Resources for learning colloquial French

I’ve taken quite a bit of French in school and I’ve studied some on my own. Unfortunately, most of the French I’ve learned so far is very formal. I’d like to learn how to speak French that resembles what people actually speak rather than how they write in books. How can I do this? Are there books or audio resources that would help?

Spend time in France or Quebec and surround yourself with French speakers. Barring that, modern French movies (not historical ones) with the subtitles turned off might help.

Watch a lot of French TV and movies. Also, read French magazines.

There are tons of books on slang and colloquialisms, and they are helpful, but really, the best thing is to either talk with a “regular” French speaker or watch TV/movies.

Try web searchs for the words ‘largo’ (French slang) and ‘verlan’

Verlan is a form of French slang that consists of playing around with syllables, kind of along the same lines as pig Latin. Unlike pig Latin, however, verlan is actively spoken in France - many verlan words have become so commonplace that they are used in everyday French.

A lurking friend pointed this post to me.

Actually, the correct french word for slang is “argot” (l’argot with the definite article), in case you would make a web search.
I’m not sure what you could ind this way, though… aren’t you as likely to find words used by criminals 80 years ago or current but generally considered very improper words as finding everyday colloquial french?

Well if they post the list of any words found I can say, to my best ability, which aren’t used and which are :slight_smile:

I know you were asking for resources but, & clairobscur may hate me for this, here are a couple of ideas for sounding more authentic when speaking French - essentially you need to relax and get sloppy.

In day to day spoken French the ‘ne’ part of the negating pairs ‘ne … pas’ ne … personne’ ‘ne … jamais’ etc. is almost always swallowed to the point of disappearence.

Thus “Je ne sais pas” becomes “je sais pas” (stroppy teenagers reduce it further to “J’ai pas”); “je n’ai vu personne” “j’ai vu personne” etc.

A few words/phrases may be shortened - “Bon Apetit” between friends is “Bon Ap!” and “A plus tard” the simple “A plus” (pronounce the ‘s’).

“Allez” can be used as a signal word to indicate you are moving on “Allez, à plus” or “Allez à demain”.

Sadly “bye bye” is becoming a trendy farewell “Allez, bye bye” and “ciao” is just as popular.

As Ponster said - if you want an idea on the usefulness of a word or phrase post it here and we’ll give it the once over.

Nope, I’m not gonna hate you…

Especially since everything you wrote is perfectly true…

If you’ve got a DSL or cable internet connection, you can go to and listen to French radio anytime. It’s similar to NPR in the States or BBC radio in the UK.

I’ve used a dialup connection to access the broadcasts before, but the reception was spottier.

The announcers are somewhat formal, as you would expect. The tone of interview subjects and speakers in soundbites is more conversational, though they’re usually government officials or experts making some sort of pronouncement.