Top 10 tips for learning French
Chers amis of learning Français,
This article was posted on the Spanish from English Discussion board but applies just the same to French. I have changed the Spanish examples to French. This article is helpful to me I hope it is for you as well. Enjoy your learning! :-)
1) Don't expect to be perfect!
Can you remember when learned to ride a bicycle? Did you ride perfectly from the first time you sat on the seat? When learning a new language, expect that you will make mistakes, and don't be embarrassed by them!
2) Work on developing an "ear" for French.
Remember that language is first and foremost oral communication. A written alphabet is merely a collection of symbols used to represent the sounds of the language, and cannot be expected to capture every nuance of sound and intonation. Try to develop a "good ear" for French. An easy and fun way to do this is by listening to French music, watching French movies.
3) Practice SPEAKING!
The only way to learn to speak a language, is by actually SPEAKING. You can study for years, and master all of the grammar rules, but unless you actually practice speaking, you will never speak well. When you are practicing speaking, remember to do it out loud, at normal conversational volume.
4) Be consistent.
To really learn a language takes time and committment. Consistency is by far the most important factor. If you can devote a solid twenty minutes a day, nearly every day, you will be far more successful than if you "cram" for an hour or two, but only sporadically.
5) Talk to yourself.
When learning a foreign language, it is common for listening skills to develop more rapidly than speaking skills, leaving the learner in the unfortunate situation of being able to understand, but unable to respond. A good way to surmount this problem is to talk to yourself as much as possible. Because there is no one else around, you won't be weighed down by the inhibition that so frequently burdens the beginning language student.
6) Use flashcards
One of the best tips we can give you is to make and use flashcards. Make cards that are small enough to easily carry with you, and write the English on one side and French on the other. Be sure to ALWAYS have some cards with you. This way, you can capture "wasted" time (standing in line, riding the bus, waiting for class to start, etc.) and turn it into productive study time. Even if you only have a couple of minutes, you can use it to study a few flashcards.
7) Label your surroundings.
Make labels for things all over your house. For example: le réfrigérateur (refrigerator), la porte (door), la fenêtre (window) etc. Remove the labels only after you have mastered the vocabulary.
8) Be patient.
Progress in language learning does not follow a straight-line graph. You cannot expect to make the same amount of progress, day after day, week after week. You may find yourself struggling at times, seeming to make no progress. Don't let this discourage you. It is normal to reach plateaus in your learning progress. If you find yourself "stuck" try spending time going back and reviewing things that you already know well. Often this will help prepare you to break through to the next level.
9) Find a partner.
Try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. This can be your greatest asset and perhaps you can also provide assistance to your partner in your native language.
10) Read out loud.
Try reading out loud. You will get all of the benefits of reading, plus you'll get really good pronunciation practice. In fact, as a beginner, you should read aloud as much as possible.
I've started talking out loud with my duolingo sentences and questions. The only thing is I am having trouble with German pronunciation with their Rs. I can pronounce French and Spanish words with no problem but not always German. I'm a little nervous if I'm doing more harm than good. It sounds like a half Israeli half Swedish person speaking German I think. LOL
The only good advice I can give you is, to never stop trying for those German Rs pronunciation. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
german r is like you're kicking your palate with your back tongue or just like a once fast kicking h/k
like frau is fakaw
while french is more of a vibrating kick on a palate that vibrates more and is more crisp behind.
but merely if you don't mind they are somewhat the same that you don't have to worry about that detail. haha
i hope this at least helps you a bit? haha
Thank you. That makes sense. Luckily I am good at saying Frau so that example helped it to make sense. I was able to imitate what you're saying.
Words like Wofur, Warum and Woruber were really sound like the Swedish Chef at first when I said them. LOL
Danke for the advice.
In French, Dictate, dictate, dictate. This helps with comprehension and grammar. :)
Lyrics training is a great FREE "dictation" tool. There are many languages available - just under 400 French ones. Modern artists, older well-known songs, lots of variety. Sure some of it's a bit corny, but who hasn't had a corny phrase or two on here :)
Pick a song using the arrow or scroll down and there are largish thumbnails. Songs are graded easy, medium and hard
Hit play now
Choose level - there are four - beginner, etc
Words will come up as the song plays and some will be missing. the number of spaces will depend on the level you chose
If you can't get the word, replay is bottom left corner of the screen and skip is on the bottom right.
You get points for correct words and lose strength (there's a red bar) for skipping, replayong or taking too long.
There is also a Karaoke mode where you can just see the words and watch the video.
