It's an obvious point, but a basic understanding of French is needed in order to communicate effectively. Understand that you're not going to be able to speak confidently, or with a measure of fluidity, until you've got a solid beginner's understanding nailed down. Remember: the more you study, the quicker you'll learn.
Speaking in French is one of the quickest ways to improve your understanding. If you're visiting a French country and only have a beginner's level of understanding, try to strike up conversation with friendly French speakers, and remember the following:
Each of the above are phrases that you can use to gain additional knowledge during your first conversations, asking for explanations of phrases or words that you've yet to learn. Think of every conversation as a French lesson in itself and don't feel daunted – every learner has to start somewhere!
In the English language, you can quite easily communicate with others, even if you only have a very basic understanding. Unfortunately, French is very different in this regard, being structured to a tee, albeit in the same subject-verb-object way as English.
To converse well, you should work on understanding how French sentences are structured. Bear in mind differences such as article use, tenses, and words that are mutually comprehensible – "isolation" means insulation, "librarie" means bookshop, and so on.
Away from conversations themselves, you can learn turns of phrase, rhythm and vocabulary by using audio learning resources. Choose resources that are fit for your level of understanding – ones that feature known vocabulary, and are spoken at a comfortable speed – and that include two conversational partners.
By doing this, you'll memorise phrases, learn pronunciation and how words are grouped, and do away with any fears you might have of speaking out loud.
Many students of the French language who are native English speakers will cling on to their mother tongue, linking the French to its English equivalent at every opportunity. While it might seem like the best way to gain understanding, doing this in the midst of conversation will result in disjointed, slow speech.
Instead, visualise the words or phrases you want to say, linking these to the French in your mind as you learn. Imagine the English as a middleman through which you're communicating – it's far easier to remove it completely.
If you're not going to France – or any other French-speaking area – in the near future, that doesn't mean that you won't be able to find a French conversational companion that you can practice with. The internet is a hugely useful resource for students of French, and there are loads of online communities that let you meet new people with a better understanding of the tongue.
Take advantage of the live tutoring sessions that come with Rosetta Stone French subscriptions!
It's a perfect way to complement the award-winning lessons and exercises in Rosetta Stone French.
Learning to speak French is an exciting process, and a great way to improve your fluency and feel more like a native. If you want to get to the conversational level, download the Rosetta Stone app and take advantage of a free demo.
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