Why do you struggle to decipher Spoken French ?

As a French coach, I understand the challenges you may face when trying to understand French. Why do you struggle to decipher spoken French? In this article we explore 3 main factors affecting your comprehension of spoken French.


3 Factors That Make Spoken French a Challenge to Decipher


1. Vocabulary : missing a key word

Understanding spoken French can be challenging due to vocabulary gaps. Not knowing certain words can hinder comprehension.

For example, consider the sentence “Tu as pris ton parapluie?”

If you’re unfamiliar with the word “parapluie” it becomes a stumbling block.


2. Grammar issue : missing a key structure

The structure of the French language is essential for comprehension, it plays a crucial role in making sense of spoken French.

Complex verb conjugations, various tenses, and unique sentence structures can confound you.

Take, for instance, the sentence “si j’avais su j’aurais pris mon parapluie” which expresses an hypothesis. Without a solid grasp of this type of structure, this sentence may appear enigmatic.


3. Specificities of Spoken French

Spoken French introduces distinct features and rules, setting it apart from the written language. These nuances can add to the complexity of comprehension. Here are three characteristics of spoken French that can be perplexing:

  • Pronunciation Variations: Words in spoken French may change their pronunciation based on their context, further complicating the learning process.
  • Disappearance of Words or Letters: During rapid speech, some words or letters might disappear, altering the way a sentence sounds and making it challenging to interpret.
  • Word Strings Create Unexpected Sounds: Spoken French links words without pauses, creating unexpected phonetic combinations that can pose difficulties for learners.


After examining these aspects, it’s important to analyze your specific challenges in understanding spoken French :

Is it mainly a vocabulary issue, a grammar gap, or the distinctive features of spoken language that pose the greatest difficulties for you?


As part of my coaching services, I regularly work with clients on such objectives in one-on-one sessions.

Click this link to book a discovery call and explore how we can work together to achieve your language goals.


1 thought on “Why do you struggle to decipher Spoken French ?”

  1. This is a great explanation of what to look for and consider.

    When I watch the odd French TV series it is usually 1 and 3 and perhaps a 4th – not hearing properly.
    An example of 1 Un mobile = a motive
    Lots of examples of 3
    and of course I presume 2. includes chèpa

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