How do you Learn the French Language…
Do you need to learn French within a short time?
Well, you are in the right place.
It can be defined in many ways, but one thing is for sure, it is as a fascinating language, made of literature, love and unique sounds.
It is a language which is official and acknowledges by more than 29 countries.
Across the world, it is the second most popular language spoken and the first in the European Union.
It is the simplest to learn as well as challenging, but it is not difficult.
Making the step to learn and understand this language is a huge step.
And we are here to make the learning smooth and simple for you.
All you have to do is adhere to some few personal principals that are:
- And tools for learning.
It may seem like rocket science at first, but following through the guidelines provided, you will realize it’s the easiest.
Below you are provided with steps to guide you through this journey.
Following every step to the latter and adhering to the above principals will make you emerge fluent and pro.
French Learning Steps
Great achievements cannot occur within a single night, and learning the French language is no exception.
The first step to knowledge and success is setting up goals which are smart and realistic.
Be organized, plan your time well and how your studies will fit perfectly in it.
Excuses should be a thing of the past. It is one of the major reasons why some people claim, it is difficult to learn this language.
Be a person of principals, once you have set up your rules; follow each one of them to the latter.
Below are two tips on what you should do:
First : Create goals which are smart
Stating your goal to learn this language is one thing but following your statement to the latter is another.
But what does it mean when you say you want to learn French?
Most resolutions are set for the sake of pleasing one’s ego, but they are not actually fulfilled.
Most of the time, these goals are frustrating and usually left unachieved.
So how can you know if you will achieve your goal?
It’s simple, create smart goals.
They should be – precise, measurable, bound by time, relevant to your topic and achievable.
In order to have a measure of your achievement, becoming familiar with language levels defined by the European Common Framework is commended.
Below you will be provided by a summary breakdown of European Common Framework and their various levels:
It is the ‘basic user’ in-group ‘A’ level and the level name is known as ‘Beginners or Breakthrough’.
It is the ‘basic user’ in-group ‘A’ level and the level name is known as the ‘Elementary or Way stage’.
It is the ‘independent user’ in-group ‘B’ level and the level name is known as the ‘intermediate or threshold’
It is the ‘independent user’ in-group ‘B’ level and the level name is known as the ‘Upper-intermediate or vintage level’.
It is the ‘proficient user’ in-group ‘C’ level and the level name is known as the ‘Operational Effective Proficiency’.
It is the ‘proficiency user’ in-group ‘C’ level and the level name is known as the ‘Proficiency or Mastery’.
Averagely, most learners of this language are categorized as ‘fluent’ the moment they are on B2 or other levels above it.
This level allows them to have social interactions comfortably on most occasions.
Targeting to attain the B2 level can be considered as a goal which is more precise and focused on the results from the whole process of learning.
Due to the criteria from the European Framework, one can measure their progress while learning this language.
This enables a person to know if they are appreciating or depreciating on language knowledge.
Think about it, between the Proficiency or Mastery level and level B2, which one seems possible to attain?
The level itself is an encouragement since it’s considered fluent and the fact that you have to pass through a few levels to reach it.
It can also be bound by time easily, through consideration of each criterion needed on every level and make a plan for yourself while keeping in mind your goals.
Second : Create a study plan
Now that you have made goals which are realistic and attainable, the next step is creating a plan which you will use to study.
This plan will enable you to utilize your time optimally.
This involves a balance between your actual busy schedule and the time set aside for study.
Therefore, this plan is meant to keep you motivated, ensure proper use of time and keep your focus on your goals.
Also, it will ensure you expose your brain to structure and repetition of words it needs for content mastering.
Consider this as your personalized plan d’étude
But before you draft your plan d’étude, use the guideline below as reference. It will enable you to make a feasible plan.
- The amount of time you can willingly dedicate for study.
This means you will not be straining yourself or have an excuse to miss the study. But you don’t have to make it fixed at a given time of the day. Select any time of the day that you will be relaxed and in no hurry while studying.
At least 20 minutes is a substantial amount of time, but also note, the more time allocated the more you gain…
- The goals you have set for learning this language.
In studying, ensure you have set your goals right. The various skills when learning this language demand for a different amount of time. Consider first where your focus will be based on before setting the time for each skill.
For example, writing demands more time compared to reading and listening.
If you will need to prioritize on certain skills more than others, ensure its incorporated in your plan d’étude.
