Home Advice Speaking of French: How to Be More Conversational

Speaking of French: How to Be More Conversational

by Rosetta Stone
How to Be Conversational in French

If you’d like to learn to parlez-vous français before visiting France, it’s important to focus on not only learning French vocabulary but also getting comfortable with speaking French like a local. Those that learn French in academic settings may end up memorizing the textbook version of the language, but might still struggle to understand conversational French spoken by native speakers. This is why Rosetta Stone emphasizes learning both the academic language and grammar concepts alongside the common conversational French phrases like the ones you’ll hear spoken in real-world conversations. From ordering at a restaurant to greeting a shopkeeper or paying for a taxi, you’ll want to use the kind of language that makes you sound like a local rather than a tourist.

What’s the distinction between traditional and conversational French words and phrases? Rosetta Stone can help you decipher that with bite-sized, contextualized lessons that present French vocabulary and grammar in the real-world situations in which it occurs. You don’t, however, need to take our word for it. Listen to a native French speaker describe the difference learning conversational French can make.

Just like English and many other languages, French incorporates variations on words or phrases into common usage. Here are a few examples of French conversational phrases you’ll practice in Rosetta Stone lessons, accompanied by some of their more casual counterparts.

Common French Conversational Phrases You Should Know

Keep in mind that when and how you use each of these phrases depends on your audience. Reserve the more casual conversational French for friends or informal situations to avoid appearing rude.

oui (yes)

Conversational variation: ouais (yep or yeah)

S’il vous plaît (Please)

Conversational variation: S’il te plaît (Please-informal)

Merci (Thank you.)
Conversational variation: Mille mercis (Many thanks)

Je vous en prie (You’re welcome- formal)
Conversational variation: pas de quoi (Don’t mention it)

Excusez-moi (Excuse me)

Conversational variation: pardon (pardon me)

In French, there are many variations on common greetings and choosing the right one can signal you understand not just the language, but the importance of etiquette in French culture.

Tips for Speaking Conversational French

To learn how to speak French in conversations, it helps to interact with native speakers in the everyday situations in which the exchange of language occurs. But since it’s not always possible to hop a plane to France or have a casual conversation with a native French speaker, Rosetta Stone has structured a language learning program that delivers plenty of opportunities to mimic real-world conversations.

1. Learn conversational French phrases in context

One of the most important things you can do to speak French like a local is to learn words and phrases in the context of the everyday situations in which they occur. Rosetta Stone offers French lessons designed with Dynamic Immersion®, a method that lets learners practice conversational French in an environment rich with audio and visual cues that helps cement concepts and improve recall.

2. Practice speaking conversational French daily

When it comes to language learning, there is some truth to the adage that practice makes perfect. Incorporating language learning into your daily routine is an essential step to make consistent progress towards becoming a confident French speaker. Rosetta Stone understands language learners have busy lives, so the ten-minute bite-sized lessons sync across devices, letting you learn conversational French anytime and anywhere.

3. Focus on French pronunciation not vocabulary

Language learners are sometimes in a rush to acquire new vocabulary, but the key to speaking conversational French is simply saying it out loud as often as possible. Learning French (or any language, for that matter) is about understanding and being understood in real-world conversations. By focusing on fine-tuning your pronunciation, you can develop an ear for the language that will enable you to better understand native speakers. Rosetta Stone gets you practicing pronunciation from your very first lesson with a patented speech recognition engine called TruAccent®. It provides real-time feedback so you can perfect your accent until you’ve mastered the je ne sais quoi of speech the French seem to produce so effortlessly.

4. Immerse yourself in French

You may not be able to fly to Paris, but you can immerse yourself in the language by making just a few small changes to your daily routine. Switch the language of your devices to French, stream French movies with the subtitles off, or watch French cooking videos on YouTube and attempt to duplicate the recipes in your kitchen. In addition to making you feel as if you’re embracing French culture and cuisine, you may also pick up some French conversational phrases that you’ve never heard before. Bon appétit!

Thrive in any French conversation. Take the Rosetta Stone free trial now.

Related Articles