French spelling reflects more the way French was spoken a few centuries ago and is therefore a poor guide to today’s pronunciation.

For any language, speaking and listening to the language you’re learning during your lesson is crucial to developing confidence that you can communicate with a native speaker.

It is especially important when learning French because French spelling reflects more the way French was spoken a few centuries ago and is therefore a poor guide to today’s pronunciation. Here are a two reasons why:

A lot of letters are silent in French and consequently are not pronounced.

For example if you want to say that your friend, Marc, is French you will write:

Marc est français 

but say: 

mar – kay – fran- say

In French pronunciation, words link into eachother. Foreigners often feel like they’re hearing an incredibly long word when it’s actually several words linking into each others. This is known as liaisons in French.

When a word ends with a consonant and the next starts with a vowel the consonant often becomes part of the first syllable of the next word. Often French learners know each word in a sentence but when hearing them linked, the words sound like something else completely.

If you want to say that your friend Marc is in the United States you will write:

Marc est aux Etats-Unis 

but say: 


(all in one breath!)


You need to hear and speak French

French pronunciation does have consistent rules but unless you hear and speak French a lot when learning French, understanding French people speaking French can be quite challenging.

Nowadays it is still quite common for people to learn French, like they would learn a dead language (like Latin for example) by mostly reading and writing.  Frustratingly, after years of study they will still have no confidence to speak French.

When learning this way, you might develop some understanding of written texts and some writing skills in French but you end up having no idea or confidence about how to pronounce what you’ve learnt. People also end up feeling that it’s very difficult to understand people speaking French. With this old fashion way of teaching French your speaking and listening skills do not grow hand in hand with your reading and writing ones. 

However, at Speak French Now we will concentrate on speaking French all the time.  You will be communicating confidently in French before you know it.