What's the best way to teach yourself French?

Jump to Last Post 1-30 of 30 discussions (31 posts)
  1. Paul Edmondson profile imageSTAFF
    Paul Edmondsonposted 13 years ago

    What's the best way to teach yourself French?

    I'm interested in teaching myself to speak French and am looking for suggestions for at home courses and books that are recommended.

  2. profile image0
    SilverGenesposted 13 years ago

    Read French magazines, listen to French music, watch French television and rent French movies. In Canada, that's easy - it's part of our standard television. At first, it may be helpful to get movies with subtitles so you can understand what is going on yet still here the cadence of the language. Bon Cop, Bad Cop is one I recommend and is bilingual (English/French) and Seducing Doctor Lewis is another. Both are VERY funny! They are, however, North American based and thus have our accent. For Parisian French, try the foreign film section on Netflix for some great choices. Listen to it, read it, watch it and speak it with a friend. That beats all the courses out there and it's also the most popular way French speaking people learn English!

    1. Ranveer Bhatia profile image59
      Ranveer Bhatiaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      As SilverGenes has pointed out, reading French magazines, watching French television programs and listening to French music do help. Make sure that you have grasped the basics of the language well before you go ahead with such activities. Good luck!

  3. Roserbud profile image60
    Roserbudposted 13 years ago

    I heard some rumors that if you know how to sing you must know how easily to learn French and Italian. In every case i think that audio books can help you but you must be very persistent. Le français est une langue merveilleuse...

  4. pe555 profile image79
    pe555posted 13 years ago

    Parlez vous francais?.No neither do I, well not yet anyway.

    With the BBC to assist you though. You may be speaking French, sooner than you think. read more

  5. rollingdufflebag profile image61
    rollingdufflebagposted 13 years ago

    Michel Thomas Method courses are perfect, alas the man himself is gone

  6. David.Reed profile image54
    David.Reedposted 13 years ago

    I second the Michel Thomas courses, they are excellent for teaching vocabulary and grammar. Those courses, and immersing yourself in French speaking movies, literature, and radio will work wonders.

  7. nber profile image60
    nberposted 13 years ago

    I think the simplest and fastest way is to get a French girl-friend!

  8. janiek13 profile image77
    janiek13posted 13 years ago

    I would suggest trying the Rosetta Stone series, I have heard good things about it.

  9. Silver Poet profile image71
    Silver Poetposted 13 years ago

    The Standard Deviants learning DVD's are available for several languages.  I highly recommend them.  They employ a lot of humor.  They are colorful, and they are active.  The characters act out humorous skits to illustrate lesson points.  The DVD's include tests that can be taken using a remote to answer questions.

  10. davidrio profile image70
    davidrioposted 13 years ago

    Find a French Girlfriend,book table for two at a French restaurant, order some French fries, take her to see a French movie,invite her to your place and show her your new French forniture, luckly in the end of the night you will be rewarded with a French Kiss smile

    P.S.- You can invert the order but that would not be the fastest way to learn French

  11. profile image0
    Twitnookposted 13 years ago

    I spent 6 years in school learning French, but wasn't interested in it at the time. A few years later I started to try and retain my knowledge of the language, and can recommend the following methods:

    Anki (http://ankisrs.net/) and Smart.fm (http://smart.fm/) both use spaced repetition techniques to help you pick up and retain vocabulary. Smart.fm is browser based while Anki is installed to your machine. As far as I remember, both have a reasonable amount of 'decks' in English  French. Both will allow you to create your own decks and cards with the vocabulary you wish to learn.

    LiveMocha (http://www.livemocha.com/) provides browser based interactive language lessons. You get to choose what level of lessons you start at, depending on your prior exposure to whichever language you are aiming to learn. Once you have taken a lesson, you are tested on reading/listening, writing and speaking. Reading/listening is moderated by the software, but your writing and speaking exercises are marked by other members of the community that are native speakers of the language.

    When it comes to practising French, you could try subscribing to French language blogs or magazines in an area that interests you. For example, I read a few technology blogs in French.

