I'm being dormant in my learning process. Please, any suggestions?

Hi all,

Over the last two weeks I have not been active in my French learning process, either on Duolingo or elsewhere. I've been doing them every other day, but for the past week I haven't done any lessons here. I've been focused if you would call it that on other things, such as university classes and the like. Plus to make matters worse, I don't have internet at home. So it's not like I can just do the lessons at night, during free time.

I'd like to learn the language, but am afraid with being dormant, I'm losing memory of what I've learned.

Any detailed suggestions? Because if I put this off any longer, I probably have to start over again from the basics 1.

November 12, 2015


Maybe you have organizational challenges, and need to make your language a 30 minute priority every day, where you concentrate solely on a language exercise. Here are some suggestions:

1) You can review material that is not covered in Duolingo, on these sites:

2) You can download a free book or two, maybe even an audio book, here:

3) You can see if you can read these three children’s stories fluently:

4) Listen to French language podcasts, every few days, and see if you can comprehend listening without reading, try a translation, etc.

5) Read French newspapers, magazines and on-line media everyday:

6) Keep developing your French listening skills:

7) Submit writings, like a daily diary of what you did that day, or simple thoughts, in French, to:

8) Watch TV

9) Listen to radio:

10) Prepare for a trip with a phrase book:

11) Watch movies with French captioning:

12) Practice text/audio/video chats with natives on:

13) Maintain a journal or diary in your new language, writing down what you did that day (present, present perfect), what you did yesterday (past simple, passe compose, past perfect), what you plan to do tomorrow (future, future perfect) and what you may do (conditional, conditional perfect).

14) If I want to have a more effective study session, I use a technique that I’ve used professionally, known as Optimum Learning State. I’ve blogged about it before:

November 13, 2015

wow that is a lot of links, thanks... are they all free? because im only looking for free resources

November 13, 2015

I'm all about free resources, so they probably all are.

November 13, 2015

Thankyou for posting this :) this is of great use to me too

November 14, 2015

I posted all of my language links from my blogs in this comment:

November 14, 2015

Thanks - this list looks fantastic!

November 29, 2015

If you're unable to be on Duolingo, I would either (A) find some easy French books you can practice reading, and/or (B) find another French speaker that you can practice with. Especially, if you're at university, you might be able to find a francophone classmate to give you a hand.

November 12, 2015

i dont really know anyone at school... much less anyone who knows french.

November 13, 2015

Hehe, I know how you feel. It's tough getting to know people...but at university, it's almost inevitable that one will end up conversing with at least a couple classmates a week. Perhaps you will strike up a friendship with one of two of 'em, and perhaps one of them will even speak French. If not, there's family members, or friends, or even teachers. And you can always buy easy French books at a Chapters or some other bookstore, or a second-hand store.

November 13, 2015

Motivation is key. If you're not motivated, nothing is going to work for you.

Try something new other than Duolingo and see if that works. I have a ton of other free French resources listed at

Good luck!

November 13, 2015

i am motivated. but my motivation runs into conflict with my other priorities

November 13, 2015

Can you download some podcasts while you're at school?

Coffee Break French from the BBC is pretty good!

Also, Learn French with Alexa

There is FREE content on there and you can download all the podcasts to listen to when you can't be at school or on DL.

November 13, 2015

Before the internet and before computers, people learned languages from books, listened to audio tapes, used flashcards, and wrote by hand. Duolingo by itself isn't sufficient to learn a language well anyway, so you might as well try to branch out since it is being kinda forced on you by other priorities and lack of internet access.

Go to nearby libraries (local and university ones) and check out what resources they have available. They are likely to have entire courses, textbooks, audio practice, and a variety of books written in French, maybe even some audio books. If you find "French in Action", grab it; it was a TV show on PBS which one can also buy with workbooks and DVDs -- if your library has only the books, you can watch the show online for free ( It is excellent, light years ahead of other courses (including this one here).

Use the time you spend walking between classes to talk to yourself in French (out loud is preferable, you can always pretend you're on the phone if you worry people might think you're nuts). Describe to yourself what you see as you walk, try to use as many words as you can. Write down English words for which you'd like to know the French meaning, look them up in a dictionary and use them the next day. Do the same thing at home, while you make your dinner for example. Describe everything you're doing in French.

Write daily diary entries about things you did that day, in French.

I do this all the time, and it works extremely well to activate vocabulary I might otherwise have just read.

Listen to audio books or podcasts in your spare time. Write short reports on what you listened to (passive listening alone is not as effective as active listening and reproduction of some of what you heard).

Try to allot some time to French every day -- often that can just be time that would otherwise be "dead", like riding the bus to school, or walking between classes. But make sure you take that time, and have it be sufficient time to progress. Consistency matters more than exactly how much time you spend, short chunks are often more effective than long sessions.

November 15, 2015

thanks for the advice. as for listening to videos, podcasts online, is it recommended i do so if my french vocabulary isn't strong? i know less than 100 french words (according to duolingo).