You don't have to register, but if you do, you can save your high-scores.
HAVE FUN :)
THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME!!! Bravo for finding this and A BIG THANKS for sharing. :)
Actually it was on another DL thread a couple of months ago. I mention it whenever the opportunity arises :) Glad you like it - rather addictive unfortunately - just what we need :)
That is really cool thank you. It is amazing. I see a post that I think is great and helpful to me so I decide to share it with others and I ended up learning and gaining even more because of that.
Have fun with it - lots of lovely songs on there and it really is great for listening and comprehension. Although lyrics can be hard enough to understand in your mother tongue!
Because you see the rest of the words, and the number of letters and whether there are apostrophes etc, you can often figure out the word by looking at the rest of the sentence.
The modern songs are good for practising understanding the phrases with missing words so common in spoken French eg t'as pas compris etc
wow this is a great opportunity, I practice French for about 1 to 2 hours an evening and I love this romantic Language ;)
hit backspace, then try again. I just did one, and the word I was having trouble with was "oh".. I was typing in "au" lol... Finally i figured out it was "oh" by looking up the lyrics..
This has happened to me with euh - knowing how to spell the fill-in and "grunt" words in French is not my forté! At least not yet :)
The letters won't come if you are trying to type the wrong word - is it possible that you misheard the word ?
Loved this! I used to do this at my Spanish school and now I can continue it at home :)
Dictation: for example, listen to some French music, write down what you hear. Then look up the lyrics to compare your results. Or look up "Free French dictation exercises" online. You will find audio recordings that you can dictate. Many people that have studied French for a few years come to France saying "the French speak so fast, can't understand them".. The French do not speak fast but in French there are so many 'liaisons' between the words that you don't hear the words as they're written. Also there are many words with the same sound but are spelled differently and have different meanings.. So dictation is an amazing way to really master the language.. I wouldn't advise it for beginners but def for those who have studied french for a while or that are constructing sentences.
I find another great way to improveFrench comprehension is to watch Movies in French with the French subtitles. :) Or if you're in France or have access to French TV, you can watch it with the 'closed captions' which are meant for the hearing impared. Heck, you can even try on Youtube where sometimes the videos have subtitles on them (but attention, they're not always accurate)..
This is another great idea, but unfortunately here in Australia, the French movies with our region code are usually dubbed or only available with English subtitles! Really annoying. Any of the movies I have bought in France won't play here because they have a different region code!! I have just heard that most of the DVD players can be unlocked so a web-trawl is on my agenda to try and get the code for our player (apparently you do it through the remote) Fingers crossed.
@The Asherah - They worked!! Thanks - that's a great link. The free movies alone should keep me occupied for quite some time :)
@The Asherah, Great link! Thank you for sharing. :) My advice is to watch French movies versus watching dubbed/translated ones from English. Why? Because they can be difficult to follow (much more verbiage) Also, by watching a French made movie, you're not only learning the french language but its culture too.
MASTER MASCULINE AND FEMININE. ;) This is so important in French especially when it comes to constructing phrases with adjectives..
I won't pretend to be fluent, but I would advise almost the opposite.
Don't stress too much on learning the genders, it will just happen automatically.
I've been living in France for 9 years and I do speak French everyday. I didn't know a word of French upon my arrival.. And I didn't go to school in French.. So every effort to the learn the language has been self-taught. As an American, the entire masc-fem thing was new to me. With that, I got frustrated with them and ignored it (thought like you, they'll just come to me).. But now 9 years later, I have been struggling with "is it masc or fem".. I wish someone would have told me the importance of learning those as it's the base of the French language. If you don't master that, you'll NEVER EVER master the language (yes, you'll be fluent but with mistakes).. French is not by any means an easy language to learn. Many French have difficulty with French grammar.. So I stick with my comment. Master Masculine and feminine if you really want to master the French Language. Learning French is all about stepping stones, and this is the first step you need to take when learning Grammar. :)
I find it difficult to "unlearn" the wrong thing (even with names - if I first mishear someone's name, I find it really hard to unlearn that name and remember their proper name!!)
I always try to learn a new noun WITH its article - they belong together. So I don't think of whether it is masculine or feminine, but try to get an ear for what sounds right.
I couldn't say whether it sinks in over time - perhaps for some people it does and others it doesn't. Like you, I find it easier to try and get it right from the start.
You're def on the right track. :) And you'll see the benifits within a few years on just how important it really is.. French is COMPLEX, it's so much more than learning vocabulary. Grammar is a HUGE part of it, and so is Spelling. And then there is writing which is whole another story.. (In French, you do not write as you speak...)
