How To Become Fluent In French Fast
Hi there. My name is Mai, and I am twelve years old. I absolutely love France and everything about it (the culture, the language, the country, the people) so that's why last year, I decided to learn French. I have been looking for private tutors, apps, anything that can help me learn the language, and then eventually, I found Duolingo. I signed up and started practicing daily but after 2 months, I became inactive. I would do 6 lessons a month. That wasn't enough but I didn't feel like I want to learn French anymore. It was getting too complicating and it was too much pressure and stress. I felt like I was forcing myself to learn French so I took a very long break, maybe 5 months. One day, I was watching a movie about a girl who can speak French and in some scenes, she was talking in French and I instantly felt an urge to practice French on Duolingo. So that's what I did. I started practicing once again but much better this time. It's only been a month and I reached level 8 and am 36% fluent in French. I know it's not a lot but I feel so proud of myself. So this is what I learnt from my experience to help people achieve their goal:
- Try to find French videos or simply watch your favorite English videos in French or with French subtitles. Watch BFMTV; a French News channel which airs live from France nonstop, for 30 minutes to an hour EACH DAY, no exceptions.
- Start listening to French music.
- Go back and redo lessons until you understand them 100%.
- Try to convince somebody you know to learn French with you! Conversations by yourself aren’t fun at all, but saying “bonjour” to someone learning the language with you will actually be meaningful. Having someone else learning the language can serve a person to make you strive for better results or study when you don’t feel like it.
- Sometimes there are things you don't understand and need a face-to-face communication with someone to help you so if you know someone that speaks French (fluently), ask them if they can help you.
- Practice daily and do at least 3 lessons a day.
- Why did you decide to study French? whatever the reason, keep that to motivate you. For example, I study French because I love everything about it so I will keep that in mind to motivate me.
- If you keep forgetting to practice, failing to remember a word, or if it gets too complicated, don't get discouraged. Instead, try to imagine yourself in France, speaking French fluently with other people. I'm sure you'd love it if that was true, so go back and practice!
- When you mess up, instead of being too hard on yourself, simply learn from your mistakes. And if you answered a question correctly, praise yourself. I know it sounds stupid but you will feel proud of yourself even if it's a really easy question and this will keep you motivated.
- If you are not so active, try leaving little reminders in your bedroom.
I hope this helps! If you have any questions/tips, make sure to leave a comment. Thanks for reading and good luck <3
You seem very motivated, passionate, and intelligent! It's nice that you have such a clear idea of the path you'd like to follow. I think a good strategy is a big step in languages and learning, so you are already two steps ahead. I am sure that with your continued enthusiasm and dedication, you'll have a very bright future. I only wish that I found an interest in studying languages at your age. The best of luck to you, Mai!
Describing pictures seem fun! I'll try that out :) Thanks for your advice kimojima.
My Irish Teacher sometimes does a similar approach where he puts up a slide of maybe a forest with rivers and grass growing on the banks of them. Then we have to describe to him whats in the picture. Personally i find this an effective and fun way to learn.
If you have someone around you who speaks French fluently, commit to only speaking French with them, not a single word of English. Bring a dictionary and take forever to say one sentence if you must. That's the best advice I can give you to reach fluency in a timely manner.
If you don't know anyone physically near you, you can try to find a native online to chat with. But I would advise precaution about this because of your age. There are websites dedicated to younger users where typical Internet threats may be reduced (still, it's impossible to eliminate them completely, stay careful at all times).
- On PenPal World, you have the option to block all adults;
- Etudiants du Monde (Students of the World) is a French non-profit organisation destined for younger people (students) to find penpals all around the world, with a preference for snail mail. They claim to be kid-friendly and you don't have to give any personal information, including e-mail address.
Thanks BastouXII. I actually already have an account in PenPal World but I think I will also check out Etudiants du Monde.
Great! My younger daughter's middle name is also Meï, pronounced the same as you probably pronounce yours.
I don't know what's more impressive - that you are so motivated to learn french at 12, or that your posts in English are so good at 12. I work with people in their twenties, thirties and forties who don't write as well in English as you do. Wow.
Although most people don't prefer this approach because it's dry and can kill enthusiasm pretty quickly, in your case I'd recommend learning all the grammar rules you can as early as possible. I say "in your case" because you obviously have the aptitude for it. Learning grammar before stocking up tons of vocabulary and set phrases isn't a great way to prepare for an upcoming trip as a tourist, but if your goal is eventual fluency it will pay off and actually make your road to fluency much easier in the long run.
Best of luck and keep us posted on your progress.
Haha thanks! I'm a bookworm and I like to read teen/adult books which probably explains for my good grammar and vocabulary in English (not to brag).
You're right, you should definitely know all the French grammar rules before learning all the words because it's going to be difficult to put them in sentences. That's why I always make sure that I read the Tips & Notes of every course I take.
You can follow me to keep yourself updated in my progress if you're interested :) Best of luck to you as well.
