Best resources to learn French?

Sep 28, 2018
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#1
I have wanted to learn French for as long as I can remember. It's such a beautiful language! I've tried Babbel but didn't really get much out of it. Is an app worth my time, or should I look at more comprehensive programs? Any suggestions for more sophisticated programs?
 

Phil

New member
Oct 8, 2018
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#2
Hi MichelleSP,

I know you asked about programs, but I want to suggest a different strategy first. You already have the most important ingredient... desire. Before I explain the strategy I used to teach myself Spanish, I want to explain why it worked. You see, for the most part, people learn faster through visual recognition. By taking steps to visualize words, one can more easily remember the new information. So, without further ado, here we go:

Materials/ How to use:
Notebook: Keep a journal. Write five words five times each. Record simple phrases. Also take time to record basic terminology into French, like letters, numbers, parts of the body, fruits, vegetables, etc.

Address labels: Label everything in your house in French.

Dry erase board: Record your five words of the day and a phrase of the week.

French/English Dictionary: Use it to look up words you want & need to know.

Support: Find someone in France in Facebook or some other social media who can help you practice writing. Do not worry too much about pronunciation during the first several weeks. Also, learn French the way you learned English... Do not feel ashamed to look up a few children's books.

Other materials: Look for magazines, newspaper adds, music and perhaps radio or television shows from France.

Continuing education: When you are ready, study the currency, political figures, common religions, population, variations of French language and of course, the states & territories of France.

I hope this information helps you.

Respectfully,

Phil
 
Likes: MichelleSP
Sep 28, 2018
21
1
3
#3
Hi MichelleSP,

I know you asked about programs, but I want to suggest a different strategy first. You already have the most important ingredient... desire. Before I explain the strategy I used to teach myself Spanish, I want to explain why it worked. You see, for the most part, people learn faster through visual recognition. By taking steps to visualize words, one can more easily remember the new information. So, without further ado, here we go:

Materials/ How to use:
Notebook: Keep a journal. Write five words five times each. Record simple phrases. Also take time to record basic terminology into French, like letters, numbers, parts of the body, fruits, vegetables, etc.

Address labels: Label everything in your house in French.

Dry erase board: Record your five words of the day and a phrase of the week.

French/English Dictionary: Use it to look up words you want & need to know.

Support: Find someone in France in Facebook or some other social media who can help you practice writing. Do not worry too much about pronunciation during the first several weeks. Also, learn French the way you learned English... Do not feel ashamed to look up a few children's books.

Other materials: Look for magazines, newspaper adds, music and perhaps radio or television shows from France.

Continuing education: When you are ready, study the currency, political figures, common religions, population, variations of French language and of course, the states & territories of France.

I hope this information helps you.

Respectfully,

Phil
Wow, thank you so much, Phil! All of these strategies are game changers. They seem so simple but I can see how they would be super effective. How long did it take you to learn Spanish, or how long before you were able to speak conversationally and/or read/write Spanish?

Thanks, again!
 

mctking

New member
Sep 30, 2018
19
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#4
Hi,

I'm a native french speaker, so I'm not sure I can give you many helpful pointers for french specifically.

I know that one difficult thing for non-romance language speakers to master is the whole gender thing. Every thing has a gender. It's the worst. My advice would be to train yourself to think in those terms, rather than memorizing, even when you're not actively working on learning French. For instance, think of a chair (fem) as delicate, beautiful, or whatever stereotypically feminine descriptors will make chair=she in your mind. I think that may be an effective method: letting the lesson take seed in the language in which you think before translating it into the other language.

I am actually learning Italian right now. I use Berlitz, which is pretty flexible and helpful. But really, nothing is more effective for language learning than HAVING to speak, as opposed to just wanting to. I've been in Sicily for 5 days and I've already learned so much more than I ever would have, because I have to apply what I have absorbed to very real situations. Of course, if going to France (or even French-speaking Quebec) is not an option (which is totally understandable), then make do by integrating it into your day-to-day life in different ways. Are you going to the supermarket? Translate your grocery list into french. Anticipate little conversations you might have along the way. Ask yourself: how would I say this or that if the situation arose? Then supplement that with whatever conjugation tables or grammar tips your program gives you.

Hope that helps!

p.s: I am happy to answer questions you might have about french. I love love love languages!
 

Phil

New member
Oct 8, 2018
21
1
3
#5
Wow, thank you so much, Phil! All of these strategies are game changers. They seem so simple but I can see how they would be super effective. How long did it take you to learn Spanish, or how long before you were able to speak conversationally and/or read/write Spanish?

Thanks, again!
I was able to hold a somewhat effective conversation within three months after I started learning Spanish. I was able to qualify for an official bilingual status within about a year or two. Just in case you wish to know, testing involves three forms of communicating, which is speaking, reading and writing. That is why the methods above include a little of each communication form. This also helps with coding... In other words, the way a person translates a thought into speech or text.
 

NeuroSkillz Admin

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 11, 2018
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#6
Hands down, the best way I've found is Pimsleur. I've tried multiple methods and other polyglots agree; Pimsleur is the best system. Dedicate only 30 minutes per day and you'll be having light conversations in no time. You can usually find the first, or a couple, levels in your local library.

Other methods that help supplement language learning is memorizing lines to your favorite movie dubbed in French.

-Mary