Is there hope?

I have learned French for 10 years ( in school as it was the second language) but there was a problem, there was no speaking we only practiced (la grammaire, la conjugaison, la lecture). My problem is when I hear somebody speaking French I understand about 90% of the conversation but when I try speaking my mind goes blank. Now even my knowledge goes rusty because I have not used it for a long time (for seven years). what should I do?

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Suivez la méthode “Lingq”: chaque jour lisez et écoutez un peu. Vous pouvez soit utiliser les leçons que Lingq vous propose, soit télécharger des textes et écouer des podcasts ou vidéos.
Par exemple, je vous conseille de commencer par les chaìnes youtube:
Français avec Pierre: Français avec Pierre - YouTube
Français authentique: Français Authentique - YouTube
qui sont dirigées aux débutants et qui vous offrent des sous-titres.
Essayez de comprendre autant que possible sans lire les sous-titres et après revoyez la vidéo avec eux.

Je vous souhaite bonne chance

Et bien sùr qu’il y a de l’espoir. Plutôt je n’ai aucun doute que pous pourrez atteindre un très bon niveau dans quelques mois si vous suivez cette méthode

Don’t know because of I am Russian

There is hope, but first you have to break down the problem step by step:

  1. You studied French in an academic setting, which for many people simply isn’t effective enough to lead to practical use of the language. BUT it can be very deceptive, because it makes you think, “Hey, I studied for 10 years, I should be able to speak.” But in reality 10 years, spent on an ineffective method can mean less than one year spent with an effective method.

  2. Just because you can understand 90% of what’s being said, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re at the right stage of comprehension. And you should in no way discount the benefits of listening and reading to improve your situation. Again, this can be deceptive – understanding is one thing, but if you can’t speak, one of the reasons may be that you haven’t listened and read enough to truly connect the words to expressions of ideas in your brain, despite being able to understand them. Those are two different stages of comprehension.

  3. Not enough speaking practice. I mention this last, because a) it’s an obvious and common answer to all our worries, and b) it’s actually not as important to tackle at first, as compared to the other two above.

Here are my suggested solutions for your problem.

  1. FORGET YOUR ACADEMIC STUDIES. They clearly didn’t get you where you’d like to be, and saying “I studied for 10 years” is meaningless for you at this point. The attachment to the result these studies “should have” provided is probably hindering your progress.

  2. Systematically read and listen to native level content A LOT, as suggested by many a post here on this site. Use your 90% understanding as a stepping stone to proper comprehension through listening. You should do this every day, without expecting any specific results.

  3. Yes, speak, more. This will become very easy for you once you’ve systematically read and listened every day for 3-4 months.


i thought algeria was like tunisia and morrocco in that although french is no longer the official language the language still runs deep in these places among educated people and they speak it quite fluently

Thank you kolpack for your opinion . But there is something that you really don’t know : it is “people from Algeria, Tunisia and Morroco are supposed to speak french fluently” ,“you are supposed to know french” is the problem here. so what, I am from Algeria and I can’t speak french fluently. So you tell me is there something wrong. I don’t know what have you heard about north africa’s countries but for your information, we comunicate with each other using arabic dialect. All courses in school are in Modern Standard Arabic. All official papers are in Modern Standard Arabic. The only french that you will hear is the teacher of french speaking in the classroom. I am already surrounded by people who you share opinion with .When they began teaching us french they forgot something really important. they forgot to tell us “it’s okey if you made errors”. Even now, if you make an error in an arabic word you will get" c’est pas grave" however if you make an error in a french word you will get “at this age and you can’t get it right”“aren’t you ashamed of your self, at this age and you can’t even make one sentence”.
so here I am telling you guys: I need hope. I need help. I need encouraging words. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble so choose your words wisely.

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I’ve already expressed my opinion elsewhere in this thread but I want to elaborate.

Obviously language learning is a combination of several activities that each improve specific skills. But if you understand 90% of speech already then I see no reason why you should spend a lot of time listening at this point. If you understood 5% I would. Maybe you could spend some time reading to pick up vocabulary but if your main complaint is struggling to find the words I think you need to practice speaking.

Obviously it’s not that simple. It never is. If you read and listen as well you will hear things that you may want to write down to use yourself to improve your speaking. But spending, say 18 hours a day, on listening at this point you will even after five years be in the exact same situation that you are in now. I flat out refuse to accept the notion that listening alone will enable you to speak (as a certain individual seems to think), and I am speaking from experience as I’ve spent sixteen hours quite a few times listening to Russian and Serbo-Croatian and lots and lots of hours in addition to that but I still can’t really speak the languages.

