Did you ever think that the French or other foreigners speak too fast? Well, while there may be some truth in that, it is usually a subjective conception. They could say the same thing about other languages they’re not used to speaking. When we learn another language, it’s not always easy to speak at the same speed we speak in our native languages.
Many French students get discouraged because no matter how hard they try, they speak slowly. Some may have even studied for a long time and understand written and spoken French, but when it comes to speaking, they stutter or simply can’t speak as fast as they wished they did. But don’t worry. It’s completely normal, and today, I will give you a few tips on how to speak faster in French. Allons-y!
I have always read aloud ever since I can remember. Do you ever do it? If you don’t, I highly recommend you start doing it. Reading aloud helps us increase our speaking speed considerably.
Reading aloud is much different from reading in our heads. When we read aloud, we can listen to ourselves and correct any mistakes if necessary. We get used to speaking at a regular pace and gain more confidence to do it in public.
It doesn’t matter what you read…newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, etc. What matters is that you start reading aloud from now on. You will gain speed in no time. Trust me.
Practice Tongue Twisters
This can be applied to any language, and French is no exception. There are many French tongue twisters that you can practice. They range from easy to advanced.
Practicing tongue twisters has many advantages. You can improve your pronunciation, your listening skills, and of course, you can increase your speaking speed.
Start easy. Don’t rush. Practice each tongue twister as many times as necessary. Each time you dominate a new one, you will be climbing one step on the road to speaking faster.
Listen to French Music and Sing Along
Just like tongue twisters, certain songs move at a brisk pace and are perfect to help you increase your speed. Just look up some French music on YouTube. You can easily find lots of videos with their lyrics. Read the lyrics (or even better, sing!) as the song progresses. Try to do it at the same speed as the singer.
Some singers with fast-paced songs are Camille and Stromae. The video below, for example, is called Ta douleur, and is a good exercise to increase your speaking speed.
I don’t recommend this if you’re a beginner. You have to be at least at an intermediate level.
Use Contractions and Clipping
Just like English, French is full of contractions. The French love cutting off words to speak faster. For example, instead of saying “tu as“, they simply say “t’as“. The same goes for “j’suis” (je suis), ya (il y a), etc.
Have you ever heard the words “fac“, “d’ac“, “anniv“, and “resto“? Well, they’re the short forms of faculté, d’accord, anniversaire, and restaurant, respectively. Even McDonald’s has its French name: Macdo. The French love cutting words in half, don’t they? This technique of shortening words is known in linguistics as clipping or truncation.
We may not think too much about it, but it’s extremely important to breathe properly. Did you know that singers spend years training in this? Well, speaking is no different. If we don’t breathe correctly, we will have to make more pauses than necessary, thus making our speech slower.
You can try the same breathing exercises for singers. Look them up online and see how far you can go. Apply it to your speech, and you will speak faster little by little.
Pick up a Pace
As you progress, you will have to increase the difficulty. Start with short phrases or sentences, and once you dominate them, move on to harder stuff. We cannot run before walking and crawling first. It’s a process. Sometimes it’s longer for others, but you will eventually get there.
The goal is to pick up a pace you’re comfortable with. If it feels too easy, it’s time to look for more advanced stuff. If it’s too hard, maybe you’re forcing yourself too much. Make an effort, but don’t overdo it.
Don’t Think in Your Native Language
Last but not least, avoid thinking in your native language all the time. This is easier said than done, but it’s a must. When we learn a new language, we tend to think every word and/or phrase in our native language and then translate it to our target language. This consumes a lot of time and will be a major roadblock in your learning process.
To do this, you will have to speak, listen, read, and write your target language until it becomes second nature to you. Remember when you were little. Each day you learned a new word or phrase. You may not have realized it then, but each day you were improving your communication skills until you got where you are today. Well, you have to do that again, but this time in French.
It may be hard to accomplish, but once you do, you will be able to express yourself way faster.
Speed vs Fluency
This is a debatable topic among experts and students alike. Some will tell you that it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make as long as you speak fast, while others will tell you the opposite. It becomes a debate between speed and fluency. Many people think they’re synonyms, but that’s not necessarily true.
According to the dictionary, fluency is the ability to speak or write a language easily, well, and quickly. See? Not just quickly. Fluency not only involves speed but also mastery of the language and accuracy.
I think fluency should be every learner’s ultimate goal. Why? Because someone may speak too quickly and make a lot of mistakes. While mistakes are a normal component of our learning process, the purpose of learning another language is to expand our communication skills. But what happens if others don’t understand us when we speak? There is no communication. We don’t want that, right?
Today we saw a few tips that will help us speak faster in French and other languages. Some tricks are as simple as breathing correctly, while others are more elaborate. Remember we all learn differently. Don’t despair if you don’t learn as fast as others. You will get there. Practice makes perfect.
What do you think? Have you tried any of the tricks mentioned above? Which ones? How did it go? What would you add to the list? Let me know In the comments below. Au revoir, les amis!
Let's Learn French! Are you ready to take your French to the next level? I'm glad you are! Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate/advanced learner, I can recommend a few options for you. For starters, if you're someone who likes to study on his own, I recommend the following programs: Busuu Mondly Rocket Languages However, if you would like to hire a teacher/tutor, I recommend you try the following: italki Lingoda Preply Feel free to check my site to learn about more resources. Don't forget to check back often to learn more about the French language and culture. Salut!