French is a Romance language that originally comes from Europe. It has evolved from Latin and officially belongs to Indo-European languages, same as Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. It is an official language in 29 countries, several of them are part of La Francophonie – the community of French speaking countries. In Europe, it is the third most frequently spoken language, after English and German. Thanks to colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries, French spread across America, Africa or Asia. Therefore, you can speak French in countries like Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Niger, Rwanda, Chad and others.
Go for it!
Like any other foreign languages, French is not complicated but time-consuming. Just remember how long it took you to learn your mother tongue. If you can speak English, I bet you already know at least 10 French words and you don’t even know it! Thanks to Norman Invasion in 1066, English was significantly influenced by French language. Back then, the upper society spoke French for almost 300 years and lower class continued in speaking English.
The following words originally come from French:
Chef, toilette, saboteur, parkour, omelette, genre, faux pas, mutton, MAYDAY, etc.
As you can see, you already know a few French words. The more you know European languages, the more you know French. But still, people can complain that learning another
language is not for them and common excuses are:
- I am not clever enough.
- I don’t have time for it.
- Why should I learn another foreign language?
There is a quotation by an unknown author that summarizes it well:
“The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse. “
And this perfectly fits here. If you want, you will definitely find a way how to succeed.
Firstly, having read everything up to this place means that you are clever enough to learn French. Secondly, having spent so long by reading this means that you have free time. So far we have busted 2 excuses and one more is remaining. I have already written an article about reasons why we should learn a foreign language.
I know several people whose lives have changed just because they learned another language. In this case, learning and speaking French could change you completely. Just imagine how many opportunities can possibly open for you!
With effort comes reward
Teachers say it takes approximately 600+ hours of study to learn the French language properly. And now think about this: if you learn French 1 hour a day, then in one year (365 days unless it’s a leap year) you’ll do about 365 hours. And now be realistic and imagine you will manage to learn +- 200 hours a year: if I count right that’s over 3 years of intensive self-studying.
Mastering the language
Whenever you take up learning a new language it is always the same. Just remember when you were learning English or any other languages. Firstly, you need to catch on the basics and what it takes to learn the language.
The key is to manage language pillars and these are the following – grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary. Thanks to the Internet everything you need is now online for free and what’s more, in the comfort of your home. The best thing about studying online is the fact that you don’t have to spend any money for expensive text books, courses or anything else. You can reach everything from one place.
Let’s take a look at the numerous possibilities that are available:
Free websites, PDF textbooks, Free trials
Websites are a great source of all-kind of information. You can find answers to your questions, complete exercises, take tests to improve your knowledge and language skills.
The most of popular websites provide sophisticated learning lessons that cover each language aspect. But be careful: some webpages are not very serious and might contain misleading “facts”.
Great example of a free language source is this site as you can find here lots of useful stuff: from free lessons, vocabulary and useful phrases to funny quizzes. We update our sections daily; therefore you will have everyday something new to work on.
OMNIGLOT is a brief webpage that covers not only French but also other languages. In the French section you can find useful info about the language, several useful phrases, idioms, grammar and some learning materials.
PDF text books
You might remember your textbooks from the time you were attending a school; therefore, you generally know what hides inside and also if it fits your learning style. PDFs are very similar to the schoolbooks you probably used but they bring you different view of studying.
If you like the system of textbooks and you decide to use them, you will appreciate their biggest advantage – you don’t need the Internet access to work with them. Doesn’t matter where you are, you have them always with you. PDFs have being underestimated lately despite the fact that they mostly go through the main problems in depth; thus, they can teach you far better than other learning sources.
– Great guide how to manage a foreign language with useful tips and tricks. Everyone who is willing to learn a language fast should read it.
Download: Click Here
– Detailed book containing 10 lessons covering basic French language aspects from the alphabet to greetings and much more.
Download: Click Here
What has proven as a great introduction into learning the basics are the free trials of paid software.
