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I would like to improve my listening skill in French. Are there any good web-sites for practice? I am afraid that learning with news or movies is too difficult and prefer some easier practices first. Thank you.

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I, too, would love to improve my listening skills in French. I can now understand my teacher at the Alliance Francais, but when I catch her talking to her friends I have no idea what they are talking about. I listen to TV5 on my television, but rarely understand a word. I reiterate your question, How can one improve their listening skills in French?
Hello! Is it difficult because they speak fast or because of the way they pronounce words? Maybe you could try to watch movies in French with French subtitles. At first maybe you won't understand a word, but the subtitles will help you to catch the "musicality" of the language. And the French news chanels should be quite easy to understand because presenters usually don't speak really fast and they articulate the words.
It is the way that they pronounce their words, everything - after taking 4 years of French in college , and then travelling in France for over a month - sounds like it is all one long muddled sounding word. Why is this? Is our ear not in tune with the french tongue, or do they just use a lot of slang and drop words?
Ok so it's both the pronounciation and the fact that they can use some slangs that you don't learn at school, and drop some words, like "aprem" to say "après midi" for example (this one is quite easy to understand I think). So maybe that if you learn the most common ones, it could help you to understand it better.

If you have the impression that when French people talk it's just a long muddled sounding word, it's because the French language don't really stress the words. So it may sound a bit monotonous for an English ear that is used to accentuate syllables... And this is why French people find English language so hard to speack correctly: because of all the stress and intonations.
In any language generally, including both English and French, there's little correspondence between the "real" divisions that occur in the sound of our speech and the divisions that we perceive between words (or other units such as prefixes). We perceive speech in our native language, or a language we understand fluently, as being divided into words simply because we've "trained" ourselves to locate these divisions. But there are generally no actual gaps in the sound of the speech corresponding to gaps between words. Actually, languages generally have what are called sandhi phenomena which are processes in our speech which actually serve to "join" units together rather than separate them.

In French, some processes that you need to get used to in "decoding" speech include:

- in standard French pronunciation, the "schwa" vowel (the one represented by the two e's in the word semaine) is systematically deleted under certain circumstances, so that e.g. la fenêtre would normally be pronounced la f'nêtre', je me suis levé would be pronounced je m' suis l(e)vé or j' me suis l(e)vé -- one of the first two es would not be pronounced, and the third may or may not be (with apparently the growing trend being to pronounce it in that case);
- subtle differences in how otherwise "similar" sounds are articulated in the two languages (e.g. in articulating a "d" sound, a French speaker aims to make their vocal coords vibrate throughout the entire "d" sound, whereas in English this isn't the case; in French, an "l" sound (and in fact "d" too) is pronounced so that the tongue touches the upper teeth; in English this isn't genearlly the case... among lots of other subtle differences like this...
- other "phonological processes" which, in various variants, are actually quite common among languages (in English) but differ in exactly how they occur from one language to another; for example, sounds next to each other generally influence one another, and a specific example is that in French, a "d" sound occurring after a "s" sound will tend to influence that "s" sound so that it becomes more like a "z"-- technically this is a process called "regressive voicing assimilation", which various languages have in various places, but not necessarily involving these particular sounds in that particular configuration (English has progressive voicing assimilation, e.g. in the pronunciation of it's, compared with he's, where the s sounds like a "z").

At, there are 15-minute dialogues in French with transcripts. You may find something useful there as they cover a broad range of topics.

Good luck
Thanks so much, I was just going to email Isabelle75Paris about what things can help me understand French as spoken by real persons in France. This will help a lot. Thanks again.
Hi! Here's my personal recommendation. Find some French friends who are not very good at languages and do not have any interest in learning English. Speak with them as often as possible and your French listening should improve really fast. Good luck!
You could try which has a huge selection of audio books and gives you access via a link to the texts too and it's free. The fact that they read rather than speak means it's a bit slower and having the written text to look at whilst you listen helps a great deal.
Thank you very much. You all are very nice and the information is useful. I know that learning French is not easy. I have beening learning English for 21 years but I still think that my English is not good enough, especially speaking and listening. I am not going to give up because I really love English and French languages.

Hi, the best way to learn is by watching videos, but they need to be adapted to your level, otherwise you won't be able to understand much and you may get discouraged quickly.  I found this new site with short video dialogues and video exercises to help understand, pronounce and learn the dialogue.


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