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October 15, 2013

Learning a new language and becoming fluent in it is quite difficult to do, but the right approach and an eagerness to learn, it can be done in as quickly as a year or even in six short months! But how does one get there? My answer: practice listening in French as much as you can!

In this article, we will explore the tips and tricks on how to properly listen to spoken French, and how this can be used to learn quickly.

There are different ways and methods presented by different French schools and French books as well as tutorials. But all of them agree on one thing – it is always easier to learn if you are truly immersed in the language, and You know how this can be done?

Through constant listening.

Many students who study languages in school as part of their curriculum end up not being able to speak the language. This is because force-feeding the learners with rigorous teaching methods just won't work for everyone. Language learners need to experience it themselves, and this can be achieved through regular listening to the language being spoken.

Don'ts in Learning  French

Before we proceed to the tips in listening to French, here are some DON'TS that you need to remember while learning a new language.

  1. Don't be lazy. No matter how smart you are, it won't come to you like magic. Always find time to insert learning in your free time. This could mean listening to French songs on the car, or watching French movies at night.
  2. Don't make it seem like a very hard burden. You'll learn faster if you're having fun.
  3. Don't keep memorizing long lists. Instead, learn by thorough immersion.

So here is a list of ten tips and tricks you can use in practising your French language listening habits.

Do's in learning French

1. Try to learn like a baby.

Think about how little babies learn a language: by imitating what they hear, repeating the word over and over, learning to recognize what it means, and by never being self-conscious in saying it. So why can't we try learning a language this way too? Listen to the spoken French as often as you can and keep imitating the pronunciation and the words. Never be afraid to keep practising saying the words no matter how funny you think you sound at first.

2. Always start learning the pronunciation before anything else.

Understanding the sounds of a language will boost your listening comprehension and will make it easier for learning to flow.

3. Spend a lot of your free time listening to French being spoken.

If there are words that you can't seem to understand, write it down and look for it later. Or--you can read while listening! Check out the short stories that come with audio in this course.

4. Immerse yourself by listening to French radio.

There are many French stations in the internet that you can stream online. Check out here for a comprehensive listing of available French radios on the internet. But my favorite for French Learners is the one from RFI (journal Français Facile) there is a script with it. Go here.

5. Watch a lot of French movies

Choose those without English subtitles on the screen. The non-verbal cues will be your guide to understanding what the characters on screen are saying. Plus, the emotions the film evokes will help you better understand and remember the words in the dialogue.

Filmfra.com has a wonderful compilation of free online French movies such as Amelie, Bienvenue chez les Chtis, Jeux d'enfants, Ne le dis à personne, and many many more. You can also check out this article for a list of French movie recommendations as well as a guide on how to use movies to learn French.

6. Listen to French music.

There are so many talented French artists that you will delight in listening to, and it will also help you retain in your memory the French words being sang.

Learn the words of the songs by heart (this is quite easy to do especially if you love the melody) and find out what those words mean. Check out our guide on how to use music to learn French. You'll find plenty of playlists there, too!

7. Watch French videos on Youtube.

There is a wide array of free Talk in French videos you can find on Youtube. Grab this chance to practice listening for free.

8. Make a recording of French words

and listen to it again and again.

9. Watch French TV.

Here's our list of French TV shows and where to watch them.

10. Talk to native French speakers.

This is the best way to listen to (and learn) French. If you can, go on a trip to a French-speaking country, but if this isn't possible for the time being, find French speakers to converse with.

Not only will this give you the right kind of practice that you need, you can also clarify the words with them or ask them to speak a little bit slower so you can catch up. You can find some on livemocha.


The more you hear a word being spoken, the faster it is going to become a part of your active vocabulary. This will make it easy for you to recall it in future conversations.

So keep yourself busy with listening to the spoken French language. Soon enough, you will have a natural grasp at the words without too much difficulty.

About the author 

Frederic Bibard

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

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