How to learn French faster is a legitimate question : When we start learning a foreign language, we want to see the results quickly, but patience and hard work are key. Let me share with you a few tips that I experimented myself when I learnt English and that really facilitated the learning process.
When you start a new activity, like studying a new language, the excitement is real and the motivation is high. Yet most people tend to give up when facing the first issues because they did not expect their motivation to disappear. However, you need to revive at all costs that motivation and will are two different things : Motivation can be fluctuating whereas will is fixed, so is your objective. You need to be aware that even though your motivation might sometimes be at his lowest point, your ambition will remain. So don’t mistake motivation with goal. You will undoubtedly have to cope with difficulties, lack of time, lack of envy,… But remember what your objective is. That is why, before even starting a new activity or a new language, you need to set a goal.
Set a SMART Objective
First of all you need to identify the reason why you are starting to learn French
- To prepare a trip
- For a diploma
- Because you love the sound of the language
- For your career
- To know more about French culture
- To settle in France
- Because somebody in your family speaks French
Your goal will be decisive in your motivation.
The more specific it is, the clearer your journey towards your objective will be.
S as in Specific
Now that you identified the reason why you wanted to study French, set a clear objective. Find some examples below:
- Reaching A1 Level (find out about levels in languages in this article)
- Being able to have a conversation with a French person
- Reading your favorite French book in French
- Finding a new job in which you will see the French language
- Living in France
M as in Measurable
Then you need to define whether your objective is measurable or not : Are there steps that you can determine to check that you are on the right way ? In the case of the learning of a language, it is measurable by the different lessons you will learn : Firstly, how to introduce yourself, Secondly, how to make a simple sentence,…
A as in Achievable
After that, you have to define if this objective is reachable : Will you have enough time to devote to it? If you aim at speaking French for your next vacation in France, do you really need to be bilingual, or reaching a certain level should do?
R like Realistic
Your goal needs to be realistic, which means that it should not be something like “I want to be fluent in a foreign language in 1 month“. Even though you truly wish it, I am sorry to inform that this won’t happen.
T like Time-Bound
You must set a limit in time to achieve your goal. Otherwise, you might procrastinate and forget about your objective.
Take your time to find the right objective and once you are ready just start walking toward it.
Now is the right time!
14 Tips to learn a foreign language : How to learn French faster?
1. Flood your house with lists
Vocabulary lists, Grammar rules, expressions, literally any thing you want to learn by heart should be printed/handwritten and hung to strategic places in your house, like in the bathroom, on your mirror, in front of your kitchen cooking place,… Anywhere you pass by several times per day, so that you will go over it, over and over and over. This way, you will memorize it without even thinking about it!
2. Watch movies
Watching movies in the target language is something very fun. It can be French movies (obviously!) that you can watch with subtitles either in English or in French, until you will be able to watch it without subtitles 🙂
What I did when I was studying English : When I heard a sentence that I thought would be useful, I used the stop button and replayed this sentence so that I could get how to pronounce it and I could train. I really advise you to try this method! You can also watch a movie you know well in French : It will be weird the first minutes as you are not used to see it in French, but at least you will get it even though you won’t understand everything!
3. Learn about the country
Learning a language is also learning more about the culture of the country. Art, lifestyle or food can be ways to comprehend the language and the way people are living in the country. If you like a language, you are likely to enjoy the culture that goes along.
4. Study at least 20 minutes/day
Some days, you will be highly motivated, some days, you won’t be able to learn anything. However impose yourself a strict schedule : you must study at least 20 minutes every day. That is absolutely feasible and that does not have to be behind a desk : You can listen to a podcast while cooking, you can learn some vocabulary by heart while in the bathroom, you can sing a French song to your children. Keep the boring part, or at least the part that requires attention and time for when you will have more time and more interest.
5. Have fun
Having fun is the most important thing, not only when learning French but also in everyday life. Be entertained by what you are doing. It is common knowledge that we learn better when we are playing. So please, try to find ways to play in French. For instance, if you are fed up with this conjugation that seems impossible to remember, turn it into a game and give yourself a treat if you finally can memorise it correctly.
6. Take classes
Studying a language alone is feasible but sooner or later, you will have questions, you will need a framework and you will need to talk about what you are going through. Taking classes will help you stay on the right track and you will feel relieved to have a teacher be there for you, who will help you reach your goal.
Your success is your teacher’s success, so you both will have the exact same objective : You succeeding.
7. Listen to songs
Music is a good way to learn! If you enjoy listening to music, you can learn the songs, translate it, sing it : Three competencies (listening, reading, speaking) with just one song, how efficient is that 🙂 Old songs or trendy songs, there is a song for every taste! Find here a list of French songs that are telling stories, that might be a good start as there are quite easy to understand.
Traveling is for sure a very good way to improve your skills in French. Being immersed in a country with natives definitely will enhance your motivation, your competences and your knowledge on the culture and the local habits. You will also be able to hear the “real” language like how fast people are talking, which expressions or which slang words are used. Traveling is a chance, so make the most out of it!
9. Find a penpal
Corresponding with a penpal will without any doubt will improve your proficiency in writing. Thanks to this, you will be able to communicate with a native person and to express yourself about subjects you appreciate writing about like your daily life, your passions, your family, your travel,… If you want to find a penpal, you can use the app HelloTalk or use the website PenpalWorld.
10. Work in a nice environment
Find a nice place at home to study, buy notebooks that you will enjoy writing in, buy pens that are fancy, arrange your desk so that you want to sit there and study. Organize a daily ritual : Make yourself a nice cup of coffee or cup of tea, sit on a comfortable chair, choose the right lighting and start studying peacefully. Enjoy!
11. Read in French
Books, magazines, articles or websites : everything you can read in French can only enrich your vocabulary and your grammar. And how proud would you feel to be able to read an article in the target language?
12. Take any opportunity to practice
Practice, practice, practice : The more you practice, the faster you will learn for sure, and the closer you will get to your goal. Practice everywhere and all the time. Take every single opportunity to practice and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to be too long to answer or to misunderstand your interlocutor. Go for it, make mistakes, it is fine!
13. Focus on your objective
As indicated in the beginning of this article, don’t forget your objective. Motivation will come and go but not your objective. Keep in mind where you want to go, visualize it, do everything you can to reach it and get there. You are on your way, be strong and don’t give up!
14. Show off your progress
You realized you made progress? Good for you 🙂 Share it with your partner, with your friends, with your family, share how far you have come and share your objective as well. First of all, talking about it will make it real, so don’t be scared and talk about it! Appreciate your journey and show off your progress! Trust me, your beloved ones will be very proud of what you have accomplished!
I really hope this article helped you focus on your goal and gave you valuable advices to finally get there and speak French! Don’t hesitate to share this article on social networks and spread the motivation !