Let's be honest: We all dream of speaking perfect French. To communicate in melodic sentences, move along the boulevards and feel right at home, and essentially turn into Amélie for a day.
But if you've been learning the French language for a while, maybe you've found that it's hard to feel at home with this language. You know all the vocabulary, you have practiced the grammar...but something feels like it's missing.
In today's episode of the Fluent Show, I've got a special guest who is going to help us find that missing piece, in a bilingual episode dedicated to France and French culture. My guest is Géraldine Lepere, an online French teacher at Comme Une Française.
Her French lessons are for anyone who values the French language and culture, and her online courses help learners at any level go beyond grammar and "double their Frenchness."
Start listening here:
Bilingual? How does that work?
It's simple. Throughout this episode of the podcast, Géraldine and I will switch between speaking English and speaking French.
You will hear me make mistakes, forget words, and be right there in the truth of making mistakes. I am a French speaker and have studied French for 20+ years, but my French is NOT perfect.
In this episode you will learn
- how to swear and how to say "that's awesome" in French
- what you need to know about French food
- why understanding French culture makes the difference when you practice your language
- what real French people think about studying French grammar
- where to find the best restaurants and the best music in France
- how Géraldine's website can help you speak French comme une française
Here are a few things to listen out for:
As soon as I started speaking French to Géraldine, I threw in all sorts of other languages! On the recording, you can hear me say things in Welsh, then German, and then finally in the language I was looking for. When you are out of practice speaking any language, this type of "interference" is actually pretty normal.
Everyday Expressions In French
I learnt French in the 1990s from an experienced (though perhaps middle-aged) French school teacher, so I used this opportunity to refresh my Français familier: the colloquial language that was neglected when my education focused on professional environments.
Here are a few of the expressions I learnt in this episode:
- Greetings and Goodbyes - Coucou, À plus
- "quite a while ago" - il y a longtemps
- Swearing (hehe!): mince!, or putain/merde (but those are not suitable for foreigners)
- awesome! - trop bien, génial, chouette
- cute - mignon
- great, but also awful...depending on the context! - terrible
- funny - rigolo
- to confuse - confondre
- around here - dans le coin
Living in Three Languages
Géraldine is more than your average French woman: she grew up conversing with her parents in French and in Spanish, and now runs a business helping English speakers too. For her, every language comes with a slightly different outlook: French for love and life, English for business and strategy, and Spanish for speaking to family.
Setting Good Goals
For learning French, it pays to be structured and organised about learning other languages. Géraldine and I discussed how a clear Vision Goal and Path Goal can serve you as you're sitting down to learn. When you set yourself the goal "I want to speak French", you run a risk of big failure because things are so vague.
Make sure that you capture the vision and document what motivates you to learn French - le désir, but then get specific and create les buts de chemin, goals that guide you on the path to everyday fluency.
The Language Habit Toolkit is my structured product giving guidance and worksheets so you can create your own goals and study plan, step by step.
Speaking a Language Means Having Respect
French people often get a reputation for "rudeness", but is that really true or are they simply acting in a way you're not familiar with? For example, small talk is less common and a French speaker's silence is often meant to communicate respect for you. When you're learning French, knowing these important things about the norms of communication in a country are a lot more important than knowing the gender of every single noun.
Learning French as a language is one thing. Learning real-life French with all the little things that help you sound like a real human instead of a 1950s textbook, that's another. Géraldine mentioned how many times her students struggle trying to get that natural touch in the French language, and how many times they get frustrated because the French keep replying to them in English.
Once you start working on your cultural competence, you'll find that this changes. You'll be able to hook in to that extra layer of fluency that makes everyone around you relax. And voilà, they start answering in French too.
Want To Lean French Language and French Culture? 🇫🇷
If you have been putting in the hours on French duolingo and feel nearly ready to speak the language to real people, here is something that will get you exactly where you want to be.
Géraldine has got a programme fantastique, a brilliant course designed to speak real French. It's perfect for intermediates who want to start speaking French for real.
Oh and best of all, she's included a 15% discount for listeners of the Fluent Show!
Click Here To Discover How To Speak French Like In France (15% Discount)
Loved The Show?
I look forward to hearing your feedback. Did you enjoy this bilingual podcast episode? Did you understand anything...and how did you feel if you did not?