In most cases you will get access to the beginner lessons, which plays an important role for you when you are taking your first steps in the French world (or any other language). If you consider yourself as a total novice, you will familiarize with the pronunciation, greetings, basic phrases and vocabulary. Most of the software offers accurate voice-comparing system to teach you the correct pronunciation. Furthermore, it plays an important role in learning to read French text properly.
We definitely recommend testing trial lessons as they will show you what you can expect from the French language, as well as the way you can learn it.
- 30 minute audio trial
A learning software that focuses on providing sophisticated audio records. It will teach you basic French with a near-native accent. Pimsleur designed 30-minute daily lessons that take you directly to the action.
They believe in their product and guarantee spoken proficiency if you complete first 30 lessons.
You will almost certainly start to speak French right away, however, Pimsleur’s courses do not contain either grammar or writing exercises.
- Free selected lessons
It is a great language learning software based on interactive lessons. With Babbel you will learn a foreign language “on the go’’ as it offers mobile/tablet apps that support all Android/iOS devices. It gives you everything you need to speak, write and understand French.
What’s more, if you ever decide to buy a course, Babbel has very reasonable prices.
- A 6-day free trial for selected lessons
It is one of the most sophisticated learning tools out there, which offers a 6-day trial for selected lessons. With Rocket Languages you will discover a way to learn French efficiently and at a reasonable pace. It covers all language aspects – grammar, pronunciation, writing, vocabulary and also provides a voice-comparison engine to check if you pronounce everything correctly. Wherever you go, you will have your RL course with you on your PC, mobile or tablet.
Completion of these trial lessons should help you understand French basics.
- Brief demo
Another tool that focuses on all language aspects. It supports iOS/Android devices. Rossetta is the only one tool which provides live tutoring sessions to practice conversation skills. Combined with their speech-recognition engine you will speak French almost like a native speaker. However, for free you get only a brief voice-comparing demo that won’t teach you a lot, yet it is always worth a try.
Watch podcasts and movies
They are short and accurate educational videos with a friendly approach made by native speakers. They cover both basic and advanced lessons. Everything is explained visually in audio records with subtitles. Each of them covers a single topic, e.g. Sports/Nu
mbers/Time/Useful phrases or Situational vocabulary. It is up to you which lesson you want to start with or what you need to practice.
The “teacher” highlights common mistakes you should avoid, and explains how pronounce properly and how use the grammar correctly. A great thing about the podcasts is that you learn by hearing spoken words, which saves time you would spend on learning how to read.
Alexa Polidoro’s Podcasts (www.youtube.com/Alexa-Polidoro)
Very helpful videos by a handsome woman that will show you how easy is to learn French.
If you want to watch your favourite movie, why don’t you try it this time in French? As you already know the plot of the movie and most of the dialogues as well, it will not be hard for you to get the meaning in French, the more if you add English subtitles for the start. When you are versed in this you can replace the English subtitles with the French ones, so you will also see how the words are written. Listen carefully and focus on the pronunciation, write down every word or expression you don’t understand. If you repeat the new vocabulary often, you will remember them easily.
Looking for French subtitles? Just visit www.opensubtitles.org, search for the movie you want and find the right subtitles for them.
Listen to French Audiobooks and Songs everyday
It is proven that regular listening to foreign sentences improves your abilities to learn a language faster and also adapts your mind and brain to the new language. The more often you hear French the faster you get used to French sounds and structures. Therefore you should spend some of your free time listening to French audiobooks or songs.
Another great thing about the songs is that their melody helps remembering the lyrics, which leads to recalling the expressions and vocabulary easily.
Since French pronunciation differs a lot from other languages, it is important to listen as much as possible to catch all the subtleties of spoken French.
Once again this method can be used while waiting at the bus stop or any other place.
If you are looking for a great source of free audiobooks then I recommend you to check French section of LoyalBooks.com
Chat with native French speakers
This is definitely one of the best methods and what’s more it’s very powerful and for FREE! Your language skills will drastically expand.
Just get in touch with other French speakers or learners on social networks (see below for ideas) and communicate with them via Skype, Facebook, e-mails or whatever you like.
Speaking French directly to others will help you lose your boundaries and fear from speaking with someone else. This is the most important thing of all because if you know perfect French and are afraid of speaking than all your efforts come to nothing.
