might find that combining a few aforementioned methods will help you learn more quickly!