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Especially in the way it sounds, the French language has an unquestionable beauty to it. But most newbies find it extremely difficult to learn and master it because of its different linguistic components such as pronunciation, grammar, spelling etc. In today’s blog post, we discuss how to make your French learning journey easy in just a few easy steps. You can do this even if your schedule is busy. So, continue reading till the end and begin your French learning journey asap! On y va !

 

Step 1- Begin with French Pronunciation

More than 28% of words used in the English language have been derived from French. This is why French is one of the easiest languages for speakers of English as a first or  second language. However, certain alphabets have accents on/ under them unlike in English which could make it slightly complicated.

As you begin to learn French, it’s more important to learn the sounds correctly, and not the alphabets. It is absolutely necessary to master the French sounds. French has the same script as English. It has 23 consonants and 16 vowels. If you know English, you are already aware of 20 consonants and 6 vowels. Now you just have 3 new consonants and 10 vowels to learn. If you haven’t yet started learning French pronunciation, you now have your task for today. 

Step 2- Start Speaking Right Away

Speaking French for the first time might seem challenging and uncomfortable because it sounds so different. However, it is an absolutely necessary early step to get used to speaking it no matter how weird it may sound to your own ears. This will help you slowly build your confidence during your initial phase of learning itself. To improve your speaking skills early, try these tips:

Hire an Experienced French Trainer

Being supported and guided by an experienced language trainer who can provide you corrections and relevant feedback during your process of learning is extremely important. You could go for French classes either online or offline as per your convenience. LingoRelic provides you the best online French language training under the guidance of highly qualified and experienced French language trainers, while also providing you flexibility in class timings as per your convenience.

Participate in a Language Exchange

Especially if you are on a budget, finding language exchange partners can be very useful. Language exchange apps help you find and interact with native speakers of your target language. These apps offer some free and some paid options for language learning. Your language exchange partner can teach you their language and help you make corrections and improve, while you teach them your language. If you befriend some language exchange partners, they could become your informal French teachers and hence both of you benefit from each other.
A major downside to using these apps could be that the learning is quite unstructured and hence the progress is slow because the learner is almost always disillusioned about the course content. However,  this could be a great supplementary aid alongside working with a language trainer who plans your course and proceeds in an organized manner.

HelloTalk is a useful language exchange app you could start with.

Learn About the French Culture

Search for nearby French cultural centers and find out how you could participate in the activities and events they conduct. Try out French courses in art, music or another pastime activity you like. Moreover, try visiting places that offer French food and drinks. Find out and take advantage of any local bars and restaurants where you could practice your French. You may have some difficult experiences initially, but if you resolve to persist, you will be able to communicate effectively very soon.

Easy French offers nice authentic content to help you learn about the French Culture.

Step 3- Read a Lot of Content in French

If you ask some experienced trainers and experts for their tips on French learning, they will definitely suggest beginners to begin reading simple, easy books and stories. Without embracing the literature, it is almost impossible to hone your skills in your target language. So you could also try reading French  versions of books that you’ve read in English already- such as Harry Potter. Moreover, you could try reading news in French or subscribe to French newsletters.

Here are some great French books that beginners could read:

“Mon père est femme de ménage” de Saphia Azzeddine

“Le Petit Nicolas” de René Goscinny

“Le Petit Prince” d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Step 4- Work on the transcription of each audio you listen to

Even if you attain excellent proficiency at reading comprehension, you still might struggle with understanding conversational French. This happens to many learners because the differences between written French and spoken French are quite major and that is why they could seem like two different languages. This makes it so important to include regular listening practice along with the transcription in your French learning. Reading can undoubtedly be a productive way to enhance your vocabulary. But it won’t help you so much to understand the natives when they speak. RFI Savoirs is my favourite resource for listening alongwith transcriptions.

Step 5- Watch Lots of French Films and French TV

During your free time, do you love watching movies and series? If yes, it is absolutely worth watching them in French. Watching French movies and series can stimulate your brain to start thinking in French. This kind of content helps learners immensely in learning their target language. You understand the  communication patterns of language and get a cultural glimpse in a much more productive manner.