The best is to find a native speaker with whom you can communicate on Skype – he will correct your mistakes and teach you to speak fluently. All this will encourage you to make progress every day.
Next possibility is to chat with another French student. In this case you are in the same position so you may feel more relaxed talking with him. You can revise each other and avoid making the same mistakes again.
Facebook Groups where you can find a partner:
Most of them are closed groups; therefore you need to apply for admission. This usually takes up to 24 hours but in most cases you’ll get the access in just a few minutes.
Speaking vs. chatting?
Once you decide to get in touch with someone you should choose whether to speak with him or just chat.
Benefits of speaking are clear…
- You will practice your pronunciation
- You will get used to speak out loud with someone else
- You will start thinking in French
That sounds great but texting also has several advantages!
- You practice grammar and spelling by typing
- You have more time to think about what you want to express
- You enrich your vocabulary
So again, you make the decision but we recommend combining both of the options mentioned above to reach the best results.
IS THERE A BEST WAY TO LEARN FRENCH?
The answer is the concern of everybody.
Of course, there is not strictly the best way, since everyone prefers different methods, e.g. someone finds listening to audio records enough while another student prioritises doing exercises or reading texts.
Anyway, everything depends on your hard work and combining all of the methods mentioned above to learn French online.
Over time, you will eliminate some of the methods that don’t suit you and you will focus only on those that fit your
learning style and push you forward.
By the way, one of the most important factors is to keep yourself entertained, thereby your efficiency will increase significantly.
If something goes wrong, don’t worry, overcome the hassle and keep trying. Don’t be afraid of talking. Make new friends with whom you could converse and share your experiences.
|Step by step guide!|
|Firstly you should become familiar with the language itself, then begin with grammar and get yourself a dictionary. If you’re not a fan of paid language courses, then visit free websites for example our French section, which we update every day with useful vocabulary, entertaining lessons, funny quizzes and interesting facts about France and the French language itself.
We try hard to present the French language to our visitors in a funny and easy way, so anyone could understand and learn it.
Afterwards, watch YouTube podcasts and movies. Write down every new vocabulary you encounter. Along the way to work/school or in your free time, listen to audio books or songs. If you don’t have an access to the Internet, then read and use PDFs that you have downloaded. Learn phrases and try to form basic sentences. It does not hurt to label the furniture around your home with useful vocabulary.
When you are ready and you feel confident, then it is the right time to find someone to communicate with (on Skype). That’s probably the hardest test but it is also the best indicator of how much you have learned.
Great Tips and Tricks to maximize your effort
#1 Repeat Words Loud
This may sound little bit awkward but saying the words loud is very important to remember them and to learn the proper pronunciation.
A simple and funny way to start is by listening to French songs and singing them loud.
#2 Listen carefully
Listen as much as you can. Your chances to achieve better French accent improve whenever you listen to how the French language is spoken. The best way is listening to native speakers. This means that you should turn on French radio programs or TV channels.
Find any French radio station on the Internet – there are hundreds of them for free. Or as mentioned above, you can watch your favourite movie in French and listen or, what is even better, repeat after the actors.
#3 Make small sticky notes of vocabulary
If you have problem with remembering new vocabulary then you should definitely try this little trick: write down the words you can’t remember on sticky notes and displace them at home at the places that you visit several times a day.
To give an illustration, your bathroom is a great place where you should start as you often spend here more than 5 minutes and this is enough to recapitulate all the words.
Another great spot is your kitchen, where you should stick the notes on a fridge. So whenever you visit the kitchen you will see it and skim the words.
Other ideas – toilet, bed, mirrors, monitor or laptop
#4 Study regularly
You should spend at least 15 minutes a day learning French language. It is very important to concentrate as much as you can, otherwise you will forget what you have just learnt and you would have to repeat the lessons again.
#5 Reward yourself
Whenever you finish a lesson or difficult vocabulary, give yourself something tasty, for example a croissant.
The studies show that whenever you reward yourself you gain a feeling of satisfaction. This encourages you to continue learning.