Your study deadline- this dictates the amount of time you assign to every learning skills of the language. If it’s to learn the language due to an upcoming occasion which requires you to be familiar with it, then you should award more time.
But if it’s for general learning and you are not in a hurry, you are at liberty to allocate the time as it best fits you.
The number of resources you have.
Do you have enough resources that will enable you to have everything at your fingertips?
Fortunate for you, this guide has everything you need.
Utilize every bit of it and do much learning repetition for mastery of content.
The more you interact with the literature the more knowledge and skills you acquire.
With the above information at your fingertips, you will never go wrong when creating the perfect plan.
Your plan to be complete and comprehensive, it should contain the following:
- The description of every activity that you will involve in the study in detail.
- The beginning and end of each study session.
- The description of particular skills you will be handling and at which session.
- Include a variety of fun, engaging and intriguing activities as much as possible to make the sessions interesting.
As an important point to note- try as much as possible to allocate the study sessions at the time of the day or night where there will be no destructions.
In case you award the learning time with long hours, slip in a break in the middle for refreshing up. lastly, for great mastery, the sessions should be fun.
- Begin with Learning Various Sounds
Once you are through with crafting your goals, which are smart and realistic plans for tackling the language study, you’re good to proceed.
It’s time to dig into the real business, and this involves learning the basics of this language.
The basics study of the language set the foundation for your knowledge. Any information left out will make things tougher for you as you proceed to more complex parts of learning the language.
Where should you begin?
You should begin with the basic part of the language.
This includes sounds.
Learn the various sounds of French; understand the listening skills, pronunciation, and spelling of the various words.
This serves a vital role even before you start mastery of words and what they mean.
The consistency between spoken and written French words is very weak.
This is similar to that in English.
Therefore, understanding how to read and read does not assure you that you will have great knowledge when the language is spoken.
Like English, there are also individuals who speak broken French.
Therefore, it’s only a balance in reading, writing, and speaking that will make you perfect.
The three depend on each other for the best understanding of the language. Thus it’s rather important, to begin with, sounds before heading to the next part of studying how to write.
The standard French sounds are composed of 4 basal vowels and oral vowels which are 13.
But it actually has five letters which are different.
This five-letter represent a total of 17 vowel sounds. It’s crazy, right?
But don’t worry, it’s a matter of understanding the sounds, listening to them while spoken and do practice repetitions till you get each right.
Also, spend more time focusing on the spelling of words and their sounds so that they are familiar to you.
Learn the French alphabet and how to pronounce them. Learn their sound different from similar letters in English sounds.
Below are the alphabets and how they are pronounced.
- Learn some of the vocabularies which are basic
At this step, begin the recognition, understanding, and memorization of various vocabularies. Below you are provided by tips on how to get the best out vocabulary learning:
Do extra practical’s
To learn this language fast and understand it best, exploring new words each day is a key factor. Actually, it’s the main factor, and there is no way to escape this.
Most people would argue about having ‘bad memory’.
They often use this as an excuse for not putting enough effort to learn this language. They usually resort to this as comfort for failure.
But there is great news for everyone.
Learning this language doesn’t mean you have to become a scholar, some few vocabularies and phrases are enough.
You only need about enough of the knowledge about it to speak well.
The rest you will always get it with time as you associate with people who speak French.
Think about this, the great French dictionary (‘Le Grand Robert de la langue française’) it is one of the legendary and the biggest.(I recommend the Junior edition)
It carries more than 350, 000 definitions and about 100, 000 words.
Will you be able to all of them? I don’t think so, therefore, focus on the basic vocabularies that you will often encounter and you will be fluent enough.
Most people would give up and claim this language is hard to understand. But if you think about it, it has never been difficult or hard to learn it.
The mistake which most learners do is focusing on phrases and words which they will never use or encounter being talked about.
According to most experts’ opinions, about 300 words is what you need for everyday conversations.
That means little mastery of content is involved.
If you don’t agree with this, think about it.
In your native language, how many new words do you use each day?
You will realize it does not even amount to 1% of the total words we use.
What we always do is change the sequences of sentence formation which it’s hard to realize.
So this means as a learner, through learning this amount of words you cut to reduce your bulk of learning to less than a half.
Your communication will be fast and with less effort in sentence structure building.
This means you will memorize fewer words and phrases.
