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Tips for Learning French
There may be several reasons that you would like to learn French. Perhaps you are required to take a foreign language in school or maybe you are interested in French culture. If you're looking for a job in France or looking to acquire French citizenship, you'll most likely be required to learn French.
Whatever the reasons may be, learning French is actually a lot of fun. At first, learning any language can be challenging, but French is a beautiful language and I'm happy you've chosen to learn French in particular.
When you start to learn a new language, it can be very stressful. Learning French is no exception! Don’t let your frustration get to you, learning a language can be difficult at times but is very rewarding. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to speaking French fluently in no time flat!
Watch French Television
One of the best ways I’ve found in learning any language is by watching the news in that language. You may not understand much of what the newscasters are saying, but there are a lot of French words that sound similar to English words.
The news also has a lot of pictures and videos up in the corners to kind of guide you. There are many commercials between segments on news shows which also allow those learning French to see visual aids while listening to new vocabulary words and learning sentences structure. Commercials are another way to learn more about French culture.
There are also many French television shows which are helpful in learning French. It's also a great way for students to learn conversational French which is very helpful for communicating with French people. I suggest learning vocabulary from the news first, as those learning French won't be able to understand very much just from a sitcom and may find themselves totally lost and not having fun!
Cussing Up a Storm (For Pronunciation)
Another great thing to use is a colloquial dictionary. You’ll want to be careful so that you’re not saying something offensive, but this is a great way to get interested in a language and learn how to really communicate! It’s the difference between saying “Hey, do you have the time,” instead of “Excuse me, good sir, can you direct me as to the time,” to a teenager.
There is this great book called "Hide This French Book" that I recommend for learning French slang. The book has really interesting (and dirty) words to learn and makes it fun with some weird facts about France. If you, for some reason, have no interest in learning the French language but still have the daunting task ahead of you, I suggest starting out with this book. It’ll definitely spark some interest.
Homemade Index Cards
With learning any language, you will learn a lot of new vocabulary words. There are two awesome ways to learn new words. The first way is to write them on index cards. You can always buy index cards with words already written on them, but it’s just not the same as writing them for yourself. It’s kind of like writing definitions to words in middle school, you really learn a lot from the old do-it-yourself, even if you don’t necessarily want to do it.
When you read the words on the index cards, say them out loud. This will help you with pronunciation. Another thing you can try along with using the index card is to say these words when you’re out and about. For example, when you see a car say “voiture.” This is really great when you’re grocery shopping as well. People may think you’re crazy, but you’re on a mission, right?
Getting in the Mood: Don't Force It
If you’re just not in the mood to learn French, then don’t do it. There are two really good reasons for this: You won’t learn anything. If you’re not interested in what you’re learning, it’ll just be a pain and a waste of time. Also if you force it, you’ll be less likely to want to continue learning it in the future.
If you find yourself not interested at all in learning the French language, you might want to identify why and try to find a way to solve the problem. Basically, you’ll want to find a way to make you interested in the language. Immerse yourself in French culture and see if that helps!
Get a Workbook
Get a workbook! Like I said, it’s easier to learn a language when you’re forced to write it down. If you and a friend both need a workbook, don’t share it, because one of you won’t be able to write in it, and instead, will see the answers already written in.
You'll want to have a workbook for each person learning the language. It'll cost a bit more, but the value of learning the language outweighs the cost. I personally recommend and have used French Now! Level 1 and I learned a lot from it. It was fun, too, but I'm a sucker for workbooks.
Learn a Song
A fun way to learn pronunciation is to learn a song in French. There are various children's songs that are great tools for learning French pronunciation. There are popular songs originally written in English that were later translated into French. This is great because those trying to learn French may already recognize the tune.
This not only helps with pronunciation but also with learning new words as those learning French may already know the words in English. It is important to remember that the translation is likely not word for word, so it's a good idea to still look up the exact meaning of the French lyrics if unsure of the meaning of part of the song.