5 Tips To Speak Like A True Native French Speaker

When you learn a foreign language, there's always that moment, when you think you've reached a quite good level, you think you know enough vocabulary and know how to make grammatically correct sentences. You want to start chatting with native speakers and you realise that first, they speak really fast, and also some of the words and expressions they use sound nothing like the ones in the textbooks you've been studying for months or years. That can make communication a bit tricky!

In this article, I will provide some insights on how French people really speak in their day-to-day life with friends and family. These tips will help you, not only speak like a true native French speaker, but also help you understand French people more easily in casual conversations.

HOWEVER...

These expressions are not always appropriate, make sure to adapt the way you speak to the context you are in. For example, these expressions would not be appropriate in exams or a professional setting.

Now that this has been said, here we go: how to sound like a true native in casual conversations!

1. Use more abreviations

French people LOVE abreviations! At least getting familiar with the most common ones is a great way to make your French sound more natural!

  • Here are some common examples:
- la faculté ➡ la fac (university)
- le cinéma ➡ le ciné (cinema)
- la musculation ➡ la muscu (gym)
- la publicité ➡ la pub (advertisement)
- les informations ➡ les infos (news)
- le restaurant ➡ le resto (restaurant)
- le McDonald ➡ le McDo (McDonald's)
- la télévision ➡ la télé (TV)
- l'ordinateur ➡ l'ordi (computer)
- disponible ➡ dispo (available)
- une/un colocataire ➡ une/un coloc (housemate)

2. Drop the ne from ne...pas

Although technically ne and pas should always be used together to construct a negative sentence, French people tend to drop the ne and just keep the pas after the verb. This is a must-know tip if you want to sound like a true native speaker!

  • Here are some sentence examples:
- Je ne connais pas ce mot ➡ Je connais pas ce mot. (I don't know this word)
- Je n'ai pas bien compris ➡ J'ai pas bien compris. (I didn't quite get that)
- Ne parle pas trop vite, s'il te plaît! ➡ Parle pas trop vite, s'il te plaît! (Please don't speak too fast)

3. Use on instead of nous

Both on and nous mean "we", however nous sounds a lot more formal than on and French people tend to use on more frequently when speaking. Nous is more common in very formal settings or written down in a letter.

  • Here are some sentence examples:
- Nous venons d'arriver en France On vient d'arriver en France. (We just arrived in France)
- Nous apprenons le français depuis deux ans ➡ On apprend le français depuis deux ans. (We've been learning French for to years)

4. Use a more casual question form

In French, we have three question forms.
1. You can either use a subject/verb inversion : As-tu pris ton petit-déjeuner ? (Have you had breakfast?). This question form is very formal and would not sound very natural in a casual conversation.
2. You can add Est-ce que at the beginning of the sentence: Est-ce que tu as pris ton petit-déjeuner ? This question form is standard and can be used in any context.
3. Or you can just construct your question like a statement and raise your intonation at the end of the sentence : Tu as pris ton petit-déjeuner ? This questions form is very casual and probably the one French people use the most.

5. Use more contractions

1. Drop the "e"
French has a lot of two letter words ending with the letter "e": je, me, te, de, ce, etc. Usually the final "e" in these words should only be dropped in front of a word starting with a vowel. However, French people tend to drop it regardless, especially if they're speaking very fast.

  • For example:
- Je pense pas ➡ J’pense pas. (I don't think so)
- Tu te lèves à quelle heure normalement? ➡ Tu t'lèves à quelle heure normalement? (What time do you usually get up?)
- Je connais pas ce mot ➡ Je connais pas c'mot. (I don't know this word)
N.B: This reflects the way French people speak, but we do not necessarily write it this way.

2. Turn the "j" into a "ch"
When the word je is in front of a verb starting with the letter "s", we often mix them together and it becomes "ch"

  • For example:
Je sais pas ➡ Ché pas. (I don't know)
Je suis pas sûr(e)! ➡ Chui pas sûr(e)! (I'm not sure)

3. Drop the "u" at the end of tu
If tu is in front of a word starting with a vowel, French people tend to drop the "u"

  • For example:
Tu as compris ? T'as compris ? (Do you understand?)
Tu as déjà vu ce film ? ➡ T'as déjà vu ce film ? (Have you ever seen the movie?)

4. Use a contraction for il y a
We tend to say y'a instead of il y a.

  • For example:
Il y a beaucoup de monde! Y'a beaucoup de monde!
Est-ce qu'il y a beaucoup de magasins près de chez toi ? Oui, il y en a beaucoup!
➡ Est-ce qu'y'a beaucoup de magasins près de chez toi ? Oui, y'en a beaucoup! (Are there a lot of shops near your house? Yes, there are a lot of them)

So here you have it : 5 tips in order to speak like a true native! Try these out next time you have the chance to speak with some French friends of yours or even ask your French teacher to speak this way during your next class for you to practice! I hope you enjoyed this article, let me know your thoughts in the comment section!

