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FAQs: How to Learn French
Frequently Asked Questions About Learning French
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The Benefits of Learning French
There are many benefits of learning a foreign language like French. Those who speak a second language are often more mentally versatile and active. Researchers believe learning another language also helps prevent or delay signs of dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Since French is so widely spoken internationally, learning the language opens up many doors to professional opportunities. Being bilingual is a plus on any resume! There are also dozens of internships and study abroad programs if you’d like to expand your education in France.
Lastly, knowing French gives you access to the large and diverse French-speaking community around the world. From France to Quebec to West Africa and several of the Caribbean islands, if you enjoy traveling and making new friends or connections, learning French will serve you well.
Proven Ways to Practice Your French
Practice your French as often as you can! Setting aside at least 30-60 minutes each day to focus on studying French will help ensure the best results. Foreign language learning is difficult to do through cramming all at once.
It’s much better to learn through constant and frequent repetition, so try to exercise your skills as much as you can during free moments throughout the day. This will reinforce your learning even more.
As we mentioned above, practicing French daily is crucial to your success, but what exactly is the most efficient way to practice French? Here are a few great ideas.
- Have French-only conversations - Ask around to find friends who speak French, or reach out to other students who are learning French. If you can, enlist one or two with whom you’re only allowed to speak French to at regularly scheduled times.
- Dive into the culture - Watch French films or read French books to immerse yourself even more in the language. The French have quite a few good films including Amelie, La Gloire de Mon Pere, La Vie en Rose, Les Cent Pas, Jean de Florette, and many more. Some good reads are the popular children's comics Tintin and Asterix et Obelix.
- Meet French speakers - Find out if there is an Alliance Francaise in your area (an organization that promotes French language and culture, with branches worldwide). If there is a branch near you, go to an event to meet new French speakers. You can also check out Meetup.com for French-related events in your area.
- Travel - Visiting a French-speaking country, or better yet, living in one, is another excellent way to practice your French among native speakers. Although the most obvious French-speaking country is France, there are quite a few other countries that also speak French, including Belgium, Switzerland, and Haiti.
- Go online - If you’re having trouble finding people to practice your French with in person, look online. At TakeLessons, our online group classes are a great way to practice your conversation skills with others. A number of other websites also offer penpal, chat, or video options.
- Keep a journal - Practice your French writing skills in a journal or diary. Every evening, write down everything you can about what happened during your day - in French only. If you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and write, try setting aside just a few minutes and challenge yourself to see how much you can jot down.
- Quiz yourself - When you learn colors, quiz yourself by naming the French colors for everything you see. Do the same when you learn numbers. Keep a set of flashcards with current and past lesson notes (vocabulary, verbs, etc.) in your pocket or purse. Whip them out when you have a minute or two for a quick pop quiz.
Learn more about how to master French here.
The Best Apps for French Lessons Online
Since French is such a common language, there are dozens of apps to help you learn. While these apps are an excellent tool for language practice, we recommend using them in addition to taking French group classes or lessons.
Nothing can substitute for the one-on-one guidance and correction an experienced teacher can provide. With that in mind, here are a few of the most commonly recommended apps for practicing your French skills.
Online French conversation resources
There are many websites that offer opportunities for French language conversations and exchanges. Here are a few of the websites where you can talk to other French speakers.
- Italki allows you to find “language partners” that you can practice your French skills with for free.
- The Conversation Exchange matches you up with native speakers in your area, so you can meet up locally if you want to practice speaking French in person.
- WeSpeke is a social network that allows you to create a profile and then search for French practice partners online.
- Check out Facebook for French-speaking groups near your city or region. For example, Reseau Francais a San Francisco or, Les Francais de San Diego.
Getting Prepared to Learn French
Students who choose to learn French online should be prepared with a notebook and a pencil or pen. If you plan to take private lessons, your teacher may require you to purchase a textbook. You may also need a binder to organize notes, handouts, worksheets, and exercises.
Additional materials needed will depend on your method of learning. You may need a computer or smart phone if you plan to take lessons online, watch French videos, or listen to French radio shows.
French Speaking Countries
There are surprisingly many more countries other than France where French is spoken. These countries include:
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central African Republic