I myself am thinking of trying i-talki later. It should help with the speaking issue. You might want to try that too if you can’t find a speaking partner here on LingQ. Come back to reading and listening when you run out of vocabulary and phrases.

Also, don’t be afraid of making mistakes as a certain individual points out that you will be doing if you don’t spend a lot of time listening. It’s not the end of the world. Listening helps with that but even that is not a 100% cure.

You would probably benefit from an old US government program. It’s not copyright protected so it is free. A few sites have the course listed so I’ll send you two different sites:

You probably don’t need this one:

And two sites with the French Basic course (the same course on 2 sites):

If you have not used French for seven years, I wonder why you think you must restart studying it. You seem to be able to write English very well. Isn’t it enough for your life and work. I wonder why you think you have to speak fluently in French. There are a lot of things you must learn in your life, and learning a foreign language is not the only thing you have to do. If speaking fluently in French is really important to you, I think you have already started practicing it in your own way.

I have restarted studying German several times in my life. I am not going to spend more than 30 minutes a day studying it. I have some books I want to read in German, but I do not want to expose myself to the language 16 hours a day. You have to finish exposing yourself to a foreign language at a certain point in your daily life. Generally speaking, exposing yourself to a foreign language as long as possible does not seem to make you any smarter. If you were to study a foreign language all day long, you would lose something in your native language and something valuable in your life.


For what it’s worth, when someone says “I understand 90% of what’s being said,” this could be hugely misleading. 90% of what kind of conversation? What kind of content?

Day to day conversations don’t actually use as many words as books and other media do, add to that the possibility of someone using an easier register with you when they realize you’re a foreigner, and this “90% understanding” could be achieved with a passive vocabulary of 6-7000 words or less.

I’d be careful with using these kinds of vague estimations.
Reading on LingQ gives you specific numbers of words learned, percentage of unknown words etc. which give you a lot better estimation of where you’re actually at with a language.


I agree 90% = nouns adjectives verbs, 10% = context

I understand. I have been studying Mandarin on and off since since sixth grade and now I am in high school. I am not really fluent yet. There is one main problem. A lack of speaking. You and I need to find people to speak with and practice our languages.

For example, just get on HelloTalk and start chatting with people. It’s free, and the simple act of typing responses will get your brain used to conversation in your new languages. And eventually you will get faster as long as you stay consistent with the app. You will get good and fast at your responses, as it gets old taking forever, and it is fun to say “oh I was just chatting this random dude in French”. This translates to normal conversation, too, (except there’s no google translate to the side so you have to ask for the word.)

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BTW what’s this new number next to the apple thats under the thumb up and flag? Is is cross languages activity?

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While there is life, there is hope.

Thank you very much.

You definitely need to get in more listening. Listening is the most important skill to develop because it allows you to develop a great sense of proper pronunciation (the range can be HUGE and still correct). Think about how some people say “bury” in American English. Sometimes it sounds more like “Barry.” I guess it’s a silly example, but there are small differences that native speakers distinguish all the time. Think about when native speakers from different countries encounter one another and don’t struggle too much (maybe a little sometimes :p) to understand one another, despite being unfamiliar with that region’s accent. You can only really achieve that by listening. Also, speaking is not helpless. Many people here advocate for it, and it seems that the best part of speaking is that the learners are EXCITED TO INTERACT!!! The interaction gets you a lot of LISTENING PRACTICE, and it’s incredibly interesting (most of the time). Additionally, if you can’t understand the other person, you get the ability to ask about what they’re saying. They can simplify things for you, and in doing so, bring their speech to a level that is perfect for you. The speaking problem you’re having is very normal. You need to find interesting things to listen and read about. After you develop some confidence, then try talking with another person about it. Sneak listening into your time between work. Listen while you work out. You will get better through listening. The results come slowly, as you clearly don’t have tons of time to listen. Make it fun. Set small goals as you work towards your end goal. If you’re truly motivated, you’ll achieve it. Be patient, and make sure to celebrate each stepping stone! :slight_smile: Goodluck!


I also spent years in courses and had almost no fluency in French. My comprehension improved with LingQ, and for improving my speaking ability, I had conversations with myself. I started by writing out responses, then I gradually became able to verbally describe what I saw around me when working around my house or driving. I also found I freeze up when speaking, but I am gradually getting better. Keep working.


I don’t know why, but some of my comments have disappeared on this thread…Hopefully they’ll come back…

I know that seems a little bit strange but if you do not mind me asking why you choose and how long have you been studying spanish
finally are you able of reading literature know

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