Speaking French Tip: Communicate First

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Follow my tips to get over speaking anxiety in French: be polite, speak up and clearly and keep your sentence simple : go to the point.

I meet many people who understand enough French to get by in France, but then they freeze when they actually get there. They know they are likely to make mistakes, and that stops them from even trying to speak.

This is really too bad.

French People Won’t Care if You Make Mistakes

French people won’t care much if you make mistakes, as long as you are polite. If you try to communicate and you do so with a polite tone, your effort will be welcome.

But if you spend precious interactive time looking for the absolutely correct form in your head, and don’t utter a word until you’ve got it perfectly formed in your mind, French people will get impatient and move on.

You need to be quick more than correct, specially when you go to Paris: it is a fast-moving city, like New York, and no-one has time for a hesitation.

Work on Your French Pronunciation

Pronunciation is really important. French is an evolving language, and book French is extremely different than spoken French.

So make sure you train with audio tools, always, even when you are studying grammar or verb conjugations.

French Verb Audio Drills

Train your verb memory with short 6-minute drills in 25 different forms and tenses

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Speak Up

Speak up! when they get shy, many people tend to speak very softly. But if you are looking for your words AND the person can’t hear you, it might be a bit too much! So don’t yell, but be careful not too whisper either.

Don’t be Intimidated if the French Correct Your French

If the French correct your French, don’t take it personally… It’s a French habit! French is hard, and kids need to be corrected all the time so they can learn all the pronouns and the conjugations… So we correct them. Hence, correcting someone who makes a mistake is a natural thing for us. We can’t imagine for a second that it’s rude, or that it may intimidate the person. That’s why I wouldn’t encourage your French friends to correct your French… it will make your life a living hell!

So, get to the essential elements of what you are trying to communicate. Use very simple words and simple constructions, stay in the present tense if tenses are a problem, smile, and never forget to be polite.

You may also enjoy reading my article – the best way to study French for speaking and how to make French people speak French to you

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 23+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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