how to learn French efficiently

How to Learn French Efficiently

We often say that the older a person gets, the harder it becomes to learn a new language. That is a factor that contributes to delaying the learning process for most adults who want to learn French. In this article, we will be showing you how to learn French in a way that makes it easy and enjoyable. Some of the techniques you can use include mastering your study style, linking study material to images and staying clear of free language learning tools. These techniques will help you learn at your pace. Learning French for beginners has never been this easy. Read on to learn more helpful studying techniques and how to employ them.

Master your study style

What works for you? Do you learn better when you listen? Do you prefer studying with written content? Or do you need a combination of both to learn a language quickly? These are the questions you need to answer before signing up for a course or subscribing to a particular learning technique.

The answers to these questions will let you identify what your study style is and find what works best for you. They will also enable you to identify courses and course curriculums that fit your styles of study. Whatever method you choose, be sure to adapt to it.

However, if you want to learn French to communicate, you must adapt to learning with audio. Written French and the spoken language are very different due to accents. There are many silent letters that you may not be able to master if you only rely on traditional learning methods.

Learning French for beginners is especially difficult if they do not incorporate audio lessons. That puts them at a disadvantage when they test their French skills in the real world. You require training to understand and communicate in modern French rather than limiting yourself to the primary curriculum taught in school.

That said, as much as you want to stay true to that style of study that works best for you, you should also remember this. To be well rounded in the language, you have to incorporate and adapt to audio lessons to get the best out of your classes. Self-study is not for everybody. Consider getting a French teacher online to help you study.

Stay clear of free language learning tools

Ever heard the expression, “there is no free lunch?” If that is the case, should there be free French learning tools? We understand that free offerings may be very tempting, and you may want to benefit from the freebies. In fact, many French learning websites have free offerings, from lessons to tips and videos. Sounds enticing, does it not?

As much as we like “free”, “free” isn’t always good. In fact, “free” can be terribly harmful. If the material these websites offer is no good, it would cost you your time and effort. And time, they say, is money. You can learn French online from accredited and credible websites that offer paid lessons.

It would be best if you also stayed clear of learning on social networks such as Facebook chat groups. It can be easy to get sucked into one funny video, then a meme and then an engaging conversation without actually learning a thing. Worst case scenario, you may be learning the absolutely wrong thing, and you may not even be knowledgeable enough to know the difference.

While there may be some good free material available out there, if you want to take the process seriously, then you need some structure. The structure usually comes with classroom styled lessons online and instructor-led classes. We suggest that you invest your resources in a structured program that will take you through a step by step process of learning the French language.

When choosing a program to subscribe to, select a method that has a solid grammatical foundation. They should also include audio lessons that help you learn French grammar and understand traditional and modern French. It is hard to master the French language without getting the grammar; therefore, that should be an essential part of the lessons.

Link study material to images

Creating mind maps has been scientifically proven to improve memory which is one of the challenges we face as we age. It becomes harder to learn because it becomes harder to remember. Linking your study to images and visual situations will help you learn faster because you will be able to remember better. As much as you can, do not link French to English words.

A perfect example of this is the French expression “j’ai faim”. You can link this expression to the feeling of being hungry and needing to eat. Relating this to English would be a mistake on your part. The reason is that French does not use the “I am”; instead, they use “I have” as in “j’ai faim”, which directly translated would mean “I have hungry”.

For those using flashcards, we encourage that you create visual representations of the expression rather than include the English translation. Consider a visual representation of “l’eau” rather than writing the English word “water’ on your flashcard. You can attempt to draw a glass of water, the sea, a stream or anything that reminds you of water without writing the word. That is a more practical way to comprehend French.

The idea is to link French to notions, images and visual situations, not to logic or grammar and especially not to English words. So that way, you can better retain the information you are gathering. Sometimes by trying to reason things out, you overcomplicate them, as is the case with French numbering.

Be weary of French cognates

Cognates are words that are the same between the two languages – English and French. An example of common cognates is “direct”, “correct”, and “exact”. These can be especially tricky when learning French for beginners. You may think, “I know this word that should make it easy”. But that isn’t always the case. In fact, it usually isn’t. Usually, cognates are not pronounced the same in both languages.

Misunderstanding cognates will make pronouncing it correctly in French difficult because you have programmed your brain to lean towards English pronunciation. A typical example of such an instance is the French word “chocolat”. The “ch” in French is soft as in the word “shed”, and we do not pronounce the “t”. That makes the proper French pronunciation of the word “shocola” as opposed to the English cognate “cho·kluht”.

Another common misconception with cognates is that they mean the same in both languages. That is not typically true. There is such a thing as false cognates. These are words that exist in both languages but do not have the same meaning. A perfect example is the word “chair”, which means “a separate seat usually with a back and four legs” in US English but means “flesh” in French – no relationship whatsoever.

It is for this reason that you should avoid translating to English as much as you can. It is common for beginners to translate to English at the beginning of their lessons, but as you advance in your studies, we advise limiting these translations. Translating makes the process of learning that much more tedious. It also tempts you into accepting literal translations.

It is always essential to pay close attention to cognates. Please do not assume that you have mastered them until you truly have. And while you are at it, limit translating to English as much as you possibly can.

Conclusion

Learning a new language at any age doesn’t have to be a hassle. Keep the points discussed in this post in your mind. You have to master the style of learning that works best for you. You cannot thoroughly learn French without incorporating audio lessons in the study curriculum. As much as free lessons may be enticing, stay clear of the ones that are a total waste of time.

While you study, it is more helpful to link your study materials to images and visual situations than to English translations. Lastly, be careful with words that appear the same in both languages. We hope you found this post helpful. Learn French online by booking lessons with us.