November 26, 2015

I recommend listening to native audio from the very start, even if you know only a few words. You won't understand anything much yet, only the occasional word will pop out, but you will get used to the rhythm and the flow of the language, you will heart how it is supposed to sound, and that will seep into your unconscious and will improve your pronunciation and sentence stress over time. It will also become a useful baseline if you listen to the same things over and over because as you learn more vocabulary, you will start to recognize more and more words. Pick stuff you're interested in. I usually start with music, and I look up the lyrics and try to translate them, which can be fun. Whatever YOU like; personalize your learning materials so you keep being interested.

It can also help to pick things that you are familiar with, like video of a TV show or movie you've already seen in your native language, the more you know it, the better. Find something with French subtitles on, so you can learn to read and listen at the same time, that will over time become a very useful way to learn French. It's a bit too difficult at this point for new material, but with stuff you already know, it can work.

November 26, 2015

I recommend getting a tablet (or use your laptop) and going to a place with free wi-fi. You can do the strengthing excercizes on your days off to help you remember the work you've already done, while attending to your courses during the weekdays. Of course you can also keep learning if you're on your break at work too.

November 13, 2015

I put together a PDF that you may find useful, for your studies. Tell me if this helps:

November 29, 2015

Awesome resource; that's bound to help a bunch of people. Thank you!

November 29, 2015

It's definitely a work in progress, but it makes my collection of blog posts and information, portable and at my fingertips. I'm working with people on to correct many of my entries these days.

November 29, 2015

wow that's a good resource.. of course, it doesn't have someone pronounce it for you , but still good. i'll look into it after i gain more vocabulary on my french using duolingo.

which brings me into a question: im worried when it comes to memorizing and regurgitating what i learn in real life scenarios. i mean, i can go ahead and memorize what i learn, but that's ONLY what it'll be: memorizing, not making that language become native to the point where i can just speak it instantly, like with english. plus sometimes i forget what i memorize, which is another problem

November 30, 2015

That will only come with practice. Once you have enough vocabulary, start reading books and websites in French. It will be slow going at first but doing so should hopefully help start the process of shifting the French words from long term memory to the language centers. (It's can be a really odd experience when you don't know all the words, I remember reading a web-page in French for the first time, I only understood about 2 thirds of the words, but it was enough to pick up the gist of what the article was saying, and I picked up some new vocabulary in the process)

November 30, 2015

I have trouble keeping up with things like this to. I would recomend starting by just practicing until you know everything again. Maybe try setting you daily goal to 5 minutes instead of the number you're on. And if you just keep forgetting, leave a post-it note somewhere where you'll see it so it reminds you!!! Hope this helps!

November 13, 2015

Motivation is everything. I learn languages to exercise my brain and find it both funny and useful. It was hard at the beginning, but habit can be changed and now 'cross-repetition' on duolingo every day. Watching movies in foreign language audio/subtitle, write a letter to friends, read an easy book, watching news, all helps, you'll find a way that suits you best. Motivation is everything. Good luck.

November 13, 2015

If nothing else, you can print up a list of vocabulary words, and work on them some throughout the day when you have free time.

November 13, 2015

I actually did go almost completely dormant in my study of French for 4 and a half months. Coming back to it turned out to be a lot easier than I expected. I did go back to basics one, mind you, by choice. When I came back to duolingo I figured that the first thing I should do was re-gild the tree from the bottom up. (or from the top down as the case may be) That was a good decision. It gave me a refresher on what I had forgotten, but I actually found that I had retained a lot more than I expected, and re-gilding the skills I had previously learned was actually quite easy.

November 13, 2015

so... are you currently fluent in french? fluent being reading, writing, and being able to engage in conversation with french speaker if you had to?

suggestions for me? i havent been gone long

November 13, 2015

Fluent? not by a long shot. I had almost no experience with French before I started Duolingo, and have not had much opportunity to practice it outside of it. I do feel confident though that while I didn't make any progress in my French skills during my downtime, the downtime itself was not an obstacle to my picking it up again later.

November 14, 2015

That sounds almost exactly like what I did once, only I was gone a bit longer.

November 13, 2015

Hi! My suggestion is that you just start again as soon as you can. I took a couple weeks off recently as well but am restarting. Here are my suggestions:

  • Finding time: Keep a detailed list of how you are spending your time for at least a week. Look at it carefully and figure out if you can rearrange anything to make some time for French. I strongly advice having a specific time for it. For me, it works better to do that in the morning if possible. Otherwise, the day can get away from me.

  • Finding ways to study away from the computer: Go to a bookstore or library and browse the French section to see what is available. Print things out from the internet while you are at school. Study them later when you get home.

  • Revising in Duolingo: You might want to try going backwards to refresh your skills rather than always starting over again at Basics 1. Take notes. I write down every sentence in French to practice spelling, accents, and so on. You can also looks these over later at home.

November 14, 2015
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