Before you dive into our free online French course, let’s take a moment to talk about French fluency. Lots of people begin their language studies with an aim to become fluent in French. While that’s a great goal, it can be somewhat misguided- not because French is hard, but because fluency is a myth.
Let me explain. Many people would argue that how to become fluent in French[best way to speak French] is a function of immersion, with an aim of speaking like a native, but let’s unpack that for a moment.
Let’s think of a 3-year old girl, and for the sake of argument, let’s call her Grace. She was born in the Ivory Coast, and is growing up speaking French. No one would argue that she is not a native speaker.
But is Grace fluent in French? Hardly. She doesn’t really know the alphabet all that well, her vocabulary is comprised of only a few hundred words, she makes grammar mistakes all the time, and she cannot read or write. So in this scenario, Grace is learning French through immersion, and she’s a native speaker, but she’s not fluent.
Let’s use another example: Louis is a 30-year old who grew up in New Orleans. His mother and father are from France, but Louis has never been outside the United States. Also, from the age of 3 onwards, Louis attended a fancy private school, where the major language was English. His command of the French language is strong, but he doesn’t feel like a native speaker. He knows all the words and phrases his parents know, he never makes any grammatical mistakes, but he has a slight accent, and he stammers when he speaks French. In his heart, Louis is always wondering how to become fluent in French.
The truth is that there is no set definition fluency in French or any other language. How to become fluent in French is a rhetorical question like, “How do I become a better person?” There is always room for improvement, and your final goal will depend greatly on your reasons for learning French.
For example, do you want to become fluent in French so you can speak freely with others? Are you a translator who needs to become fluent in French so you can work with written documents?
Your personal goals and circumstances will dictate your personal definition of French fluency.
This is important to keep in mind so that you can maintain your motivation. For example, if you struggle to spell French words properly [how to learn French grammar], but your real goal is to speak to everyday people, then what’s the fuss? At the same time, if you cannot perfect your French accent, but your aim is to work with written documents, then so what?
So, before you begin OptiLingos’s free online French course, ask yourself what you are looking to accomplish and how you would define French fluency – if that’s even a goal at all- and chose the right set of French lessons accordingly.
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