You should ideally start watching French movies/ series with French subtitles, and later try turning them off. This way, your listening and understanding can improve without relying so much on reading the text. Also, pause wherever needed, prepare your notes, write down vocabulary and expressions that you like, and repeat some expressions and slangs that are used commonly.

Tip: Even though it is very fascinating to directly start watching original French series and films, it would be easier and more practical to begin with French dubbed versions of English movies that you have already watched.

Many English movies are dubbed in French, so they are accessible. This way you already know the plot and you concentrate more on understanding the French language.

I really like to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S in French.

Step 6- Expand Your Vocabulary by Learning French Words, Expressions and Phrases

When you start your French journey, an extremely important thing is to know basic vocabulary related to different themes, expressions and phrases. Beginners generally begin with learning greetings, introducing themselves, words to use when meeting French natives, and asking simple daily- life questions.

Step 7- Note Down Basic Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs and Verbs

As far as basics are concerned, you will need French counting, days, months, colors, seasons for a variety of everyday life situations such as shopping, money exchange, transportation etc. Learning French numbers, basic nouns, verbs and adjectives right within the early phase of learning is important as this will let you immerse yourself and start conversations with people almost immediately. To build up your French vocabulary, you must start with basic words on different themes. This will help you initiate and continue conversations about people, places and things that surround you.

Also, do not forget, sentence formation is impossible without a verb. Therefore it is worth starting with the most commonly- used French verbs, their meanings and conjugations. Another pro tip is to think of different vocabulary themes and then look up on the internet to make notes of these lists. This keeps it more organized and you will be able to learn one theme that contains a variety of words at a time. For example, you could start with searching for, making notes and learning “Adjectives in French”.

Step 8- Master Basic Grammar and Sentence Formation

Alongside basic vocabulary building, you must be able to make your sentences properly with the application of correct grammar. There are multiple ways of learning the grammar, but here are a few grammatical rules to start with:

IDENTIFYING MASCULINE AND FEMININE NOUNS: In French, every animate and inanimate noun is either masculine or feminine. As a beginner, you should start with understanding how the inanimate nouns are categorized as per gender.
ARTICLES, DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVES, POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES: French grammar has these basic rules which depend on the gender and number of the noun, Learning them before starting sentence formation is very useful.
VERBS, MEANINGS AND CONJUGATIONS: French verbs are classified as regular and irregular. Each category has three sub- categories and the method of conjugations needs to be learnt. That is what helps you start making sentences in French.
TENSES: Having started with verbs, quite obviously tenses will follow. French has 12 verb tenses used actively. Start with the present tense (“Présent de l’Indicatif”- Simple Present and Present Continuous), the past participles of verbs which are used in Passé Composé (Simple Past and Present Perfect), and the different types of future tense.

Step 9- French It Up

Language immersion is generally linked with the idea of moving to the country of your target language. However, there still exist different ways in which immersion in French is possible even without your ticket to a francophone country right now. Immerse yourself in the French language and culture as much as you can. You aim to reach a level where you think, crack jokes, and even dream in French.

Here’s what you could do to immerse yourself in French:
● Change your phone’s default language to French. Do this for all your gadgets.
● Passive listening plays an important role in language learning. So watch movies, series, listen to audiobooks and podcasts in French for a smoother learning process. Even if you don’t understand everything in the audio/ video, passive learning gives benefits in the long- term.
● Another good idea, look for new recipes that you are trying in French, and gain amazing benefits from learning French this fun way!

Conclusion

A foreign language- learning journey all by oneself can be quite challenging and sometimes daunting. However, following the right methodology and tips as suggested in this blog can help you create an amazing experience. Communicate in French whenever possible and practice lots of listening, reading, and writing. Continue doing weekly revisions and recaps of all that you’ve learned in that week.

This helps you to let the lesson stick in your mind and keep your motivation up by seeing visible improvement in your performance. You are also recommended to find a professional language expert as soon as possible. A trainer will acquaint you with French culture, set the order of your topics right, plan your lessons effectively, and help you learn more productively while providing you with an environment wherein you can communicate in French regularly.

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