Thanks, I just did. As for my other post (and your reply), since we're at about the same level (for now, anyway - I bet you'll be rocketing past me soon enough), if you find any apps you particularly like, please let me know.
This is currently my favorite: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=at.lebonmot.learnfrench The full version costs two or three dollars, but it's worth it, especially if you have a need to learn Quebec French vocabulary (as I do). If you're an Apple user, the app is at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learn-french-easy-le-bon-mot/id684835616?mt=8 .
There are lots of French vocab apps out there, but this is the only one I know of with enough Quebec vocab to make it worth installing. The non-Quebec vocab is worth it, too.
Bonne chance :)
Hi RLaurier, about Quebec French, there really isn't that big of a difference in vocabulary with metropolitan (Paris) French, which is taught on Duolingo. I'd say they share more than 98 % of their vocabulary, and 99,999% of their grammar. Actually, French grammar and orthography (spelling) is way more uniform all around the world than most languages, including English. That's because it's strictly controlled by international organizations. Quebec French is an accent, just as other regional accents in Europe (the Marseille accent, in the South of France is quite different from the Parisian as well, for example). And besides, many Quebec specific words or expression might be very region specific by nature, i.e. you'll learn one expression from Saguenay and no one will understand it in Montreal or Quebec City, and vice versa. And since these sources for Quebec expressions tend to not specify if said expressions are understood all around Quebec or only in one region, it might be misleading.
What I mean is I really don't think it's necessary to look exclusively for Quebec oriented vocabulary apps, as except for a few exceptions, all vocab you'll learn about Parisian French will be perfectly understood in Quebec. I'd suggest instead to concentrate your learning on any kind of French (with standard Parisian being the easiest to find) and complement it with exposure to Quebec accent in, say, movies, music, specific Quebec lexicon, a trip to Quebec, etc.
For resources on Canadian French, including Quebec French, I've listed the ones that I've found in this discussion which you might want to bookmark, as I update it each time I find new stuff. If you use Reddit, you can also check the /r/FrancaisCanadien subreddit. You don't need to create an account to read anything, but you do need one to comment or post stuff.
Thank you very much for this. I've been sort of mystified by this topic ever since seeing the confusion on the face of a French native watching a Quebec movie, but your post helps a lot. Much appreciated.
Very nice post!
Another important advice (for those who may be a little less dedicated than you are): a little every day is better than tons every week. Even if you don't feel like it one day, just watch a video or listen to some music/podcasts, but keep your ears "in the bath".
I do have the feeling I did better with basic Portuguese in Brazil than I do with intermediate Portuguese back in France, hence the importance to at least keep on hearing and seeing your target language every day.
hi Mai, your article is very good. I'd like to emphasize that listening EVERYDAY is the most important tool you can improve your French with. I am here at Duolingo 28 days ago, and I am about to level up to level 8 and my French fluency reached 41%. I found Duolingo very useful and I do my best to maintain my strike by learning every day. So, my advice to you is try to learn every day - NO EXCUSES - even if you make a tiny improvement. It will help you. Have a nice day :) :) :)
This is great. Go one step at a time, and remember that everything is hard before it is easy! Bonne chance
By the way, I find that picking up vocabulary through context is easiest when you're reading about something that would interest you in your native language. If you're into movies and celebrities, for example, you'll find that French gossip magazines cover those subjects as well as any such publication in English does (Paris Match, Gala, etc.). There are some subjects which are hard to find covered well in French, so don't forget Canadian publications if, for example, you're into sports only played in North America (because you won't find too much on MLB or the NFL in France-based publications).
Also, carry around a phrasebook (or a smartphone with good French apps) to look at when you're stuck wasting time (such as standing in line).
Lastly, find yourself a good app for French jokes (search under "blagues," you'll find plenty of apps and many are free) and start trying to read them. Understanding French humor is great insight into the culture and a great way to pick up vocabulary through context, and eventually you'll see which plays on words from English work in French and which ones don't.
Again, best of luck - and thanks for a great post :)
Thank you for the helpful advice! I'll definitely look for some good French apps that can help me pick up vocabulary :)
Hi, I am twelve also and on level 8. My mom is half French and her mother is completely French, so I am part French. I have been to France and have seen the Eiffel Tower. You really get a lot of practice there and if you don't know French well enough, they help you because they have to know English for when the tourists come. It's really nice to get some practice there. My mom isn't fluent yet and neither am I, so we get a lot of practice together. My little sister also has started catching on to it a little from hearing it so much. It really helps if you hear people speaking the language your learning. Slowly you start to get what there saying. By and good luck!
Thanks. Wow, you're really lucky that you get to visit France regularly, and it's super cool that you are a quarter French <3 Best of luck to you.
You make some great points. Keeping yourself motivated and being persistent are very important. I especially like that you emphasize that getting things right is important. When somebody only rushes through trees without a deeper understanding of the grammar they will usually have problems later on. Of course that can be fine as well, it really depends on your goals.
