We’ve written articles about how to improve your French or even how to learn French grammar, but today would like to talk about how to better your French-speaking skills. Some of these will overlap with other articles, but some are unique to improve your speaking. Let’s take a look at some easy techniques that can do wonders for your speaking ability.
Method #1 – Singing Along to Fast Songs – If you’ve read the article “Worst Ways to Learn French” you’ll know that learning French through music is overall a terrible idea. However it definitely has a place here. When most people think of the language-learning process they see it as strictly a mental one due to the large amount of learning and memorization involved. This is definitely true, but the truth is that it’s as much a physical one as it is a mental one. Singing along to fast songs probably won’t help you improve your French very much, but what it can do is help build up the facial muscles that you need to make the sounds of the language.
The idea is that you not only want to give your face and tongue a workout, but you also want to put yourself in situations that are harder than what you would encounter when you practice your French with friends. If you’re used to constantly producing French sounds that are harder and more strenuous than usual, then holding a normal conversation should be a piece of cake. Think of it like training for a 5k race by running 10k. If you get yourself used to running a certain distance then running half that distance should be much easier.
Method #2 – Speaking Along with YouTube Videos – YouTube is an amazing tool for the average French learner. More and more French YouTubers are putting both French and English subtitles on their videos for others to use. You can use these subtitles when you watch a video and speak along with whatever’s being said in the video. Doing this helps you not only pick up vocabulary in context and train the muscles in your face, but it also helps you to pick up the natural rhythm of the language.
Each language has it’s own cadence that is impossible to explain and can only really be learned through mimicking it. This method is extremely easy to pull off and can be done by pretty much anybody at any time. Some of my favorite French YouTubers that have French subtitles on their videos are as follows:
Method #3 – Reading Aloud – The advantage of reading aloud is that you can do it in more places and have a lot more material than the previous two methods. When watching a YouTube video or following along with a song you’re given a few minutes of solid material to train with. However, when you find a good French book that you enjoy you have several hours of good material to train with. It also is much easier to go back and repeat words and sentences that you have trouble with.
With the above methods it’s a little harder to rewind things and get back to a certain part that you are having difficulty with. Another great thing about this method is that it’s much easier to find content that uses more formal language and correct grammar. Videos and movies contain language that’s conversational and songs usually don’t contain conversations at all. Obviously conversational language is great and needed when speaking with others, but sometimes you need to take things a step further.
The only real disadvantage of using this method is that you don’t have any audio to use (provided you don’t have the audio book version as well. If you do then by all means use it) so if you aren’t familiar with how to pronounce things correctly then this probably isn’t the method you should jump into.
How do you improve your French speaking when you’re alone? Do you know of some methods that aren’t listed here? Comment below and tell us all about how they work and how they can help others to improve their French speaking skills.