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Tips on learning French

Sev
edited August 2011 in French
A few thoughts on anchoring some of the vocabulary or grammar you are starting to learn - with Living Language!

Repeat, repeat, repeat! There is no other secret to fully memorize new material. 

Also, try to apply even just a few of the things you learned in everyday life. For example, when you're travelling, or buying groceries, etc., think of how you would say it in French. Make it a habit, and you'll be surprised how easy it comes to you when you can actually practice it with someone (like me for example!)

Comments

  • I agree with Sev, you should practice as much as you can!

    For those of you who live in big cities (NY, SF, LA...), there are often meet-ups with francophiles. Just google it and you will find many groups who get together, often in a bar, to chat and share their love of French culture.

    Since I live in NY, I know one popular one: http://www.voilanewyork.com/
    Don't be shy! Even if you don't know much French, you should go to those events because you really meet interesting people and there's always a way for you to practice your French!
  • Written exercises are a very important way to master grammatical rules. Do them once, then do them (the same or new ones) again a few days later. Just like the homework we used to do for school, never underestimate their value, and never dismiss them as secondary. 

    They will help tremendously in situations where you need to respond almost instinctively, especially as real-life scenarios often require using learned material in unconventional or unexpected ways.

    Living Language offers many exercises in the form of games; these are a great way to solidify your learning of French, so have fun with them. Bonne chance!
  • On the importance of reading aloud.

    As a complement to Living Language, and the practice with a native speaker, consider the value of reading a French text aloud, especially along with an audio-book, or even a movie. Of course, you won't have someone to correct you, so you will have to trust your ears and slowly develop self-correcting skills.

    You do not have to worry about meaning at first; simply concentrate on the sounds. Along with your studies, you will start recognizing patterns - nouns, verbs, pronouns, structures of phrases, where liaisons occur, etc.

    In time, you will also gain confidence in yourself, if only because you will get used to your speaking French.

    Try it!
  • Sev
    edited February 2012
    Meet native speakers around your town!

    Nowadays, with the myriad of social media available, you have an amazing array of opportunities to meet native speakers and other people who want to practice their French skills, especially conversational. 

    Sometimes you might have to look for groups which are not focused just on learning a foreign language; instead, you might have to look under gourmet cuisine, travel, culture, etc., so be creative in your research!

    Examples are Facebook.com, Meetup.com...

    Learn it, live it & have fun!
  • There's also mylanguageexchange.com. You can practice your native language with someone who wants to learn it, in exchange for practice of their native language.
  • Sev
    edited April 2012
    To complement your practice and language 'reflexes', try find a native speaker around your area (check craigslist.com) and offer him a coffee or a lunch in town. 

    Then practice real scenarios or situations on the street, in stores, etc. I find it an extremely efficient method to anchor vocabulary and expressions.
  • Knowing other languages can be an asset when learning a new one, if these languages share the same roots. There are pitfalls however, and one needs to learn about 'faux amis' (false cognates) to avoid errors, and sometimes embarrassing blunders!

    Here is a link with a few examples.
  • When you practice with someone and are a little to self-conscious of your weaknesses, focus on small sentences, using a few very common verbs and simple vocabulary. 
    In real life, this is what happens most of the time anyway. This approach will free you from anxieties, and little by little, you'll feel more comfortable taking some risks!
  • Sev
    edited December 2013
    I recently received a query regarding the AP French (Advanced Placement French Language and Culture), a course offered by the College Board to american high school students as an opportunity to earn placement credit for a college-level French course.

    Of course, beyond the general level of education implied, all the tips for learning French mentioned above apply here.

    But, as obvious as it may seem, nothing will compare to the full immersion of actually going to live in France (or Québec) for at least 2-6 months, provided one speaks as little English as possible once there!

    For young students, there are also French schools, such as the Lycée Français.

  • Sev
    edited March 2013
    One of the key things you understand at some point when learning a language is that there are situations where you cannot simply rationalize the way a language works in comparison to your own language. It then becomes essentially a question of semantics.

    So, when you have assimilated a certain number of material (vocabulary, grammar, etc.), you just need to take the 'plunge' so to speak, and practice what you know with a French native speaker, and let your mind be completely open to the new language. 

    Absurd as it may sound, imagine yourself a French citizen! Picture everything you know about French culture, down to the smallest details that fascinate you about the culture. With this frame of mind, you might find yourself carried into a very receptive state where language becomes an organic way of living and interacting with a world.

    Obviously, the ultimate way is to actually spend time in France. But you would be surprised how effective it is to recreate a semblance of the real French environment: a French café, French objects (posters, cards, clothes and fashion), hearing French (music, radio, films, etc.). So surround your immediate environment with such physical things and immerse yourself in it a little, as often as you can. Again, frequency is key in learning.
  • I just started French a few days ago but I agree knowing 2 other languages really helped in giving a better understanding of words. Also little things like reciting and "talking " to myself when shopping  has reallly helped with the vocab. Another tip watch movies in the language you are learning and listen to a ton of music. This not only helps you find the accent it also allows you to recognize words you have learned.
  • Merci de partager votre point de vue! (Thanks for sharing your point of view). I am really glad you are putting your learning to practice and truly making active efforts to 'enter' the culture. Do not hesitate to ask any questions here. Bonne chance Jam!
  • I Support all my friends you must not get shy to speak and break French language itis always practice for you.
    Wel done and I wish good luck for Living language Professors
  • I Support all my friends you must not get shy to speak and break French language its always practice for you.
    Well done and I wish good luck for Living language Professors
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