Below are some of the common words to start with :
- Bonjour (Hello, good morning, good afternoon)
- Je Suis (I am)
- et (and)
- on (you)
- voir (see)
- S’il Vous plaît(please)
- Excuse (excuse)
- Me (me)
Those are among the few words you can begin with.
Some are exactly the same in English.
As a point to note, begin with basic words such as greetings, basic questions and how to ask or tell time.
Moreover, learn the pronouns which are six, and the practical verbs.
- Cognate words
Trust me or not, everyone is familiar with certain words in French even before learning it.
While it may appear to you as ‘Greek’, most of the foreign languages have words which they share. In some cases, they have the same meaning and pronunciation, while in others; they have the same spelling and meaning but differ in pronunciation.
This common words that cut across foreign languages are referred to as cognates.
Thus, most languages from European share these cognates’ words with English.
Thanks to these words, we’re able to easily transition from one foreign language to another with no difficulties. For example- “festival”, “direction”, “me”, Excuse” and much more are shared by both French and English.
The difference that might exist in between is on pronunciation and maybe spelling in some case.
This is words should be your closest allies. Due to their shared history and roots, they will make learning simple and fast for you.
Below are some of the Cognates-
Be cautious of false cognates
These types of words have the same spelling and pronunciation but differ in meaning. You should be cautious of these, as they may mislead you into creating a sentence whose meaning does not make sense.
Pain (not pain but Bread)
Coin (nota coin but Corner)
Blesser (not to bless but to hurt)
Location (nota location but Rent)
- It’s time to plunge into grammar
By now you should be familiar with a number of French sound, vocabularies, and words. It’s time to deal with grammar.
This is what defines and determines whether you have mastery of content and deserve to rise from one study level to another.
Don’t freak out! With the guidelines or tips you will be provided with below, it will be exciting and fun to discover various ways of dealing with grammar.
- Keeping it live and practical
Similar to vocabulary, it’s significant, to begin with, verbs first. This is because you will be using them more frequently. Ensure these verbs are those applied in our daily lives. Avoid tough and complicated words from the literature. You will never use most if not all. Ordinary conversations do involve basic verbs for simple and direct conveying of information. Also, the present tense should be part of it.
You can begin with the present tense of French verbs which are the most practical.
The verb to be (être)
- nous sommes (we’re)
- je suis (I am)
- ils/elles sont (they are)
- tu es (you’re)
The verb to go (aller)
- il/elle va (he or she will
- vous allez (you’re going to)
- tu vas
- je vais (I am going to)
- nous allons (we’re going to)
The verb to do (faire)
- nous faisons (we do)
- il/elle fait (he/she does)
- tu fais (you do)
- ils/elles font (they’re doing)
- je fais (I do)
The verb to have (avoir)
- vous avez (you have)
- il/elle a (he or she)
- j’ai (I’ve)
- nous avons (we)
- tu as (you)
After you are through with the present tense of French verbs, begin to learn about those with ‘–er’ ending. This is an ending which is the easiest to conjugate.
- Aimer- (to love /like)
- Parler- (to talk)
- Demander- (to ask for)
It is the provider of the game rules in a language. It’s what enables us to tell stories. Despite French grammar looking intricate, it can be split into basic operations which are three.
- Change of words order e.g. Is learning French fun? – Learning French is fun.
- Change of the words existing e.g. I learned languages – I learn languages.
- Words addition e.g. Are you studying for an exam?- you are studying for an exam.
That’s the all of it. Not hard, right?
Trough learning the grammar explanations, we can use that in breaking down rules into chunks which are easy to memorize.
During your study of verb tenses, do a practice of using the same tense with different pronouns in the same sentence. After which you should practice changing the same sentence into a question and also a negative sentence. Then after afterward, using a constant pronoun, practice different tenses on the same sentence, also change it into negative and question form on the various tenses. This is one of the best ways to split rules into parts which are easier and simple to memorize.
- Do a repetitive practice
So, finally, as the cliché says, ‘practice makes perfect’ also do the same with what you have learned. A onetime study isn’t enough to make you grasp a good amount of content.
This considering the various vowel and alphabet sounds which can get you mixed up in the process if you have not mastered them well. Thus, to learn French well and becoming fluent, it involves lots of practice.
Below you are being provided by a few tips which are great in helping you to practice this language.
