How to understand French Better

Soraya Garré (Horizontal)


Are you just starting to learn French? Or maybe you have been learning this language for a while now, but you still cannot make out what French people say, which exact words they use, because they speak so fast?


Good news! It’s totally normal! Learning French is a long process. It takes time to memorize vocabulary, learn to make simple sentences, figure out how to deal with some tricky grammatical structures… Well, no pain, no gain! But you’ll see, if you stick with it, you’ll eventually understand a normal conversation between French native speakers and feel as proud as a peacock! Getting there just requires focus and practice!

Soraya Garré (vertical) Luckily there are a lot of online resources (podcasts, videos etc.) that allow you to work on your French listening comprehension skills. Depending on your level, you can improve those skills by watching French films, using English subtitles first, then French subtitles and finally no using no subtitles at all. Audio books can also be great, especially if you have a written version of the book. Pick a story you already know if you’re worried it’s going to be too difficult!

If your level in French is not high enough to go for those types of documents, let me introduce you to a web series I have especially designed for French beginner and intermediate learners. What is specific about this show is that the dialog follows a pedagogical progression. Have I piqued your interest? Let me tell you more then…

Oh La La, Hollywood Speaks French!” is a fun and sexy show that tells the story of two French sisters reuniting in Los Angeles.


For more videos visit Oh La La, I Speak French’s YouTube channel.


Throughout the webisodes you can follow the adventures of SoSo, Lili and their French speaking friends hanging out in California. It’s a very entertaining show that will make your learning process more enjoyable. Ideally, you also want to get the workbook that goes with the series and that includes a “fill in the blank” exercise along with the full transcript of the show. It will definitely help you make the most of the videos. And once you’re done with season 1, you can move on to the next season entitled “Oh La La, Speak French – Paris Style!”. Season 2 is set in Paris and focuses on SoSo’s story. You’ll need a strong intermediate level to understand this last series of videos. Workbook included too, with additional features suck as a cultural point explained after the transcript of each webisode.

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The particularity of this web series is that it teaches French as it is spoken and used in everyday life, which means that even if your knowledge of the French language is sketchy, you can still follow the story. The show also gives you useful insights into the French culture – as briefly mentioned above. Season 2 actually focuses on life in Paris and gives tools to those of you planning to spend some time in the French capital, possibly even going for job interviews and eventually working there. Obviously, this show alone will not be enough to perfect your understanding of the French language. But it will definitely help!

To finish with, I’d say that, on a more general note, what will help you develop your listening comprehension skills is your willingness to learn French, your curiosity and your love for the language and culture. Using a variety of French learning materials should help you stay motivated and interested.

So don’t hesitate to vary the supports you use! And keep practicing, practicing, practicing! But never forget to have fun in the process!

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