In this article, you'll :
- Learn how to improve your French listening comprehension
- Understand spoken French
- Understand native French speakers


This article will help you answer the following questions:
- How can I improve my French listening comprehension?
- How can I understand French people when they speak?
- How can I understand spoken French?


Active Listening in French

There are no secrets, to improve your oral comprehension in French, you need to actively listen to French. But, it's also necessary to be strategic in your listening. There's no point in listening to French content that you don't understand at all.

First, you should listen to French content that you enjoy, that interests you. You need to want to listen to French content to understand it better and to appreciate it more.


Authentic French

Secondly, I strongly advise you to listen to authentic French content. Authentic French content is content created by French speakers for French speakers. It's content where French people speak normally. So, yes, it's more difficult to understand, but it's the real French that's spoken in everyday life. So, that should be your goal to understand authentic French.

You have a wide choice of authentic French content, for instance, the videos from Brut or Konbini are very interesting and rather easy to understand.

For example, in my online program for learning French, the Frenchothèque, I primarily offer authentic French videos to my students so they improve their oral comprehension and better understand French speakers.


French Subtitles and Transcriptions

Make use of French subtitles and transcriptions! Most of the time one or the other is available, and use them. There's no shame in using subtitles and transcriptions to help you better understand French content.

Of course, I understand that your long-term goal is to be able to understand without needing subtitles and transcriptions. But, to reach this goal, you need them at first.

And sometimes, there will be French content that you understand without subtitles and transcription, and sometimes, you will need them.

You really have to use these tools: subtitles and transcription, as you feel necessary. If you watch or listen to French content and understand it without help, that's great! But if you watch or listen to French content and you don't understand it, help yourself with subtitles or transcription. There's no shame in it.

For my part, I have been learning English for over 10 years and I still use subtitles on certain videos to help me understand, especially if I'm not used to the accent or if the topic of the video is complex.

In my program the Frenchothèque, I provide the transcription or subtitles for all the French videos offered. This ensures that my students are always sure to understand the content provided and reassures them.


Test Your Understanding of French

Do you test your understanding of French? No, then how do you know if your listening is improving? It's essential to test your understanding regularly. For that, you can answer questions about the videos you watch or the audio content you listen to.

I find that oral comprehension exercises are quite underrated by French students. It may remind you of bad school memories, and I understand, but in themselves, these exercises should not be dismissed. Quite the opposite!

Oral comprehension exercises help you understand the entirety of content in French, but also sometimes the subtleties of the language in French content. It's very interesting. And sometimes, these exercises push your understanding further. By doing them or seeing the correction, you understand the French content you are listening to better.

I offer almost with each new lesson, an oral comprehension exercise to my students at the Frenchothèque. It’s a very good way:

  • to introduce a new theme
  • to discover vocabulary in context
  • and of course, to better understand the French when they speak, to understand spoken, authentic French.


Shadowing in French

To improve your oral comprehension in French, I advise you to do shadowing exercises in French. I talk a lot about shadowing because it is a complete and ultra-effective exercise to improve your French.

The principle of shadowing is to listen to a French native speaker talking and to repeat exactly what they say, imitating their pronunciation and intonation.

The act of listening and repeating is very effective for assimilating sounds and understanding them better afterward. It's a very powerful and complete exercise to improve your French and especially your listening skills.

In the Frenchothèque, I offer shadowing exercises on different everyday life themes. I talk about a theme in a natural and authentic way and I invite my students to repeat after me and imitate me. They improve their oral comprehension, but also their spoken expression.


Establishing a French listening routine

Once you have taken into account the advice I have just given you, you must establish a French listening routine. If you want to improve your oral comprehension in French, you need to listen to authentic French regularly.

It could be, for example, a 10/15 minute French podcast episode in the morning. At lunchtime, a YouTube video in French, and in the evening an episode of a French series or a French movie. It could also be listening to an audiobook in French.

I think you have a lot of possibilities regarding the choice of French content to listen to. You just need to find content that you enjoy and stick to your listening routine.


You can go even further and join my program the Frenchothèque. It’s the perfect program to improve all your French skills. It’s a total immersion in the French language for complete mastery of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, all guided by a certified teacher.

You will find lessons on vocabulary and grammar with oral comprehensions on authentic French content and with transcription or subtitles.

You will also find shadowing exercises, this very powerful method to improve your oral comprehension in French, but also your spoken French.

You can easily establish a learning routine to improve all your French skills by joining my program the Frenchothèque.

And to join us, take advantage of an exclusive 20% off on your first month of registration with the promo code: GIFT-CCEE45.