There are different ways of learning French. The most obvious one is to enroll in a language school, or even a French immersion course in France or in a French-speaking country. But how to learn French by yourself? Here are some tips for learning French without going through a language school.
1. Have Good Motivation
It seems obvious, but having good reasons to learn French will keep you motivated over time. Wanting to communicate with French speakers, in a professional or informal environment, for friendly or even romantic relationships are some of the best reasons for learning French. In any case, to successfully learn French by yourself, you need to clearly define your goal and motivation. This will help your discipline and commitment to French learning.
Observe your successes and your progress. With each step taken, with each goal achieved, congratulate yourself! Celebrate it! Listen to the people who tell you that you are improving. Maybe you don’t realize it, but you are making progress! Take pride in your progress from time to time.
Don’t underestimate yourself! Instead of thinking “I don’t know”, “I am bad at writing”, say rather “I cannot yet, but I will be able in x time!”. You set your own goals!
If you feel like you’re stagnating, adapt your learning program but don’t be discouraged! Each learning journey has its ups and downs. It’s normal! Your hard work, consistency and motivation will pay off!
2. Immerse Yourself In The Language!
If you decide to learn French by yourself, make French invade your daily life! Try to practice the language on a daily basis. As you learn French, try thinking in French, talking to yourself in French, writing an email, listening to the radio or watching a documentary in French. It is very important to surround yourself with French culture, and to listen to French media or movies to have fun studying.
3. Self-Learning: Vary the Supports!
How to learn French by yourself, if not with the help of textbooks and other study materials? Fortunately, you can find many tools for learning French at home.
There is of course a multitude of general French textbooks, which will provide you with linguistic knowledge (grammar, vocabulary) but also oral and written communication skills, phonetic exercises and knowledge of French culture. To learn French by yourself, you can also use textbooks specializing in grammar, vocabulary, oral communication, oral comprehension etc. Some textbooks specialize in learning specific French vocabulary such as French for business, medicine, law, etc.
Internet and the media
You can also find many sites for learning French online which offer interactive activities and various exercises. For example, some sites offer interesting language exercises using authentic media (videos, podcasts). You will also find on YouTube many educational videos produced by teachers, students or simply Francophiles who will give you advice. To learn French by yourself, we advise you to watch French channels (with or without subtitles depending on your level) or to listen to french radio stations and podcasts. Even if you don’t understand everything, just listen to the language! The more you hear the language, the more you become familiar with the phonetics and the easier it becomes to express yourself. It is very useful for soaking up the French pronunciation.
Mobile phone applications
Likewise, there are many applications you can use to learn French by yourself, whenever you want, in your spare time.
French learning magazines and books
There are also magazines specializing in learning French, paper or digital version, to which you can subscribe to practice reading comprehension and enrich your vocabulary. Some popular French learning magazines are “Ecoute” (targeting a German-speaking audience) and “Parlez-vous français?” (an online magazine for French learning). These magazines will also help you discover the French culture through very interesting articles about French food, customs and traditions.
Some French publishing houses offer classical French novels rewritten for beginner or intermediate French students. You will be able to discover the classic French authors or and enjoy the pleasure of reading stories in French, while improving your reading skills.
4. Ask A Professional Teacher For Help
You can surely learn French by yourself, but if you have an important study goal or a deadline to meet (for example, an upcoming exam date), it may be necessary to call on a French teacher, for individual or group lessons. It is an investment that will save you time and give you better chances to achieve your goals.
A French teacher is a “progress accelerator” and a guide. By following all the above-mentioned advice, you can learn French, but the progress is often slow. Moreover, students’ experience shows that these self-learning tips become more difficult to follow in a long team, because you are all alone learning and facing different challenges. Unfortunately, many students start to learn French by themselves, but tend to get less engaged and even completely stop after only 2-3 months of self-studies. This is because the more you advance in your studies, the more difficult the lessons become and the challenge gets bigger.
If you take lessons with a French teacher, you will always receive answers to your questions and advice on your progress. Your teacher will know what resources and learning materials are most adapted to your needs. They will guide you and encourage you along the way. They will be your trusted partner who will support you to achieve your goals in French.
In this article we give you many useful tips on how to learn French by yourself but to achieve your goals faster with it will always be more efficient to learn French with the help of an experienced French teacher.
5. Find A Partner
Being able to communicate with someone is the first and main goal of any language learning. Our final advice is to look for a language partner with whom you can discuss in French: it could be another student like you, or a French speaker from your entourage with whom you could practice French conversation and language exchange. You can also find a language partner in a French-speaking country with the help of social networks and language forums.
There are also many associations in different countries which offer language exchanges. Some universities offer language exchange programs with French students in your city. With the help of these programs, you can practice French and help foreign students to practice your native language in exchange.
6. (Bonus tip) Leave Your Comfort Zone and Have Fun!
Learning French by yourself requires strong motivation and discipline. In order not to get discouraged, it is important that you enjoy your learning time. So have fun! Sing, write, watch movies, discover French artists, and learn some jokes in French! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, speaking a new language is intimidating at first, but learning and interacting with other students, is the only way to progress!
So, to sum it up simply: learning French by yourself will greatly depend on your motivation, persistence and daily work. The best way to keep up is to vary the activities and learning methods. Instead of learning alone, staring at books and mobile apps, why don’t you book a trial class with one of our experienced French teachers? Our professional teachers are ready to guide you and give you an adapted learning program and action plan to have a good start with the language of Molière.