Read, listen and watch
There are various sources of information which you can use to grasp the knowledge. They are diverse and all include reading, listening and watching. Through reading, you are able to grasp new content as well as familiarize yourself with the various sentence and word structures.
Listening is even better; you get to learn how the various words are being pronounced. At the same time, it will make it easier for you when you go out and put the language in practice. Therefore it’s a good tool for understanding and communication.
Watching, well this interesting, watching French film enables you to understand and learn a various aspect of the language in a fun way. Therefore, you can get a number of interesting movies to get yourself busy with any time you are free from your busy schedule.
Also, read, listen and watch has effects on your brain understanding of new things which is very remarkable. Every-time you get yourself exposed to new French content as well as those you are familiar with, your mind is automatically put to work.
Through this, it begins to connect the new content with the old in order to make sense and understanding out of it. Through this, you get to learn new contents without straining yourself too much.
Also, it doesn’t make you feel like you are learning. After a given time of regular reading, listening and watching, you will realize that you can understand some words and even sentence structures you have never read before.
And this is thanks to the ability of your brain in soaking up contents that include grammar and vocabularies when you were watching a movie or reading an article or books.
If you are interested in getting French contents which are useful, get yourself involved with modern contents that you would love to understand.
This includes the movies, books, and audios that you will be using.
- Interactions without travel involvement
Now that you’re familiar with a good amount of language content, it’s time to put it in practice. You don’t need to visit Paris to apply your new language skills; you can begin employing it where you are. Applying it through interactions with people will enable you to master and understand it well.
Interactions which are beneficial on a daily basis involve:
Imagine speaking to a stranger in the first time using a language that is also strange to your tongue.
This could be a hell of a day. Make use of friends, neighbors and family members who speaks in French. Meet them in person and interact with them through conversations.
Through this, you will be able to gain confidence in the use of this language.
Start written conversations with co-workers, members of your family and friends. Sharpen your skills through expressing yourself by using French in the text conversations.
At this point, you will be free to use words as you are familiar with whom you are replying to.
Use of a diary, if you are not a fun of diary, you can try journals. Write all your end of day activities or short notes in this language.
Through this, you will familiarize with the language and it will feel like a part of you.
Interacting with locals who speak French.
Go to places where there are people who are familiar with this language. It can be a market zone, a park or even refreshment joint.
Try interacting with them. In the process, you will be practicing your practical skills as well as gaining new words you’ve never heard before.
Create or join a French group.
This could include your fellow mates who are also learning it as well as those who are fluent. Strictly use it in conversations for your practice.
Use it on online platforms’.
On your social media platforms, you can get friends who speak in this language. Socialize with them and use French as the medium of conversation. Who said you have to visit France to speak to the French people.
We often receive emails; use this as an opportunity to practice your new skills. You can make it advance by changing your email language to French.
On online platforms, there are blogs which are written in French including their conversations. Join such forums and put in practice your new language. Moreover, there are certain forums which are formed for the purpose of learning and expressing this language.
Don’t forget the French music. They are very romantic and has a diverse genre. It, therefore, accommodates everyone’s taste of music, including rock, blues, and hip-hop songs. Utilize this chance and learn new skills through something you love.
Who doesn’t love a good movie or series? Take this chance and watch your favorite types of the film even without straining, you will understand the words and grasp well in mind.
Are you a newspaper lover? Get hold of every day’s edition which is in French. This will train you on how to structure formal sentences and paragraphs.
Talking in French to yourself. I know, this may seem psychotic, but it actually works. It enables you to recall vocabularies you have recently learned.
Making of Mistakes
Unlike subjects which are academic, learning French is like a quest that never ends. It requires constant focus and practice.
Think about it, most of us have used English in all our lives both in academics and nonacademic’s, but there are still lots of words that you can’t define without reference.
This is the same case with French.
In the world of learning languages, whether native or foreign, mistakes enable you to learn fast and become fluent.
Don’t worry about flipping the moods of native speakers for boldness and speaking with them in their local language.
Don’t worry about making wrong sentences, just go for it.
The odds, in this case, are that they will correct you and tell you how you should structure your sentences.
Fear can be your great enemy of achievement; don’t let it be part of you.
Focus on your goal and you will be amazed at how much you will achieve.
Despite any circumstances, whether positive or negative, go out there and express yourself.
It is through this that you will be able to attain the best results out of learning this language.
Richard about Natural French Accent