Dear readers! Have you been having some difficulties learning French? Do you want to have some tips and methods to help you boost your learning process and learn as much vocabulary, grammar rules and writing techniques as possible quickly?
We will provide you with 10 tips which will help you here.
- Get a placement test
Before you start learning French, you need to find out how well you already know the language. This will help you decide what kind of programme to follow.
For e.g. If your level is around Intermediate or lower, you’ll get a full French programme. If your level is Upper-Intermediate or higher, you’ll get a personalised learning plan. This will help you know which courses and vocabulary level to focus on.
- Read everything you can get your hands on
If it’s in French, read it. This goes for classic books, paperbacks, newspapers, websites, emails, your social media feed, and even cereal boxes. Why? Well, this content will be full of new vocabulary, as well as a fair amount you already know. This helps you improve quickly because it gives you new examples of words you’ve learned in context, which helps you remember them. On the other hand, you need to learn new words and phrases to build your vocabulary, especially in a language with so many words like French.
- Talk with real live humans
What good is a language if it can’t be used to talk? Thanks to Whatsapp, we humans have gotten very good at communicating without speaking. But when it comes down to it, speaking a language helps you remember it much better than just reading or writing it. A lot of people who want to be able to speak French have made talking into a huge, impossible obstacle that makes them feel scared. Don’t act that way. Find native speakers to practise with on your own, sign up for a class, or take classes online.
- Subscribe to podcasts or Youtube channels (in French)
Do you like humour? Politics? Blogging? Cooking? There is an French-speaking podcast or YouTube channel for just about every interest you can think of. Subscribe to a few and watch or listen to them on your way to school or work. At first, the native accents might be hard to understand, but if you stick with it, you’ll soon start to understand what you hear (and learn a lot of new words from a native speaker!)
- Don’t translate everything
We’ve seen that many of our students have this problem. Before the internet and Google Translate, it was hard to look up every word in a dictionary. Now, it’s easier than ever to get fast “translations.” Don’t give in to this.
Because if you literally translate every word of a sentence, it probably won’t sound good to a native speaker. This is true in all languages. Most word-for-word translations don’t take into account things like idioms, auxiliaries, and changes in prepositions. Because of this, it’s almost always clear when students translate every single word.
On the other hand, it might not be as bad if you are reading a French text and trying to translate it into your own language. It might waste your time and make you a little confused, but at least it won’t make the person you’re talking to confused.
- Watch movies
One of the best ways to learn French is to watch French movies with French subtitles. You’ll learn common idioms and new words, and you’ll also be able to read the words as the actors say them, which is a great way to train your ear and improve your accent.
7. Pay attention to pronunciation from the beginning
Focus on how to say things right from the beginning, because it’s much harder to fix these problems later on. If you fix mistakes early on, they are much less likely to become permanent (last forever).
Use websites to find common pronunciation symbols and minimal pairs, as well as to hear and imitate the right way to say things. Reviewing words that rhyme with the ones you’re learning will help you remember how to say them.
8. Technology is your friend, so use it
As you can see from these tips and the many links they include, the internet is a great way to learn a language. I still love books, but in reality, people are much more likely to use the internet to improve their French skills than to open a textbook these days.
I said there was no magic way to learn French, but if we made one up, the internet would probably be the closest thing to a magic pill or programme to learn French quickly.
So keep using Wikipedia (even the Simple French version), Facebook, Snapchat, sending text messages, listening to music on YouTube, and writing! In reality, any way you can practise French could help you get better, so use all the tools we have today!
But if you follow them, they will help you get better.
Then, before you know it, you’ll be able to open your eyes, do your best Neo impression, and say, “I know French!”
9. Actively take note of new vocabulary
This tip has been around for a long time because it works. When we learn something new, we often like a new word or phrase so much that it seems impossible to forget it. But believe us when we say that not everything works the first time. To stop this, make it a habit to carry a cool notebook with you or use a tool like Evernote. Every time you hear or read a new word or phrase, write it down in a sentence and make a note of what it means. This saves you time because you won’t have to go back to that word and ask, “What did that word or phrase mean again?”
10. Use your friends
Have online friends who write in French? Don’t just skip over them in your newsfeed; instead, look at the things they share and plan to learn more about one or two of them every day. They could be articles from newspapers or magazines, videos, talks, blog posts, songs, or anything else. As long as it’s in French and about something you’re interested in, it will help you.
Now, you have to remember and practise these tips to be able to learn French more quickly and effectively. You can always book a free session with us and help us create a personalised programme for you.