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How to Speak French

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How to Speak French

If you’re just beginning your journey learning how to speak French, you’ve come to the right place. Acquiring the basic vocabulary to speak a few French phrases online is easy but learning how to speak in French with confidence is a bigger endeavor. If you’re serious about learning how to speak in French, finding a language learning program that lets you move through lessons at your own pace, practice vocabulary on the go, and get feedback on your pronunciation is the key to success.

Some languages feel more intuitive for English speakers than others, and French is undoubtedly one of them. This may be due to a large number of French words that are commonly used in English such as chic, déjà vu, and chauffeur. But learning to speak confidently requires language learners to get beyond French phrases for beginners and dig into the basics of the French language, including pronunciations that take practice to perfect.

Rosetta Stone’s has been a trusted partner in language learning for 25 years with programs built using a dynamic immersion method that encourages language learning to scale naturally, helping beginners find their voice by practicing speaking French from the very first lesson. These bite-sized exercises explore how to speak French in real-world situations, supported by an award-winning mobile app that lets you practice language learning whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you.

How to Speak in French for Beginners

You may have picked up a few words in French, but learning how to speak French like a local takes confidence and a familiarity with the language that can be difficult to acquire for beginners. That’s why Rosetta Stone gets language learners speaking French from the very first lesson, getting beyond basic vocabulary acquisition to French pronunciations and the nuances of the language in the context of practical conversations.

In addition to sharing some words that are common usage in both languages, French and English also have cognates or words that were derived from the same mother language. This makes vocabulary a bit easier to remember for English speakers, although some of the gendered nouns can still be confusing. For most beginners, the real challenge is French pronunciation which has some slippery consonants and diacritical marks that are more difficult to decipher.

Rosetta Stone’s method of immersing learners in speaking the language in context is vital to overcoming some of the confusion that grammar rules or differences in pronunciation can cause. When you begin to learn a language with Rosetta Stone, you’ll be provided with lessons that teach words and phrases in the context of conversations, presented with audio and visual cues. Instead of memorizing vocabulary, you’ll become attuned to the nuances of the language and pronunciation as you might hear or speak them in a real-world situation.

How to Speak French: The Basics of the Language

You’ve probably heard French described as a romance language. And yes, French is one of five romance languages that include Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. It does not, however, mean that French is an inherently romantic language. The term derives from the Latin phrase that means to “speak in Roman fashion,” and it’s a nod to the roots of these languages which are a result of Romans and indigenous groups colliding. French was commonly spoken among the nobility for several hundred years after the Norman Conquest, which is why many French words have fallen into common usage not only in English but in other European languages.

As the French empire expanded and colonization grew in the 1800s, the language was carried into far corners of the world. Even today, French is the only other language besides English that is spoken on five different continents. That influence continues as over 220 million people around the world now speak French as their first or second language.

Once you’ve picked up the basics of the French language and learned how to speak common French phrases, you’ll need to get comfortable with French pronunciation. You’ll notice French words often have accent marks and those are important clues as to how to pronounce French words. There are five different kinds of accent marks, referred to as diacritic, in French. They are the cedilla (la cédille), the acute accent (l'accent aigu), the circumflex (l'accent circonflexe), the grave accent (l'accent grave), and the trema (l'accent tréma). For example, in words like Français (French) the accent mark is a cedilla, and it indicates that the letter “c” in the word is pronounced as an “s.”

Rosetta Stone can help get beyond the basics of French with a patented speech recognition engine TruAccent which is embedded into every lesson to provide feedback on your pronunciation. It compares your accent to that of native speakers, helping you to adjust and perfect your French until you can pronounce words and have conversations with confidence.

Lady on a street sidewalk asking a man for a restaurant recommendation
Learn how to say "Could you recommend a nearby restaurant?" from a native French speaker.

Tips that Can Help You Learn to Speak French With Confidence

There are no shortcuts in the journey to learning a new language. But there are tips that can help make the most of your time and methods that can boost your learning. Rather than rushing to cram learners full of words to memorize Rosetta Stone focuses on speaking with confidence so you can have actual conversations with native speakers in real-world situations.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your language learning experience.

1: Start with useful, practical French phrases.
From your very first lesson, Rosetta Stone sets the stage with common phrases taught in real-world settings. These bite-sized lessons are framed with audio and visuals that provide cues for memorization and contextual learning. Rosetta Stone also offers Phrasebook, a handy virtual guide packed with the useful questions and responses you’ll need when having a conversation in French.

