Knowing French is great, but how to learn French quickly?
Learning a language is a long and difficult journey.
For this reason, most people quit before becoming fluent.
It’s an absolute shame as, yes, learning a language is tough but, no, it is not impossible!
One important thing to remember before starting learning French is that your learning journey will take you way beyond a simple academic learning.
You will discover a new culture, a new way of thinking that will open your mind and change the way you approach life. Learning French will enrich you.
In this blog, I will give you some useful basic tips to make sure you can learn French quickly.
This might seem obvious but you do need a good reason for wanting to learn a language. Indeed knowing exactly why you want/need to speak French fluently and quickly will keep you motivated and focused. I would advise you to have visuals around your house or simply above your desk, anywhere really as long as you see them every day.
for example, write in big bold letters your reasons for learning French and hang them up on the wall or put pictures of Paris on your fridge.
2) Set yourself goals
One of the most important thing when learning a language is to be rigorous and consistent. You must set some time slots in your diary.
Sticking to your schedule is essential. Having a good reason for learning French and being motivated (as mentioned above) will help you to keep on track. Set yourself precise goals.
You could maybe decide to study French twice a week for one hour and to read or listen to 15 minutes of French daily.
Get into the routine of doing it so it feels part of your normal everyday life.
To come back to the visuals I mentioned previously, I would advise you to actually write down on your calendar or wherever you write what you have to do for the day the following sentences “French learning journey: 1 hour of studying” / “French learning journey: 15 minutes of daily French reading/listening” and tick them off once you have done it.
It will help you to measure your progress and it will be very satisfying to see that you are managing to stick to your plans!
3) Be realistic about your goals and about how long it will take you to achieve them
You need to be very clear about what you can and cannot do.
For instance, you cannot strongly believe you will be fluent in two weeks because you really want to and you will give it your everything. No.
You do have a life and everything that goes with it (work, children, family life…).
Learning French quickly is possible but be realistic on what quickly actually means and involves.
Think your language learning journey in stages and plan short and long-term achievable goals.
4) Find a learning method that is effective and works for you
Before starting, try to find your learning style. How do you learn best?
We usually count eight different learning styles: logical/mathematical (you enjoy using logic and reasoning), verbal (you need to read a lot and write things down to remember them), visual (using pictures, charts helps you learning), musical/auditory (you prefer sounds and music.
You make songs up to remember new vocabulary or grammar rules), physical/kinesthetic (you need to touch or to do play roles), social (you need to be part of a group, a class to share your understanding of things as well as learning from others), solitary (you prefer selfstudy and concentrate more when learning on your own), combination (your learning style is a combination of these).
Once you will know exactly which method suits you best you will maximize your daily learning journey and you will notice faster progress.
5) Don’t focus on grammar
Remember why you’re learning French.
To communicate with people. As an adult learner, you probably don’t want to feel like you’re going back to the good old school days!
And this is exactly how you’ll feel if you start your learning journey with grammar books. Obviously, I am not saying you should avoid learning grammar.
However, I would personally advise you to allow yourself to make grammatical mistakes (you’ll learn from them) as long as you manage to convey your message. This, after all, is the most important thing when you start learning a language.
When you’ll gradually be able to make yourself understood by native speakers, you can start polishing your linguistic skills and study grammar in more depth.
In other words, relax, take it easy and don’t forget that the most important thing when learning a language is to be able to understand people and to make yourself understood.
Perfection will come in time.
6) Remember the importance of vocabulary
Like I mentioned it above, it is essential to make yourself understood and to understand native speakers when learning a language.
To do so, you will need to know a wide range of words. As carrying a bilingual dictionary is not always handy nor practical, you will have to go through the stage of vocabulary learning.
And I promise you, it’s not as bad as it seems especially when you know that approximately 70% of French words are similar to English ones (thank you William the Conqueror and your invasion on British soil in 1066!).
I would advise you to make lists of words belonging to the same topic. This will ease your learning and help you memorizing more vocabulary.
