6 tips for speaking faster in French

December 6, 2023 by Mylene in Pronunciation Lessons  ▪  

Speaking French can sometimes remain a challenge, even after several years of study, especially when the goal is to master not only the language itself but also the ability to speak French quickly. That’s why this article is specially designed to provide you with practical tips to refine your French-speaking skills. Because, let’s face it, learning to speak fast the language of Molière can be just as rewarding as it is stimulating.

The principle of least effort also applies to pronunciation. Naturally, we seek to make ourselves understood using as little energy as possible. To do this, I suggest you discover six tips used to speak French like a native. Get ready to discover effective tips that will propel you towards more fluid and confident communication in French!

1. Reduce the number of syllables

The number of syllables tends to decrease when spoken.

Example :

“je ne sais pas” becomes “ch’ai pas”:

  • The negation “ne” disappears.
  • The vowel “e” in the word “je” disappears.
  • An assimilation will then occur and you will hear “ch’ai pas”.

2. Delete the il

We tend to eliminate the impersonal il (he) in the expressions “il y a” or “il faut”.

Example

  • Il n’y a pas photo ! becomes Y’a pas photo [ja pa fo to] !
  • Il n’y a qu’à lui dire ! becomes Y’a qu’à lui dire [ja ka lɥi diʁ] !
  • Il faut qu’on y aille. becomes Faut qu’on y aille [fo kɔ̃ ni aj].

3. Skip the L

The consonant l tends to disappear in certain words.

Example

  • Il ne peut pas [il nə pø pa] can be pronounced Il peut pas [il pø pa] or I peut pas [i pø pa]. This is possible because the verb “peut” begins with a consonant.
  • Elle prend [ɛl pʁɑ̃] can be pronounced [ɛ pʁɑ̃]. This is possible because the verb “prend” begins with a consonant.
  • Je lui [ʒə ɥi] can be pronounced [ʒɥi].
  • Quelque chose [kɛl kə ʃoz] can be pronounced [kɛk ʃoz].
  • Celui [sə lɥi] can be pronounced [sɥi].

4. Apocope: cutting the end of words

The end of a word can be shortened, this is the apocope.

Examples

  • un restau (un restaurant)
  • sympa (sympathique)
  • pneu (un pneumatique)
  • la clim (la climatisation)

5. Apheresis: cutting off the beginning of words

Apheresis is the opposite of apocope. We delete the first syllable (or sometimes the first syllables) of the word.

Example

  • un autobus becomes un bus
  • le prénom Sébastien becomes Bastien
  • les Américains becomes les Ricains !

6. Reduce vowels

Orally, the objective is to be understood unambiguously with a minimum of effort. Certain pairs of sounds tend to disappear: between [a] and [ɑ], between [ɛ̃] and [œ̃] because the possible number of comprehension errors is minimal.

Example

  • We hear less and less the distinction between pâte [pɑt] and patte [pat].
  • We hear less and less the distinction between lundi [lœ̃di] and lin [lɛ̃].

Discover other tips

There are other tips for speaking quickly and, especially, like a native. One particular tip involves an interesting tendency in spoken language where the letters RE and LE can disappear at the end of a word, adding a unique dimension to your ability to speak French with ease and speed. However, it is entirely normal to feel overwhelmed by the diversity of available resources and different learning approaches. Especially if you’ve already noticed the difference between written and spoken French in everyday life, you’re not alone.

Join the online course and discover all these tips playfully. Because, let’s admit it, learning pronunciation alone can be complex, but with the right guidance, you can make rapid progress in your language adventure. Get ready to explore tips that will make you a more confident and competent French speaker!

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