If you want to improve your French, in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation you certainly need some advice to help you find the right path to work on.
Learning any language requires effort by the person himself and first of all, it starts with the pleasure of learning this foreign language, because simply if you don’t have an incentive, a precise objective behind this learning, not to say that you will stagnate and fail but you will certainly progress very slowly that you yourself will not perceive this small progress.
you can also see this article: Is French easy to learn?
Is it Possible to Learn French on Your Own?
I will talk about my own experience in learning foreign languages as my mother tongue is Arabic, I learned French, it took me some time to find the right path on which to move forward, once found I perceived extraordinary progress.
I have made rapid progress in the two skills which are comprehension and expression.
I am really happy to be able to understand, speak and express myself without any difficulty, it has surely increased my self-confidence, and I am more at ease when I face someone who does not speak my native language whether it is in the real or virtual world. It has also given me the advantage of being able to find more information and discover other cultures and traditions, also to acquire friendships from the other side of the world.
So, what are the steps that I followed to learn french on my own?
1. Creating a supportive learning environment
The best way to learn a language is to be in total immersion.
Being in the midst of people who do not speak our language triggers our ability to adapt. We learn faster, we retain new words and expressions more quickly, we practice in a natural way.
This is something you don’t see in a language class. Fear of ridicule or failing… The ridiculous one is the one who doesn’t try.
The foreigner motivated by learning French must find himself in a situation where the only way out is to use French, even the most basic.
Change the language of your phone, pc, and anything else you use on a daily basis to the targeted language, this will help you discover new words and phrases, over time you will notice that these words are stuck in your head.
2. Listening to discussions or speeches in French
As we have just said, it is important to become familiar with pronunciation.
To do this, you must listen to people speaking French.
If you like to spend hours in front of your screen making sure you don’t miss an episode it’s good for you to make these shows both entertaining and pedagogical ( Watching shows in French “with subtitles at first, then without”), this is the most effective way if you want to be fluent in French, listening to it, like a baby who acquired his mother tongue by hearing daily family members speak it. That applies to you as well you can learn through intense listening to French.
You have several possibilities:
- Listen to music with French lyrics.
- Watch French Tv channels.
- Listen to the radio in French.
If you are in a French-speaking country, listen to people speaking in the street. It is very instructive.
3. Read what you are passionate about
Reading is the key! Read aloud extracts of productions, thoughts, proverbs, documents of excellent quality, written by authors full of talent, in love with the French language and mastering it with a quasi perfection…
You will ask me the question (I don’t even like reading, how am I going to find something I’m passionate about to read?) The answer is simple, don’t complicate things. I’m sure you like a certain kind of movie or series whether it’s fiction, action, romance, comedy, etc… Once you find what you like, know that novels also look like movies. There are stories of all kinds, look for a novel that you like, and do not forget to read a small summary of the novel to know if the story excites you or not before starting to read this novel.
4. Start with the easy to the difficult
A trap where many people fall, they take the decision to improve their language (I’m talking about people who already have the basics of the French language of course) they choose difficult novels to read, are you serious? Never start with the hard stuff because it increases the possibility that you will give up more quickly. Like the little baby who learns to walk, he won’t walk overnight, he goes through several stages to finally walk and then run.
Start with easy tasks, if you are not the kind of person who likes reading try to read simple things, small paragraphs, as you go along you will discover the world of readers a wonderful world that many people do not know about, believe me, I used to hate reading like crazy and now I love reading and it has become a daily activity or almost a habit for me to read at least 15 pages a day.
5. Practice, practice and practice!
You should know that learning another language other than your mother tongue depends mainly on practice, it is like learning to ride a bicycle.
Practice daily the language you want to learn, listening to it for at least half an hour a day, make friends to practice good conversations, and also try to read and write in this language.
6. Speak to yourself
Talking to yourself may sound crazy, but trust me it works miracles. There is no specific thing you need to talk about, just talk, you can tell your day to yourself in front of the mirror it helps you discover the shortcomings that you need to work on more.
7. Download a French dictionary in your smartphone
The dictionary helps you enormously to improve your level. Every time I find a word I don’t understand, I forget a word, or how to conjugate a certain verb I run to my savior, it helps you a lot, install it!
I advise you the dictionary that I use all the time: Dictionnaire français
P.S: don’t use google translation, sometimes it can’t explain the right word, it doesn’t translate correctly, avoid it as long as you can and take advantage of the dictionary because it gives you several definitions that correspond to each field.
How can I learn French faster?
You don’t learn a language quickly. It is a long process that requires patience and determination. Don’t believe the false promises of some websites. French, like all languages, cannot be learned “quickly”, it takes at least a year. You need to take your time for at least three reasons.
ONE: in order to speak, you have to go through an unpleasant phase which is learning the structure, grammar, and pronunciation rules of French. This takes at least half a year.
TWO: You must learn to think in French. This takes even more time, because most of the time, this knowledge is not cataloged, it can only be learned by mimicking. You will have to live/have conversations with French speakers to imitate their way of thinking. This will also take at least six months.
THREE: You will need to learn the vocabulary. This can only be done by reading French books (newspapers, novels…) and/or watching French media (movies, television). Several media of the French Republic’s external audiovisual network offer free French lessons.
It is important to follow the steps (ONE, TWO, and THREE) IN ORDER! This is true for French as for all languages. Avoid at least two mistakes:
- Wanting to speak quickly and without learning the rules of grammar.
- Thinking that watching movies in French without having learned the structure and the way of thinking of the language is a quick and easy way to learn.
How long does it take to learn French?
In short, to actually learn to speak French, set aside at least 18 months if you work intensively. If you take a lesson once a week (which is not intensive), it will take you at least 3 or 4 years to start speaking French like a young native French speaker.
Mastering the written word is faster than mastering the spoken word and you always understand more than you can express. If you believe in it and have good reasons to learn French you will succeed.
Many people make the mistake of not believing in themselves when they are up to face life’s hardest challenges. Without believing in yourself, you will not find any motivation or inspiration, learning any language requires effort by the person himself.
In order to successfully complete this guide, you must make the decision that no matter how hard life gets, you will NOT give up. Giving up is not an option in the learning process.
If you want to change your life, you must WANT IT to change! Only you can change yourself!