  12. Docmo profile image91
    Docmoposted 13 years ago

    Go to France for a few weeks?

    Although a less expensive method would be the Michel Thomas course as others have pointed out- he makes it sound easy. But the course works better if you get a chance to have conversation with a French speaking person on a regular basis.. practice makes perfect.

  13. falakpema profile image57
    falakpemaposted 13 years ago

    find yourself an english/french speaking friend on the Net and learn to dance with him/her!. Like the tango! May need some person to person persuasion but then...that's what the Net is for!

  14. ebrima camara profile image61
    ebrima camaraposted 13 years ago

    you will fine a french teacher and ask him or her to teach you freb=nch

  15. profile image0
    Ari Lamsteinposted 13 years ago


    I have learned to speak several languages.  The most success I had was learning Japanese while living in Japan.  Simply living abroad didn't help.  What was so valuable was was having 1 on 1  Japanese lessons with an experienced Japanese teacher who was a native speaker.

    Speaking another language is a funny thing, because the bar of competency is all around you when you are in a foreign country. 
    Ultimately, you are learning the language to faciliate communication with native speakers. 

    Regardless of how you decide to pursue this interest, I recommend getting in touch with native speakers on a weekly basis and forcing yourself to you use the language with them - regardless of your current skill level.  I've often thought that the internet would spawn companies that do international video conferencing for language exchange.  I haven't seen any, but I bet that they're out there.

  16. unvrso profile image83
    unvrsoposted 13 years ago

    One resource that I have found very useful is to find a pen pal. I started learning French Two years ago and like everyone else I bought some books and videos, but in the end I couldn´t put my ideas straight, until I joined www.francaisfacile.com, as soon as I joined this site, I was contacted by a native speaker of French, who wanted to learn Spanish, which is my native language. We started a frienship relation, during which we conversed about a variety of topics from the weather to hobbies and food. All in the french language, Two years have passed and in the present I´m able to communicate in French, not very fluently, but I have done some progress. That´s why I recommend that you join this site.

  17. karenfreemansmith profile image59
    karenfreemansmithposted 13 years ago

    Rosetta Stone software is my favorite for any language. For French I'd also find DVD's with a French language track and watch shows in French too.

  18. profile image53
    Jack Holmesposted 13 years ago

    I learned Spanish using audio tapes. I was never particularly god at languages when I was at school but I found that just 30 minutes per day listening to audio tapes on my mp3 player really worked for me. I started with pimsleur (they do a similar course in french)

  19. profile image53
    Rustyrustynailposted 13 years ago

    Tune the radio yo a French station you listen to.  Easier if it's long wave.  Have it on all the time, there are several music stations. Even if you do not understand a word at first, you will start to recognise adverts etc.  Then it will push you use a dictionary.
    A good classical alternative to living in France is to use the Collins Easy Learning french Grammar.  Learn stuff by heart, it will stand you in good stead as you progress.

  20. GetFitRight profile image60
    GetFitRightposted 13 years ago

    Go to France and take a translation dictionary and you will have to learn the language and fast. smile

  21. privateye2500 profile image40
    privateye2500posted 13 years ago

    The *best* way to learn *any* language is to be immersed in it.  If you can, you move to the country and live there (or visit for a long period).  There is simply *no* getting around that being the best way.

    2nd - Is to use the Rosetta Stone Method in your sleep.  Yes, I said while you are asleep.  You may also use it while you are awake; however, using it while sleeping will reinforce it into your mind for maximum absorption!!

    3rd - If you can't move, take a trip or afford to buy the Rosetta Stone, You need to find a person who knows French (or whatever language you wish to learn) and learn from it them!  That also works very well.  It is a smaller form of immersion...and in some ways may be a bit better (depending on *how* you learn - as we all learn in different ways)

  22. Syrusv37 profile image81
    Syrusv37posted 13 years ago

    Involve yourself with the language. Learning any language is hard, but rewarding. I heard Rosetta Stone works wonders, but doesn't go easy on your wallet, considering they run for about $500. Try learning some basic vocabulary, nouns, adjectives like red, blue, dark, etc. Watch movies on DVD or BluRay and put on the French Subtitle or Audio and see if you can follow along and put together what they're saying. Also, repetition is key. Practice faithfully, learn new things everyday, and set goals. It'll take time, but in the end, it'll be worth it. (Don't forget about taking college courses on French or getting yourself a tutor!)

