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Read affiliate disclosure. Luckily, there are lots of opportunities for French speaking practice online and in real life. Tandem is a trendy and visually appealing language exchange app. You can use many of its features for free, although there are some paid options. Despite its sleek interface, Tandem seems to go a lot deeper than appearances.
Tandem is the perfect way to practice your french
You can read this in-depth review of Tandem for more details. One of the most popular language learning apps, HelloTalk is free. You can also talk via audio and video. You can read this review of HelloTalk to find out more. Founded in France but now international, the site has a friendly feel to it, and when Benjamin attended one of their events in Paris a few years ago, he found that to carry over to real life. In addition to French learning content some of which is freepopular this popular site features an interactive online platform where native speakers can correct your work as well as participate in language exchange.
Confession : I am not the most tech-savvy person in the world.
I often feel comforted by sites that keep things simple. Another site where you can find pen pals as well as conversation partners is Interpals. French Together founder Benjamin used this very site when he started learning languages. He ended up meeting and making friends with several conversation partners.
Learn languages with natives
He later visited them when he was traveling abroad. As I wrote before, there are so many language exchange sites out there. You might also want to have a look at our list of free language exchange websites. Some of you may already be able to meet new people, mask-free.
That said, this part of the article is still worth looking into. Some platforms and websites that normally involve in-person meet-ups have adapted to our strange times, pivoting to virtual events and online chats in the meantime.
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Meetup is a website that lets you create or a local group or multiple groups based on your interests. You can use this website to find all kind of events, from conversation practice to real French courses and guided tours of a city. Although many on-site events are currently cancelled in most places, there are some exceptions.
And some groups have started organizing online meetups, so you may start talking to a French conversation partner or group online for now, and then meet in person when things hopefully get back to normal. Some places, like universities and libraries, for instance, may allow you to post a flyer asking for a French conversation partner. Of course, always be safe when it comes to what information you include in your ad.
How does “language exchange” work?
They can also be an awesome way to connect with people and learn French. Lots of French learners say that French learning Facebook groups are great ways to find likeminded people to do a conversation exchange with.
Right now, these are virtual-only, but one day there will be IRL ones again, too…. This entry may look familiar if you read the other section of this article.
When things get back to normal hopefully very soon…. These events are excellent opportunities for practicing your French. A of organizations offer immersion programs and opportunities to live with a French family for a while. I used to think this was just something for students including myself: I did a homestay when I was in middle school. Being immersed in French is an amazing way to kickstart your language abilities — not to mention your confidence.
And you may end up making lifelong friends in the process.
What are language exchange apps?
There are a lot of immersion program and homestay options, with variations like different trip durations, budgets, and extras, so this option does mean doing a little research. If one of them seems suspicious, just move on. Participating in a language exchange is a great way to improve your French. Most people you meet are probably fellow language learners and not a threat.
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But you never know. Some language exchange participants advise creating a separate and even using a fake name when communicating with online language exchange partners. This could prevent everything from harassment, to hacking, to identity theft. Before you make contact, be sure that any location tracking apps you might have on, are turned off. Before you turn on your camera for an online chat, make sure there are no important documents, objects of value, or specific things that might identify you.
Why practice speaking french with a native speaker?
Even if, say, a pile of bills are lying on a table in the background, you never know if the person talking to you can zoom in and get some information. When you do a video chat, choose a neutral background like a blank wall, or something that shows a little personality but nothing personalized; for instance, a wall with some posters or paintings you like on it, or a bookshelf with no personal photos, diplomas on the shelves. Some video chat programs even let you choose a fake background, which is another safe and fun!
Be careful about giving out other details early on, like your birthday, where you live, the name of your workplace, etc. When we finally can meet up with each other, be sure you do it in a public place, with other people around. This may sound like a no-brainer…but french chat app if you make a real connection with the person you meet and they really seem to be in need? Every circumstance is different, of course, but at least wait until you know them very well before you even consider doing this.
For instance, I used to belong to a blogging site where I became very close with several other members. At one point, one of them got very sick and needed help with medical care.
We had all known each other for years, had exchanged personal messages, sent details about our lives, etc. So I felt comfortable donating to the crowd funding site he set up, and it helped that our other blogging friends felt comfortable, too. But if it had been someone I had recently met, I would have to think long and hard about sending money to a stranger.
As one of my favorite guilty pleasure shows, Catfishproves again and again, there are so many people out there who seem honest but are actually living a lie and scamming people along the way!
Most language exchange sites and apps seem to be filled with mostly serious people who want to practice a foreign language. But there are some people who are there for other reasons, and some apps have even gotten a reputation for this. For example, in my research, the popular language exchange app Speaky was frequently called out for its numerous participants who seem to be there to find romance or something else… instead.
But beware: At least one of the reviews mentioned that this online romancing is actually scammingso again, be careful. This list offers additional safety tips for communicating onlineand this Duolingo thread has even more, very specific advice for being safe with a French conversation partner. In theory, anyone fluent in French would do.
Ideally the perfect French conversation partner would be someone who:. If you really enjoy talking to someone who is not a native French speaker, but still speaks French very well, keep doing it.
You can still learn a lot from non-native speakers, and as you practice together, you may notice questions or challenges that come up and explore them together. That was certainly the case for me. For his part, native Francophone Benjamin has had valuable experiences learning with non-native speakers of English. So, learning with a non-native speaker can be a great thing.
So I would encourage you to increase how many French TV showsmoviesradio programsand podcasts you listen toto compensate for this. It may also be good to look into French pronunciation checking tools. There are a of apps that do this, and an online search will give you several. Before you download one, check reviews to see if they really are helpful.
I hope this list will help you find the perfect French conversation partner. If you have one already, how did you meet them? Feel free to share in the comments! Alysa Salzberg is an American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has lived in Paris, France, for more than a decade. She has taught English and French for more than ten years, most notably as an assistante de langue vivante for L'Education Nationale.