Previously considered to be the preserve of the insane, I find that talking to myself is one of the best ways of trying out French words and phrases.
The best place to do it is when you are walking to work or to the shops and you imagine that somebody is interviewing you about a particular topic (maybe one of the myriad of DELF/DALF topics). Don’t worry, these days people will think you are talking on your hands-free mobile phone (to a French friend)! It is really useful to hear how you sound when you say certain phrases and to practice sounding ‘natural.‘
Enregistrer votre voix
One better than talking to yourself is to record yourself whilst you are doing it. Hearing your own voice enunciate sophisticated french grammar constructions will build your confidence in using them. Hopefully you will be to reel them off spontaneously later on.
Whilst talking in class or with a French exchange partner is also very important, sometimes in those situations you can find yourself feeling a little tense and a pressure to very quickly and correctly articulate your thoughts. Speaking and recording yourself allows you to concentrate on your thoughts and how to express them, without having to think about a (potentially) impatient presence at your side.
The other great advantage of recording yourself is as a means of checking out your accent and pronunciation. I use it as a means of developing and refining a ‘french voice’ of my own.
I use my computer to record my ramblings in french.
However, I prefer not to video myself, as both when record your voice and when you listen back to the recording, I think you need to concentrate on what you are saying and how you are saying it, rather than your gestures and the theatrical mime you might find yourself performing to compensate for a lack of fluency!
A quoi ça sert?
In terms of passing the DELF or DALF exam, I think this technique has a particular value as a way of preparing for the oral presentation and allows you to rehearse those kinds of scenarios. It helps as a means of practising the presentation and organisation of your arguments and, through practising and practising, hopefully discovering tricks to link them all together smoothly.