  23. chspublish profile image78
    chspublishposted 13 years ago

    Submersion in the language and culture and the people is how I understand is the best way. Being in a French speaking area will encourage your brain to adapt faster, though it is pretty daunting and sometimes very isolating, when you don't understand what's being saud around you. Also as has been said here in one of the posts, a one to one with a native teacher will speed up the process. Thanks for the question.

  24. russian_spygirl82 profile image60
    russian_spygirl82posted 13 years ago

    i agree with SilverGenes, I gained a very high level of French comprehension by simply listening to French music. I used Celine Dion, Lara Fabian, Michel Sordou and Christophe Mae. Get a CD in French, then print out lyrics in French and English  translations online. Listen to the music while looking at the written word so you can begin to learn what the sounds look like. This will also help you learn word meanings. Look for words that we use in English that come from French, you will find them a comfortable baseline of terms you understand. Example Absolument  = Absolutely smile Good luck!

  25. defaultuser profile image60
    defaultuserposted 13 years ago

    Watch French Movies, Listen to audio books, news and have french pals

  26. OmNaser profile image60
    OmNaserposted 13 years ago

    I think One to One online websites. OR have a tutor will be as good. Then read french online blogs or magazines.

  27. Leah Whitehorse profile image61
    Leah Whitehorseposted 13 years ago

    Hi Paul
    I don't know French at all but I've been learning Portuguese for 5 years. I use a website called www.lingq.com and they include French in the languages they offer.
    I'm not sure if I'm allowed to put a link here to my hubpage but I have just written a review about the site. I'm not an affiliate, they are just genuinely fantastic!
    Generally though, listen and then listen some more to French. Listen everyday. Access French tv and radio via the web, podcasts too. There's plenty of French movies as well.
    Listen to the language spoken at normal speed as this will attune your ears. Immerse yourself in the language and the culture. Listen to French music, make French recipes. It may sound silly but it keeps you in the mindset.

  28. DTR0005 profile image61
    DTR0005posted 13 years ago

    I think any "learning language" book is a good start. Books, in the days of multi-media, are sometimes underrated. But you will need to actually hear the language spoken in order to learn the sounds, the actual cadence of the language and its idioms, etc. Ultimately, you will need to find a friend who is fluent in the language and/or travel/visit to a francophone country. Interacting with speakers is likely the only true route to fluency.

  29. Gluten Free Mom profile image58
    Gluten Free Momposted 13 years ago

    get Rosetta stone, its amazing! I'm studying Spanish with Rosetta stone

  30. Wiseyoungowl profile image67
    Wiseyoungowlposted 9 years ago

    Paul, I'm not sure how much progress you've made in your effort to learn French, but I'd like to chime in. I think one big question to ask is What do you want to focus on? Speaking/Listening? Reading/Writing? All of the above? Your answer will then define your resources a bit. I purchased the Rosetta Stone software, and it truly works. However, in order to make it work, you must be willing to devote much time to it--not to mention devoting much money to it as well.

    There are free language-learning ways that I endorse. For more focused information, you can check out my hub on learning French on the cheap. But I suggest finding a basic book/website that goes over the basics--subjects, verbs, tenses. As equally important, I suggest finding a source that gives accurate pointers in pronunciation. I also have a hub for that.

    Once the structural and phonetic foundation is established, I suggest finding some children's books or DVDs to try to piece together the meanings. Use a dictionary or wordreference.com as a guide to learning new words. Realize, though, it is a process that takes a bit of time. If you have any more questions about French, let me know. I'm licensed to teach it and would be happy to develop some hubs to help you in your admirable quest. Bonne chance!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)