I can't speak for everyone, I just know that with Duo it's happening automatically for me.
I'm not always perfect with it, but I pay little attention to the gender, and I rarely have to guess.
That's awesome! Just keep in mind that there are MANY nouns which are spelled the same or have the same sound, but depending on the article's gender, it has a different meaning..
If you already know all the nouns in these links. Then you're on the right track.
Check out these links. Another reason why it's VERY important to memorize the gender of a noun. Depending on the article, the noun can mean something different. For example, 'le poste' can mean job, post, tv/radio set where as 'la poste' is the post office or mail/post. Or le visa - visa (to enter a country), la visa - Visa (credit card)
thank you so much for above tips, in fact when I don't do as well as I think I should...get discouraged, but these tips opened my eyes and ears. Thanks again
You're welcome. Please don't get discouraged. I know easier said than done at times but I pushed through it in Spanish and I'm so happy I did. I am amazed how much I know now. Today I posted a discussion about how a certain lesson in German was just beating me and beating me but I refuse to give up. Keep at it. It always gets better.
thanks a lot for these tips,& i will work hardly to progress my french language XD
You also have a great resource right here - I tend to wander into the English For French forum and have a read of how native speakers communicate. It helps :) Thanks for the post!
How do you do that? That is a good idea. Can you look at other forums if you're not signed up for that particular language?
I did the same as Alidun, although I actually switch back and forth often because I do both trees. The questions are sometimes different and I find it helps a lot.
As Alidun said, once you have done it once, you will be subscribed. You will see "English from French" on your "subscription" list. Clicking on that will let you see all the French discussions. they don't say as much as we do, but there's lots to read anyway :) Click on the individual sentences or just the discussion threads - it's all good for your French. See you there !
I have also made a few friends on here and talk to at least one of them on our activity streams at least once a day (in a mixture of French and English) - really good for all of us.
I've done a little bit of the French to English tree too - I'm thinking of committing to it fully once I've finished the English to French one :D An excellent way to learn!
My placement test was EXTREMELY disappointing - less than my French test. Hilarious!
Don't worry, where my Spanish number is doesn't reflect my knowledge either but it has helped me refresh my memory. It will make you better.
I took three years of Spanish in high school and lived in a bilingual house for a little bit.
Yeah, what tripped me up was when I instinctively went to hover my mouse over the French words, there was obviously no dictionary, haha!
Ok I will give it a try in the next few days. I also have been using interpals.net I speak with natives all 3 of my learning languages it is fun.
If anyone anyone on here is on interpals or joins look me up and friend me, my name is CandentLion on there also, tell me your from DL when you do. :-)
Only if it's an English forum - to switch to the English for French course, just hover your mouse over the flag next to your profile picture, and select 'add new course'. Then, change the 'I speak' bar to 'French'. You'll see the English course come up. Select it, and you will now be on the French side of things ;)
Keep in mind that everything is in French, however! To switch back to your English based courses, just do the exact same thing, except with 'parler l'anglais'. I've only switched once and it automatically gave me a subscription to the English for French board.
That is good to know. I may look into that when my French is a little more developed. Merci.
I meant my placement test for English (my mother tongue) was dreadful!! It was more to do with m=not having the French though because when you do a placement test for English in another language you actually a good command of that language too :)
Oh, I can see why you said that then. Well, I know I have learned more about my own language from studying other languages.
Nice tips!!!!!! I'm not a native English speaker, but I've lived a couple of years in US. I'm learning French from English. I'm Brazilian, Portuguese speaker and I've used a lot of these tips back there, when I was learning English and surely I'll use it for my French learning! Those are really great and I'm sure it will help a lot!!!! Nice to know I have Duolingo "friends" to help out!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm new here and I already like it!!!!!! :)
I'm glad it was helpful to you. That is encouraging that you're learning a third language from your second language.
having relatives that are fluent in Spanish and French really so help progress quicken. also thanks for the great tips they will really help on the more disheartening days.
Italian has helped me in some way. I lived there for one year in 2006 ti 2007 and was in a Language School the first 8 months. I mastered it very well :)
This site is an amazing resource. I have found so many valuable sites and so much info. It is wonderful.
thanks for the encouragement, like the flash card idea, that will be very useful!! Susan
This is good advice for learning any language. Aural, oral, reading, and writing are the necessary modalities to practise, and grammar is essential, too.
Alright I was already thinking about finding a native speak, in fact I already have he is learning English like I am learning french! This article was very useful! Merci