If you want to learn French but don’t know where to start, this article is for you. Learning French could be both exciting and challenging. Vocabulary, grammar, conjugations, etc. There is a lot to learn! It is very common to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. That’s why we would like to present 10 tips that you can set up today to help you get started in the best possible way.
#1 Define Your Objectives
Before diving headfirst into new adventures, it may be a good idea to think about the goals you want to achieve. Do you want to speak French so for your next trip to France you can comfortably get by? To be able to have conversations with your French friends? For your work? We believe that one key to success is to have a clear mind in terms of objectives to best adapt your learning to your goals.
If you don’t know how to set up goals, you can use the SMART method. Each of your goals should indeed be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.
Having a clear idea of where you want to go will help keep you motivated and not feeling lost.
A smart goal could be to achieve A1 level within 3 months. It’s specific (A1 level), measurable (content of A1), achievable (yes you can!), relevant (you want to be able to get by when you go to France in 4 months) and timebound (3 months).
#2 Learn The 100 Most Common Words in French
Not all words are created equal. This is why you are going to have to be strategic in your learning. Learn the most important words first. So, although your knowledge of vocabulary will still be limited, you will already be able to understand the main ideas of what you hear or read. Even if you may have already noticed that many words sound different once you pronounce them! This is the beauty of the French language 🙂
Focusing on the words the most used allows you to be familiar with the language more quickly. With 600 words of vocabulary, you will already be able to understand most of the conversations and texts in French (between 80% and 90% according to some estimates.)
#3 Learn Like Children
Why not being inspired by the way children learn? Learning while having fun is one of the best ways to make studying time enjoyable. This is what will help you stay motivated to achieve your goals. And in general children love to discover new things and are not afraid to make mistakes. Learning while having fun and not daring to make mistakes could be particularly useful for you when learning French.
While this may seem surprising to you at first, using learning material for children is also a great way to get in touch with French. Children’s books, mythical cartoons and television series, take advantage of the wealth of content available to practise your French. In addition to their educational aspect, you would also acquire references that most French adults know and cherish. Cartoons such as Tintin, Asterix and Obelix or Lucky Luke are icons and are quite simply part of French cultural heritage.
#4 Watch Movies or TV in French
This is certainly one of the favourite techniques of French students. Watching movies or TV in French is a great way to improve your listening comprehension. Cinema is an important part of French culture. You will therefore have a wide choice in terms of audio-visual productions. Choose the movies or series that interest you and watch them in French with English subtitles on a daily basis. When you feel comfortable enough, you can then increase the difficulty by choosing the French subtitles.
#5 Watch The News in French
If you want to diversify the content you use, you can also switch to the news in French. Whether it’s 24-hour news channels, radio stations or even the written press, this will allow you to learn more about France. To begin, focus on content with lots of images to help you understand the topic. Try to guess what it is about and identify words that appear frequently to incorporate them into your vocabulary.
#6 Take Advantage of the Internet and Apps!
With the technological revolution in the past two decades there has been a creation of all sorts of resources on the Internet. Moreover, there are many apps designed to help you learn French. So be curious and experiment! The idea is to find what works best for you. Applications such as Duolingo, Busuu or Memrise are thus used by our students who incorporate them into their French learning.
#7 Make New Friends Who Speak French
Finding someone to practice with will make the experience much more rewarding. As human beings we need to share what we live. That will help and encourage both of you. We are always stronger together.
Whether online or face to face, there are many ways to meet people who are eager to speak in a foreign language. In most major cities, it is possible to participate in events that bring together people who want to speak in foreign languages. Normally, many announcements for these types of events are posted on Meetup.
#8 Configure Your Phone in French
One of the best ways to learn French is to surround yourself with it every day. And for that you can start by changing the default language of your phone to French. You can do the same with your computer and your browser. Rather passive, this technique however allows you to get used to reading French daily and will facilitate the work of assimilation.
#9 Visit a French-Speaking Country!
One of the best ways to surround yourself with French is, of course, a trip to a French-speaking country such as France, Canada (Quebec), Belgium and Switzerland to name a few. Whether it is a short vacation, an extended stay or even a year of study, immersing will allow you to directly experience speaking French, which can be very different from what you find in books. It will also help you see the language for what it is, that is to say a passport to new experiences: participation in music festivals, tasting sessions, theme nights. To learn a new language is to have access to a new cultural universe.
#10 Register For Online Training
If you have ambitious goals and want to stack all the odds in your favour to achieve them, opting for online training may be a good option. The French Learning Institute offers training courses that will allow you to achieve your goals while participating in a unique fun and interactive experience. Combining language and culture, The French Learning Institute offers fun and engaging lessons provided by friendly teachers that will help you to develop your French skills.