For example, you could write a list of the most common words in French, a list of numbers, another one of words needed to introduce yourself
And, if despite learning your vocabulary lists, one day you’re stuck and you dont know a word, have a glance at the following website; Wordreference.
I use it every time I’m unsure about a word or whenever my mind goes blank.
7) Immerse yourself
This is crucial. To learn French quickly, you must speak French, think in French, dream in French. French needs to become a very important part of your day.
Whether you read French books, watch French films and/or TV, or listen to French music/radio, you must be surrounded by French.
French, French, French everywhere!
The best thing would obviously be to visit a French-speaking country to hear native French speakers, their accent and the musicality of the language. But if you cannot go to France just yet, make sure you follow my previous advice!
8) Speak with French speakers before going to France!
Of course, you’ll get to speak French to French people once in France but practicing speaking French before going over can be very useful as it will get you used to it and it will boost your confidence up!
Your first time speaking to someone in France won’t seem as daunting then! It could be very interesting to speak to local people around you, maybe real native speakers or people who, just like you, have learnt French as a second language.
Indeed, beyond practicing the French language, you will also discover French habits and cultural aspects which is always a bonus before going over there.
Enquire about local meetings which gather people who want to speak French or ask your family and friends if they know any French speaker who would want to have a little conversation with you!
9) Have a French pen pal
To carry on what I was saying about immersing yourself, you could have a pen pal. This would obviously help you with your actual learning (grammar, vocabulary, syntax) but not only.
Indeed speaking to a French person either by letters, on Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp or whichever other way you might prefer would make learning French meaningful. It would give it a real purpose as well as making it fun.
10) Don’t be ashamed to make mistakes nor of your accent
Unfortunately, many people give up learning a language because they feel stupid either because they don’t perfectly speak (yet) or because they don’t have a perfect French accent.
Realistically, who cares about little mistakes or a strong foreign accent as long as you can communicate? No one but you.
People will actually envy you as being multilingual is such an amazing achievement and can take you so far in life.
It shows true dedication and motivation. You should be proud of yourself. And don’t forget, everyone actually finds foreign accents and little mistakes cute (if not sexy!).
11) Dispel that false (but unfortunately so fixed and believed by many) idea that French is somehow impossible to learn
First of all, let me be very (very, very) clear: No?
French is not that hard and even less impossible to learn. Learning French is achievable just as long as you are motivated, focused and consistent (which, if you’re reading this, you must be).
What makes learning French (or any other language) difficult isn’t grammar, vocabulary nor syntax. It’s our everyday life and a lack of motivation because yes, as much as you want to become fluent, some days you will not feel like studying, you’ll feel more like watching your favorite TV program because, let’s face it, you’ve had a long day at work so you do deserve to relax after all.
Well, that’s when an important motivation and a very good learning routine come in. In these wandering moments, remember why you have decided to learn French and go and have a look at that beautiful picture of Paris you’ve put on your fridge!
12) Don’t give up!
Have you ever been in that awful situation where you’re having a drink (or more likely a meal in France!) with native speakers and conversations are coming from every angle, everyone is talking and smiling and you’re just sat there in your own world pretending you’re part of it all, pretending you understand everything when in fact you clearly do not have a clue what’s going on.
You see people laughing at that joke you’ve not understood so what do you do? Well, you fake a laugh too hoping no one will ask you anything about it or about anything else for that matter…
This situation is psychologically and physically exhausting but do remember: it will not last forever! You need to keep going, you need to carry on learning and socializing with people.
And one day, you will finally get that joke you didn’t understand before, you will gradually grasp more and more of each conversation.
And one day, you will speak French fluently. Never give up and believe in yourself and in your learning capacities!
I hope these 12 tips will help you on your learning journey and that you will learn french quickly as possible.
And remember, French isn’t that difficult to learn.
You’ve got it sorted!
Either way, leave a quick comment below right now on what are the ways you have tried to learn French quickly?
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