Hey, So I’m a student in French at my high school. I’m currently a sophomore and I’ve been doing French since sixth grade. I was wondering if I could get some tips on how to improve my French speaking skills. I’l technically in my fifth year of French but I can’t speak very well though I can understand text fairly ok. I have a problem with understanding spoken French. Should I go to France? For exchange in my senior year. What websites can help or apps to speak to natives. I’ve done my share of searching but I’ve just gotten quite confused. I would like to be able to speak at least lower-high French by the time I graduate high school
Nothing like language immersion if you can live in France with a French family for a few months. There are various commercial programs like Rosetta Stone, but I have no idea how effective they are. A cheap/fun way to at least practice understanding is if you have a Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc… account and stream some French language programs or movies. Honestly, TV is how I learned English when my family moved here.
To learn any second (or third) language well you have to use it.
One thing that you can do is to watch TV shows and movies in French. Do you have Netflix? If so, there are some good French movies. There is one comedy “Gad Gone Wild” which is hilarious, and is in French (the same comedian also has a performance on Netflix in English, which would not help you). If you can find sporting events or news in French watching them has the advantage that you will have some idea what they are likely to be talking about. I did just now find a short segment from a French Language political debate regarding the upcoming Canadian election on the French version of CBC (ici Radio-Canada).
Do you know anyone who speaks French? One thing that I did in high school was to spend about 1 or 2 hours once per week speaking French with a friend of my parents who was fluent bilingual. This really helped a lot.
Oddly enough the last time that I looked (a couple of years ago) the BBC had some pretty good French videos available on-line (and for free).
There are some good French immersion programs in France. However, if you want something closer then there are also some very good French immersion programs in Canada. The ones that I have looked at in Canada were very good and very reasonably priced (they are heavily government subsidized). There are programs in Montreal and in Quebec City. There are also programs in Nova Scotia at Université Sainte-Anne and in New Brunswick at Université de Moncton. I am pretty sure that there are some others further west. Some of these are aimed at high school students, some are aimed at older students. You will stay at the university and speak French 24/7. In the programs that I looked at there are French lessons in the morning with different groups aimed anywhere from straight beginners to people who are essentially Fluent. Then in the afternoon there are fun activities which are held entirely in French. One day for example you might play “le soccer” in the afternoon. If you want someone to pass you le ballon you better say “ici” rather than “here”. For the program in Moncton, they visited “Les Roches Hopewell” one weekend. Since New Brunswick is an officially bilingual province, at Les Roches Hopewell there are two different tour groups. The group from the Université de Moncton takes the tour that is given entirely in French. Another day they go shopping at a store where the people running the store are fluently bilingual, but are native French speakers who only speak French for the group studying at the university. For my family any of Montreal, Quebec City, or Moncton is a relatively reasonable one-day drive which made them quite convenient (we live in the northeast of the US). The university in Nova Scotia would have been significantly more difficult to get to, and would have been either a two day drive or a flight to Halifax plus a 3 hour drive in a rental car.