Thank you lots! I don't know how many people there is out there learning languages without knowing the most important tips like motivation and persistence. You know, these are really important stuff. I used to rush through my tree back then but that's when things got complicating and this is why I always make sure I redo my lessons regularly and understand them completely.
Hi Mai! Congratulations on all you've achieved with French, I hope you'll keep going and reach your goals. Thanks for the great advice, I especially appreciated the tip to imagine oneself in France speaking fluent French, very inspiring!
Some things I find useful are watching programs I enjoy in French on YouTube. Documentaries are usually very clearly enunciated and I find them much easier to understand that tv shows. I also like reading french books on kindle, the built-in dictionary makes it much easier for me to understand. There are some easy readers and also some books that have both english and french, that I've found helpful.
Wishing you good luck too, and that you'll become a fluent french speaker! :)
Hey Maria! Thanks so much <3 I do hope to continue and reach my goals. And you are welcome, I am happy to help at all times :)
I love to watch French YouTube videos too! :D My favorite French YouTubers are Cyprien and Nadiya B. I read English/French books as well which is ideal for French learners.
Best of luck to you as well and I hope you'll become a fluent french speaker too!
you must practice any language to save it . the grammars are equaling the half of the any language do not left your learning in this site because you are beginner if you want to be a professional in this language, you will talk with the original people for example skype face to face , addition to visit any country in the world is talking french
Thanks for your advice ModyDj !! My family and I will visit Europe at the end of the month and we might go to France ;)
Great job! What a motivated and self-disciplined little girl! You should be proud of yourself! I'm proud of you--keep up the good work!
You are one motivated girl! Keep at it, you'll be speaking French like a native in no time. Another trick I use is keeping a journal or diary in French, and trying to use as many new words as possible. It helps you find a use for them and the practice helps you remember them and start to think in French more, which is key to becoming fluent. Good luck!
Your awesome! Continue practicing and you'll become flunet in French in no time good luck I'll totally take your advice into consideration I just started practicing French today so thanks!
Wait. TWELVE?? My gosh, I wuz stil tlking lyk dis xDD when I was twelve. You're amazing, good luck on your journey to learn French :)
Je suis la meme que tu et donc si tu veux une partenaire pour discuter quelque chose francaise tu me suivais.
Nous practiquions si tu veux!
grâce , si je veux parler de quoi que ce soit en français, je vais certainement vous suivre :)
Very well said, Mai. I can tell you are extremely intelligent. Your advice is very astute and clear. Bonne chance avec votre pratique française! I look forward to getting as far as you have with my practice.
Bon travail! Je suis tellement heureux que vous vous êtes encouragés par quelque chose de tout enfant ferait, regarder un film! Je ne suis que 10 et je vais sur seulement une fois par semaine! Je suis en train de faire plus cet été. Je suis seulement dix, mais je suis dans le niveau 5 ... Je prétends que le français est une grande course et il faut faire vite, mais très bien! CONTINUER À FAIRE DU BON TRAVAIL! By the way, I am CANADIAN and do not speak french ALL the time. Good Job though!
Merci beaucoup! Bonne journée! et oui nous devrions essayer de parler français en tout temps ;)
This goes for any language you are learning. Studying only goes so far. You have to immerse yourself as much as possible. To one of your points (watch French TV and listening to French radio) I would like to add, reading online news or any website in the language you are studying. This helps with improving your vocabulary and grammar.
Merci pour tes conseils !
J'ai étudié le français pendant deux année, mais il encore n'a pas bien. Cela dit je finalement trouvé un ami qu'était capable de parler français, et maintenant nous nous parlons chaque jour. Je te suggére regarde les films françaises de Michel Gondry (particulièrement l'un intitlée Mood Indigo), ils sont très bien pour t'aider de parler français.
De rien. Je vais certainement regarder le film que vous parlez. Merci pour la suggestion <3
Ah bon travail finalement tu as fais une grande chose et tu as battu l’impossible Et merci pour votre source d'inspiration i salut you
Non, grâce à vous . Merci pour le soutien. Je suis vraiment heureux que je vous ai inspiré :)
Je suis vraiment heureux, but heureux is the masculine form of the word, used for boys. Since you're a girl, the correct word to use is the feminine one : heureuse.
Hi Mai, thank you for your post! I have been trying to find things to read and listen to that are about my level, so I'm interested to know where you are on the Duo French tree and how much of the BFMTV you understand? I'm on level 8 but I find it a bit overwhelming if I can only understand a little bit of the French I am hearing. Do you find that since you're listening to a lot of French every day that you are gradually understanding more and more? Merci beaucoup :)
Hi! I have some amazing tips that I think can also help you. It is to get a notebook. What I do is I actually write down the stuff I learn on Duolingo. You can write down the most important vocabulary and grammar. You can also watch movies or TV shows in French and add the English subtitles.
Thank you! This is extremely helpful! I accidently took a 7 month break after not practicing, oops, and I am so glad I am getting back into it!