10 Ways to Learn French Efficiently
So you want to learn French, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe it’s your first time learning a new language. Or maybe you’ve tried before, but it ended badly. Either way, you need the best way to learn French to reach fluency as fast as possible. Luckily, anyone can learn a language.
Don’t doubt yourself. You’ve already learned a language before: you’re native tongue. And it’s not hard to do it again. We put together some important steps a lot of language learning guides forget about. With these, you can surely conquer learning French efficiently. Enjoy your newfound fluency, and don’t forget to thank us in your acceptance speech! Here are the top 10 ways to make your experience learning French smooth, streamlined, and efficient.
1. Find Your Learning Style
Not everybody learns the same way. Some prefer reading textbooks, others like watching instructional videos better. If you’re not sure what learning style you prefer, you can try this questionnaire. Once you know, you need to cater for your language learning preference.
For example, if you learn by writing, then make sure that you copy grammar and conjugations by hand to ensure that they stick. Remember to use audio (aural learning) as a secondary tool when studying any language. But, most importantly, you need to speak the language to reach fluency. Always include a way to practice your pronunciation. That’s the best way to learn French easily.
2. Get the Best Language Learning Resources
There are plenty of ways to learn French. But, you need to find the language learning resource that works for you. You know you’ve chosen the right one if you feel like you’re progressing, and you actually learn how to become fluent. Here are a few ways you can learn French, discover which is the best for you:
- Join a class: You can join a college course of a language school locally. But, be prepared that these French courses will cost you a pretty penny. If you enjoy learning with others, this is a great option. But, perhaps not the fastest. Other students can also slow you down.
- Hire a tutor: Private tutors are even more expensive. But, they can give you personalized help, and you can study at your own pace.
- Buy textbooks: If you prefer self-study, it’s completely possible to learn French. In fact, it may actually be better. There are plenty of great French textbooks you can try. They can guide your language learning journey well.
- Download an app: Language learning apps are extremely useful. You can conveniently take them anywhere. And many of them are built on reliable language-learning methods. And, they’re by far cheaper than any of the previous options.
3. Create a French Language Learning Schedule
When you’ve settled on a language learning method, make sure you create a foolproof schedule. This can help you achieve your goals better.
If you’re worried about time, you’ll be glad to hear that you don’t need to carve out a big chunk of your regular schedule to learn a language. If you want to achieve French fluency, practicing for 20 minutes every day is already great. And, you can also combine language learning with other activities. Listen to a French podcast at the gym, sing French songs during cleaning, or catch up with a language learning app on your commute.
4. Learn Common French Phrases
Foreign language fluency isn’t about how many words you know. It’s about knowing the right words. Learn only the most common and high-frequency words in French to reach fluency faster. Don’t waste your time drilling unnecessary vocabulary. So, which are these common French phrases?
Did you know that 80% or our speech comes from 20% of our vocabulary? It’s true, it’s called the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule. So, just focus on that 20% of French vocabulary to reach fluency faster. Luckily, OptiLingo already identified these. Download the app today to access the complete list.
5. Don’t Translate French into English
When learning a new language, it’s always tempting to fall back on what you already know and learn via direct translation, but this is rarely the best approach. When you translate, you add another step to the learning process. Instead of associating a given idea with its word in French, you associate it with a word in English and only then with a word in French.
It’s also worth noting that there are French words that simply don’t have and English translation. While these are definitely fascinating, you couldn’t translate anyway.
6. Draw French Examples From Everyday Life
Imagine you’re working with French flashcards, and you want to learn “the dog is black” in French. Instead of writing “Le chien est noir,” think of a black dog you personally know and write “Le chien de Peter est noir, Fluffy est noir.” (“Peter’s dog is black, Fluffy is black.”)
Because you’ve connected the French words to things in your own life, the phrase will be easier to recall.
7. Imagine Your French Vocabulary
So if you shouldn’t directly translate, what should you do? Try to link your new French vocabulary to images, situations, and feelings — but not to English words.
For example, if you’re learning the phrase “j’ai froid,” recall a time when you were cold and bring up the feeling, instead of linking to the English phrase “I am cold,” which is not a proper direct translation of the French. “J’ai froid” would translate to “I have cold” in English, which doesn’t make much sense, so don’t try to create such a complicated link through translation. Instead, link the French phrase “j’ai froid” to the sensation of being cold.
If you use flashcards to study French, a practice which I highly recommend, try drawing the word or situation whenever possible, instead of writing an English equivalent. Don’t worry about whether your drawing is good — you’ll remember regardless, and this practice will help you learn French more efficiently.
8. Immerse Yourself in French
While traveling to France to learn French is the dream, it’s a luxury for many of us. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways you can bring France into your home:
- Watch French films: French cinema is exquisite. Even modern French films have a great reputation. Watch them to relax, get to know French culture, and listen to the language.
- Sing French songs: Music in France is very popular. Give these best French songs a listen, and perhaps discover your new favorite artist. Besides, singing in French will improve your speaking skills and accent.
- Listen to French podcasts: No matter what kind of podcasts you like to listen to, there’s plenty to choose from that are French. Here’s a list of great podcasts you could try to learn French.
- Watch French YouTubers: YouTube is a great language-learning resource. And it’s free. Watch and subscribe to some great French YouTubers to enhance your French skills.
9. Group Related French Vocabulary
When you have a series of words that are related (for example, a number of color words), write all of the words together on a large flashcard instead of separating them on smaller flashcards. Keep track of all related French vocabulary. You’ll learn more efficiently if you learn vocabulary in groups.
10. Practice French with Spaced Repetition
When it comes to learning any language, French included, review and repetition are essential. Many students seek to learn material as quickly as possible, but forget to review the things they learned at the start of their learning journey. At the end, they have only a spotty understanding of the language as a whole.
That’s because your brain is actively trying to forget. The only way to fight that is with spaced repetition. It’s a scientifically proven method, and the key to language learning. By reviewing and repeating your material periodically, you can commit it to long term memory. Think of it as hacking your brain. The best language learning methods all have built-in spaced repetition. Just like OptiLingo.
Use The Best App to Learn French
These 10 steps are the best way to learn French. If you follow them, you’re guaranteed to reach fluency in record time. Talk to locals confidently, and benefit from being bilingual in countless ways. And, if you’d like to try a language learning app that’s built on all of these useful methods, there’s always OptiLingo.
OptiLingo brings you results. Our goal is to help you speak like a local. Achieve your dreams of foreign language fluency quickly and effortlessly. Because it’s possible. You can learn French with OptiLingo in record time. Download the app today, and start your language learning journey in confidence!