Finesse your French: how to push towards French fluency – part 7
This early-advanced level of your French language learning journey is one of the most exciting stages. Now the payoffs are really starting to come in – and reaching French fluency is in your sights!
However, as you celebrate, this is no time to rest on your laurels. Even once you’ve learned how to engage with contemporary France, there’s a big difference between this and being truly fluent in French.
But don’t be discouraged!
MyFrenchLife™ is still by your side to show you how to push yourself to achieve French fluency.
What does it mean to be fluent in French?
When considering how to become fluent in a language, the first step is to define the term ‘fluency’ – it’s not as simple as you might think! Most people would agree that you need to be able to pass French 101 before you can begin to call yourself fluent.
Still, as Laura Lawless explains:
there’s a difference between fluency and perfection.
After all, we all make mistakes even in our native language. Meanwhile, John-Paul Fortney defines fluency as a matter of being completely comfortable with the language. Still a far cry from perfection.
In short, it’s not reasonable to hold yourself to the impossible standard of French ‘perfection’.
How to speak with a fluent French accent
One of the most obvious signs of fluency in any language is your accent. But this is a tricky subject to improve on after a certain point.
How do you keep advancing?
But it’s not always as simple as making your accent ‘perfect’.
Some French people are particularly impressed by excellent grammar combined with a slight accent. This combination makes it clear that you’ve learned French very thoroughly despite not being a native speaker. We Anglophones react in the same way when we enjoy hearing people speak English with a slight foreign accent.
And just as with your general French knowledge, it’s not always possible to make your accent perfect – even interpreters and translators often have slight accents.
So, although good French pronunciation is essential, being obsessed with making your accent ‘perfect’ shouldn’t take away too much time from the other half of this ‘golden combination’ – excellent French grammar.
The top of the staircase – advanced French grammar
The good news is that this other half of the combination isn’t so overwhelming either.
You’ve learned how to make French grammar easy, so the sophisticated structures needed for that ‘excellent’ French grammar are just the upper steps on the grammar learning staircase. This approach works especially well on websites such as ‘Bonjour de France’ that have advanced exercises alongside easier ones.
Social issues – how to put your French fluency to good use
But, building towards French fluency means more than just improving technical skills such as accent and grammar. Indeed, this is the perfect time to use your ability to:
It’s in situations like this that the rewards of all the hard work you’ve been doing really become clear. Now, the feelings of frustration you’ve been feeling all along may even begin to melt away as you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As you push ahead still further, that light at the end of the tunnel will keep getting brighter!
How have you been able to push yourself towards French fluency? Share your challenges, successes, and tips in the comments section below!
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Currently at a different level of French learning?
Click through to discover more articles in our ‘Finesse your French’ series:
You CAN learn French this time: a breakthrough method – introduction
How to overcome your French learning frustration – part 1
Moving beyond French conversation basics – part 2
French language and culture – part 3
The intermediate French learning plateau and how to overcome it – part 4
How to make French grammar easy – part 5
How to engage with contemporary France – part 6
How to push towards French fluency – part 7
How to have advanced French fun – part 8
How to maintain and build your advanced French skills – part 9
1. People at table by Beatrice Murch via Wikimedia Commons
2. French brasserie by x1klima, via Flickr
3. Reading newspaper by kaboompics, via Pexels