Learning spoken French at home or everywhere ?

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How to get better at understanding spoken French ?

French people speaks very fast and when you hear it you can think « Oh my god, it is too hard to understand, it is too hard to learn French ». In any case you ability to understand spoken French depends on your level of French.  

Speaking fast versus speaking slowly

When you want to speak more formally and clearly your native language you need to speak more quietly. In different situations, when you are talking to your neighbours, your family or your friends generally  you speak faster. You are not aware of that because you speak it since you were born. We use different words, the words we use when we speak fast are not the same that we use when we speak slowly.

The letter E

The first point is the letter E. When we speak French fast very oftenly we remove the letter E from the word. If you begin to learn French, not hearing the letter E can makes a very big difference in understanding the French language when someone is speaking fast, this is the case for many words, like shop names in French : Pharmacie (Pharmacy), Boulangerie (bakery shop), Boucherie (Butcher shop), Garage (Garage),… For example, there is as well the adjective petit (little), when we speak we remove the letter E in the middle of the word, so the word petit (little) becomes p’tit. The letter E removed in the middle of the word is a usual thing in French, it happens a lot. We remove the letter E in the middle of some words, but we also remoce it sometimes in the phrases. For example, let us see that with this sentence : « I woke up at six » (je me suis réveillé à six heures). French people in their everyday life speaks fast, almost everytime. So, in this sentence we remove the letter E, and instead of saying je me we say j’me. But saying je me is totally right for all the native French people, so if you say it like that nobody will laugh at you !

Let us go back to word boulangerie (bakery shop). When a native French people speaks fast, by the way, even he (or she) does not speaks fasts he (or she) says boulang’ri. So, the letters E are removed, the both of them. 

The sound CH

The second point of oral is that the native French people transform the sounds. Let us see this following phrase, for example : I went to the bakery shop (Je suis allé(e) à la boulangerie). We remove the first letter E and that makes, so it becomes J’suis instead of Je suis. Je suis turns into J’suis. This sound can be more tranformed, the native French people say as well, when they speak fast, they say Chuis. The sound CH is the same as the sound « ch » in the word chimney (cheminée).

The sound of the word completely changes

The third point is that some words are transformed. It is very important that you know it because if you do not know it, it will not be possible for you to understand. I mean that the sound changes.

For example the word oui (yes). Sometimes the native French people, instead of saying oui they say ouais. This is the same for another famous word which is non (no). In general non turns into nan, pronounce it with nose.

Sometimes, for some words, we completely cut the word. Let us see that with this example, the word d’accord (Ok). The word d’accord turns into d’ac, so we remove the end of the word.

Another famous change is for the expression A plus tard (see you later), sometimes it turns into a plus, and more than that sometimes the native French speakers wrote it A+.

Another word is le petit-déjeuner (the breakfast), sometimes it turns into un petit-déj, so we remove the end of the word. And we saw before, we remove the letter E as well so the word is un p’tit déj.

Another expression is Il faut que (it is necessary that/it has to be done). When we speak fast it turns into Y faut que. We remove the letter L. It is possible to remove completely as well Il, so it turns into Faut que (I have to). Let see it with the sentence Il faut que je fasse du sport (I have to practice sport).      

Using ne or not using the ne ?

So the fourth point is that very ofently we do not use the ne for the negation. Normally we use the word ne for the negation. Let us see an example with this famous expression : Ne t’inquiète pas (do not worry). Sometimes we remove the ne and it turns into T’inquiète pas. We can also remove the last word pas, so it turns into T’inquiète.

How to ask something ?

The fifth point is that we do not use the inversion when we ask questions. Let us see with this example : Veux-tu manger maintenant ? (Do you want to eat now ?). If we do not do the inversion it turns into Tu veux manger maintenant ? (You want to eat now ?). If you say it like that your voice has to go up at the end of the phrase to indicate to the person you are talking with that it is a question, that you are asking something. Otherwise (if your voice do not goes up at the end of the sentence) it is an affirmative sentence.      

Do we say nous or on ?

The sixth point is : Do we say nous or on ? When we speak fast the word nous turns into the word on. We almot never use the word nous, but we say on. There si no differences in the meaning, it is exactly the same. The word nous is the first person of the plural in French and the word on is the third person of the singular. Let us see an example : Nous allons à la plage (We are going to the beach) – On va à la plage (We are going to the beach).

Les erreurs de langage / « The language mistakes »

The seventh point is les erreurs de langages or les tics de langage. We do not think of them, we just use them. To know them you need to talk with native French speakers because a teacher will never tell you them. We are not supporsed to saying them. These are hte words, for examples : ah, hmm, heu, tiens, quoi, ok, bah, ben, voilà, tu vois ? (you see),… It does not mean something everytime, depending on the context it can mean something or not.

Slang words

The eighth point is the slang word. Do not use them oftenly. Some people does not like to hear them. Let us see some examples : une femme ( a woman) turns into une nana, nana is the slang word for femme (woman). Un homme (a man) turns into un mec. Comment ? turns into quoi ?. Beaucoup turns into vachement.

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Thank you for reading this article !
Thomas 😀

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