2: Practice learning and speaking French vocabulary in context.
Vocabulary acquisition isn’t enough to help you speak with confidence. You need holistic learning that focuses on using words in context and teaches the connections between phrases and the nuances of the language. That’s why Rosetta Stone structures lessons around topics like eating out, greetings, and shopping to help you gain the basic building blocks of a conversation and scale towards speaking French comfortably.

3: Immerse yourself in French.
Even if you’re not able to spend your day in the company of native speakers, immersing yourself in French isn’t difficult. Follow a recipe from a French cookbook, watch movies in French with the subtitles turned off, or read a book in French. In the same way that traveling to a French country can accelerate your learning, surrounding yourself with a language on a daily basis can help your brain pick up vocabulary more quickly.

4: Speak French every day.
Practice makes perfect. Not only will committing to speak French daily give you plenty of time to review and practice, it’ll also help you become more accustomed to French culture. Rosetta Stone makes it convenient to incorporate learning French into your daily schedule by offering bite-sized lessons that sync across devices so you can learn on the go.

Ways to Learn to Speak French

You’ve seen the ads and wondered if it’s true. Can you really learn French for free in just a few minutes a day? Like most things, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Learning a language takes commitment but that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore. There are several ways to approach language learning and some methods do have better results than others.

Learning to Speak French Online

While it’s true that you can probably pick up a few French phrases online, learning to speak French with confidence is a more serious endeavor. It’s important to feel confident enough with the pronunciation and sentence structures to be able to hold a conversation in a real-world situation. And that is going to require getting beyond vocabulary acquisition and into practicing and applying the basics of the French language.

Rosetta Stone has expertise in language learning and recognizes that learning French online requires a holistic approach. That’s why from the very first lesson you’ll encounter immersive experiences that focus on pronunciation and context, building your confidence towards having impromptu conversations with native speakers. Rosetta Stone is also designed with the busy language learner in mind, structuring units around bite-sized lessons that let you take learning on the go with an award-winning mobile app.

French Learning Software

Ideally, a language learning program should be flexible, allowing you to learn to speak French whenever and wherever you have a few minutes to spare. That’s why Rosetta Stone’s online apps and lessons are combined with a robust French language learning software that allows learners to download lessons for offline learning, backs up to the cloud, and syncs across all devices. That way, you can pick up learning how to speak in French exactly where you left off.

Benefits of Learning to Speak French

French immersion has become increasingly popular, but containing language learning to classroom environments can be inefficient and costly. Being able to incorporate French into all aspects of your daily life and to take learning on the go accelerates your comfort with the language. And when you have an adaptive French language learning program from Rosetta Stone, you won’t be tethered to the expertise of one instructor. You’ll have a program designed by linguists and refined by over 25 years of language learning experience.

Benefits of Learning to Speak French

Learning a language has lots of practical benefits, especially if you plan to travel or study abroad. But language learning can also open doors to opportunities in your professional and personal life that you might not have otherwise considered. Rosetta Stone understands that when it comes to learning how to speak French, it’s about the journey and not the destination.

Learning to speak, read, and understand French is about much more than the practicality of being bilingual. It’s also about the power of being able to understand and connect with others through language. Here are more ways learning how to speak French can enrich your life.

Learning to speak French can help you in the kitchen

Any chefs worth their salt will tell you that French cuisine is the cornerstone of culinary expertise. Learning the language can help you decipher those traditional recipes in your own kitchen and conquer the enviable world of the French pâtisserie.

French is widely spoken and has a foothold on five continents

As we discussed previously, due to colonization and the fact that French was the language of the nobility for several hundred years, the language has an extensive presence across the world. It’s the only other language besides English that is spoken on five continents.

Learning to speak French can provide cultural insights

Learning a language can provide the key to unlocking cultural insights, helping to broaden your perspective and increase tolerance. And that insight extends beyond France and French culture. For instance, gaining an appreciation of French standards for courtesy might help you to understand nuances of greetings in other European cultures.

Learning French can open the door to new opportunities

Learning any language has the ability to increase career opportunities, including having some tangible financial benefits. Speaking French may also help you explore other professional or personal endeavors abroad that you may not have previously considered, including wading into that internship with a fashion magazine or taking a culinary class from a French master chef.

Learn to speak French with Rosetta Stone.

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