Even if you’re short on time, you can still practice your French every day. French tutor Carol Beth L. shares her favorite study tips for busy French students…
French is a beautiful language, and exciting to learn. For many students, however, life is busy! It is difficult to set aside enough time to learn French properly and to practice what you have learned. There is not just one best way to learn French, however. Here are a few tips to study French in those in-between minutes on the go!
In the car
Keep some French music in your car. Whenever you drive somewhere, turn it on. For lower and mid-level students, this could be an audio course like those from Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, or Berlitz. It could also be music with songs that include comprehensible lyrics in French. For mid to upper level students, look for short stories, literature, or news. One resource to investigate is thinkLANGUAGE, which offers subscriptions to monthly French audio on various topics read aloud by native French-speakers. For lower to mid-level students especially, keep an eye out for those CDs that have a transcript and possibly a translation.
On the bus
Download the audio from your French CDs onto your iPad or another device you carry around with you regularly. This is especially important if you don’t drive much and favor walking, biking, public transit, or carpools where you won’t necessarily be in control of the radio and CD settings. Keep earphones with you as well, so you can listen without disturbing those around you. Make it a habit to turn on your French audio while you are sitting on the bus or walking around town. If you have the transcripts with you and are in a place where you can read as you listen, follow along as the audio plays.
While you wait
Maintain a set of flashcards with your most recent French vocabulary, and keep it in your bag, purse, or pocket. When you have a moment – you’re waiting for the bus or a friend, a break between classes, and so on – pop them out and begin quizzing yourself. Even if you don’t know them at first, looking at the words and the corresponding pictures or translations will help you start making connections. When assimilating a new language, new words may take up to ten exposures or more before you actually remember them, so providing yourself with exposures is definitely a good use of a spare minute or two.
While you shop
Incorporate the French you are learning into your everyday notes. Did you recently learn how to say the date? Write it out longhand in French on the top of every set of notes for a meeting or class, on every list of groceries, or at the start of your journal or diary entries. Are you learning about food? Write out your next grocery list in French.
Out with friends
Tell your friends about what you are learning in French – at least the ones who’ll listen without being bored to death! Perhaps even teach them a phrase or two. Use the phrases you teach them. Let people know you’re learning French. You may find you know someone who you never knew spoke French – and they may throw in a French word or phrase here and there to help you.
Test out these tips and see how well they work for you. Continue to use the ones that help you the most. Have you figured out the best way to learn French? Do you have other tricks for learning French on the go? Let us know in the comments!
Studying with a private tutor is a wonderful way to master a new language in your free time, at your own pace. French tutors are available to work with you online via Skype or in-person depending on locations and availability. Search for your French tutor now!
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!
Photo by Jeremy Brooks