Common French words: facts and figures

The French language is one of the most romantic languages in the world and its beauty lies in its words.

The French language is estimated to be made out of a total of 200000 words with the largest French dictionary having over 100000 words. This can seem a really big and frightening number to someone wanting to start learning French, but here's the good news: you only need to know roughly 5% of the total words to be fluent in French. This means that focusing your efforts on learning the most common French words you will be fluent in French in no time.

What’s even more encouraging is that knowing as little as 100 words helps you understand half of the words in an article or book written in French. Learn the most common 1000 words and you get to a 75% understanding of texts in French. Also, each new word you learn helps you guess the meaning of up to 50 words you have never seen before. This means that knowing only 1000 words helps you guess up to 50000 French words. Doesn't seem that frightening now, right?

Top 10 cool and common French words pronounced by native French speakers

1. Bonjour. = Hello.

Let's naturally start with "Bonjour" which means "Hello" in French. This is one of the most known words in French and a great way to start a conversation with someone from France. Click play below to listen to the actual pronunciation:

Bonjour.

2. Amour = Love

Love is a universal feeling and we definitely had to talk about it here. French people have a lovely way of saying they love someone or something through the word "amour". Hear it in action here:

Amour

3. Bonheur = Happiness

When there's love, there's definitely happiness. We are all chasing "bonheur" as French speaking people would say. Listen closely and you might just get some “bonheur” in your life today:

Bonheur

4. Chat = Cat

Let's talk pets. There are two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. We are going to talk about cats first or how people in France would say: "chat". Listen to how it sounds like:

Chat

5. Chien = Dog

But let's not forget our lovely and loyal companions, dogs. A dog in French is "chien", a really useful word for dog lovers worldwide. Here is how you would pronounce it:

Chien

6. Sourir = Smile

Now it is time to smile or how someone from France would say "sourir". Smiling makes us happy and helps us stay healthy, so that's why we all need to smile every day. Here's the French pronunciation:

Sourir

7. Français = French

Next let’s see how people in a French speaking country would pronounce the name of language they are speaking:

Français

8. Oui. = Yes.

Yes, we have arrived at number 8 where “yes” is the subject to be discussed. French speakers say “yes” by simply saying "oui". Enhance your understanding by listening to how a person from France would pronounce it:

Oui.

9. Merci. = Thank you.

Thank you for reading this far or should I say "Merci" as they say in French. Here's a native speaker thanking you in French:

Merci.

10. Au revoir. = Good-bye.

No polite conversation can end without a good old goodbye or "Au revoir" how French people usually say. Now it's time for a delightful French voice to say "Au revoir" to you:

Au revoir.

Improve your French vocabulary online

Online language courses nowadays are fun, effective, affordable and use the latest technology to teach you a new language. This makes them a great solution to build your vocabulary. Meet Mondly, one of Apple’s best new apps of 2016 helping millions of people around the world learn a language. Our expert linguists have selected the most common French words so you start by learning what’s really important. No more learning random words you will probably never use in real life.

Each Mondly lesson revolves around a certain theme or situation: from family to colors to animals or shopping related lessons. You quickly get immersed in different situations like ordering food in a restaurant, booking a hotel room or having a casual talk with a native speaker you’ve just met. Organizing the lessons into themes makes learning French words a lot easier by creating powerful associations in your brain.

French words spoken by native speakers

It’s been proven that you learn any language faster when you hear natives speak. That’s why our linguists have made listening to natives an essential part of the learning experience. All phrases within the app are recorded by professional French speakers so you can sit back and absorb the correct pronunciation of the most common French words effortlessly.

Now, let’s explore the ultimate goal of learning French: having real conversations. That’s exactly why we’ve made speaking exercises an essential part of our lessons so you can practice the cool French words you just learned. You have to try our Voice Chatbot, a computer program so advanced you can actually have an intelligent conversation with. Just engage in a conversation and you get asked questions, you respond and the Chatbot understands what you're saying and continues the chat. It’s a remarkable technology that made millions of people fall in love with Mondly.

Image showing the French words you can learn with Mondly

Did you know?

There are about 100000 words in the biggest French dictionary and tens of new words are added to the French language every year. One of the newest words to make it into the dictionary is “bistronomie” and it refers to eating a high quality meal at a low price being a mix of “bistrot” and “gastronomie”.

The longest French word has 27 letters and is “intergouvernementalisations”. However, the word isn’t really popular so most French people consider “anticonstitutionnellement” as being the longest known word. It has “only” 25 letters and refers to something unconstitutional.

Surprisingly, there’s a French word that means both “hello” and “goodbye” so, if you learn the word “salut” you will be almost ready for your first conversation in French. You’re just a few sentences short of having an actual conversation.

The benefits of learning the most common French words first

Make French learning fun and easier

Starting with the French basics means you will begin by learning the easiest words first and gradually increase difficulty. This way you will feel great while learning and see how your language knowledge broadens.

Have basic French conversations in no time

You'll be able to speak to someone from Paris or Brussels about regular topics like weather, politics or family. This will make you confident in your French skills and eager to learn more.

Become fluent in French faster

By learning the most common French words first you are learning the smart way. Why learn the most unusual words in French when you might never use them in real life?

You improve your French vocabulary

Each new French word you learn piles up until your vocabulary builds stronger and stronger. Each lesson gets you one step closer to fluency.