A bientôt 😄


27 novembre 2019
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Odile Tezel

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Français
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France
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1
Parle:
Français
Langue maternelle
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Anglais
C2
,
Chinois mandarin
B1
,
Espagnol
A2
,
Malais
A1
,
Khmer
A1
I am a freelance online French teacher. I have taught French in various settings : universities, private schools, at home, etc. And I have now been teaching French online for more than two years. As a result, I have an extensive experience in teaching French to adult students from all around the world and all levels. I have a Master Degree in Applied Foreign Languages and, being a language student myself, I understand how hard it can be to learn a foreign language. My classes are tailored to fit my students expectations and make sure to cater to their specific needs. Before starting to teach a student, I always make sure to understand their long-term goal, in order to provide a customized lesson plan. I always make sure to diversify the class materials that I use, mixing articles, videos and audio recordings for the student to have a more engaging and effective learning experience. Ever since I started teaching online, my teaching method has proven to be very effective. I have taught many beginner students from learning their very first French word up to having a strong understanding of French pronunciation, grammar and even culture. I have also helped many intermediate and advanced students improve and consolidate their existing French skills. Finally, I have helped students prepare for very specific examinations: professional interviews, visa interviews, DELF exams and even French driving license. Thank you for looking at my profile and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask or book a trial lesson. I'm sure together we can work up a plan that will fit you perfectly! I look forward to hearing from you! 我是法国人,而法语是我的母语。我拥有 3年多的法语教学经验,而这包括两年的网络法语教学经验。首先我2013年曾经在台湾的长荣大学担任一年的法语助教。后来,2015年我在中国上海的Cafécole法语学校担任半年的法语老师。 因为我到现在教过许多中国学生,所以我非常了解说中文学生学习上的困难。为了帮助你更加了解法语,我会使用很多不同的方法 : 第一,我可以用双语教学用中文和英文解释法文。 第二,我的学生都有不一样的需求。我曾经帮助过学生准备去法国学习或工作,准备面试和面签以及准备考DELF考试。所以上课以前,我会提供你免费的咨询服务然后根据你的需求规划客制课程。 第三,上课的时候我会提供真实的视频或录音以及不一样的上课材料和活动帮助你学习法国人真正使用的法语 最后,最重要的事我们会很开心地一起学。 谢谢大家,我非常期待收到你们的来信 !
Flag
Français
globe
France
time
1
Parle:
Français
Langue maternelle
,
Anglais
C2
,
Chinois mandarin
B1
,
Espagnol
A2
,
Malais
A1
,
Khmer
A1
I am a freelance online French teacher. I have taught French in various settings : universities, private schools, at home, etc. And I have now been teaching French online for more than two years. As a result, I have an extensive experience in teaching French to adult students from all around the world and all levels. I have a Master Degree in Applied Foreign Languages and, being a language student myself, I understand how hard it can be to learn a foreign language. My classes are tailored to fit my students expectations and make sure to cater to their specific needs. Before starting to teach a student, I always make sure to understand their long-term goal, in order to provide a customized lesson plan. I always make sure to diversify the class materials that I use, mixing articles, videos and audio recordings for the student to have a more engaging and effective learning experience. Ever since I started teaching online, my teaching method has proven to be very effective. I have taught many beginner students from learning their very first French word up to having a strong understanding of French pronunciation, grammar and even culture. I have also helped many intermediate and advanced students improve and consolidate their existing French skills. Finally, I have helped students prepare for very specific examinations: professional interviews, visa interviews, DELF exams and even French driving license. Thank you for looking at my profile and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask or book a trial lesson. I'm sure together we can work up a plan that will fit you perfectly! I look forward to hearing from you! 我是法国人,而法语是我的母语。我拥有 3年多的法语教学经验,而这包括两年的网络法语教学经验。首先我2013年曾经在台湾的长荣大学担任一年的法语助教。后来,2015年我在中国上海的Cafécole法语学校担任半年的法语老师。 因为我到现在教过许多中国学生,所以我非常了解说中文学生学习上的困难。为了帮助你更加了解法语,我会使用很多不同的方法 : 第一,我可以用双语教学用中文和英文解释法文。 第二,我的学生都有不一样的需求。我曾经帮助过学生准备去法国学习或工作,准备面试和面签以及准备考DELF考试。所以上课以前,我会提供你免费的咨询服务然后根据你的需求规划客制课程。 第三,上课的时候我会提供真实的视频或录音以及不一样的上课材料和活动帮助你学习法国人真正使用的法语 最后,最重要的事我们会很开心地一起学。 谢谢大家,我非常期待收到你们的来信 !
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