How Hard is it to Learn French?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Learning any foreign language can be difficult, but having the proper mindset, information, and tools makes the task much easier. Read on for advice, tips, and strategies for learning French.

How to Make French Learning Easier

The French language reads, sounds and is used differently than the English language but, if you understand how they compare, approach French as an addition to your day-to-day life (rather than just an academic subject), and have effective study and language-learning habits, it need not be a difficult process.

French vs. English: Considerations for French Language Learners

While French and English pronunciations are quite different, if you're thinking about learning French, breathe easier by considering these points:

  • There are no new letters to learn (both languages share the same alphabet).
  • Given that nearly half of the words English-speakers use most often derive from French or its parent language, Latin, French vocabulary won't be completely foreign to you.
  • French pronunciation may seem confusing at first but, compared to English, it's actually easier to learn. While, in English, different syllables are stressed in different words, in French, the stress is always on the last syllable.

Tips On Mastering the French Language

Now that you see that the French language really isn't that daunting, you can get on your way to learning it. The key is using the proper tools and strategies. Yes, learning French requires traditional study techniques but, to truly master it, you also need to incorporate the language into your life on a day-to-day basis.

Study Tips and Resources for Learning French

  • Even if you don't have assigned work or lessons, spend time studying every day. Just fifteen minutes to a half an hour daily will help you digest and remember everything you are learning. This study time may include practicing verb conjugation or working on increasing your French vocabulary. Flashcards are a quick and easy daily study aid. You can find ready-made French Flashcards with this Study.com resource.
  • Brush up on your English grammar so you are familiar with terminology you encounter when studying French grammar. You may want to make sure you have a dictionary and/or grammar book available to help.
  • You may, throughout the learning process, pronounce words improperly and make other errors. You will need to keep your pride in check and embrace making mistakes on your way to mastering French.
  • Speak French with other language learners as much as possible. This practice will help you refine your usage and skills.
  • There are many convenient study resources available online, including mobile apps and language exchange programs that pair you with native French speakers who are learning English. Online courses, meanwhile, are excellent resources to help you study vocabulary and master concepts such as sentence structure and conjugation. See, for example, Study.com's self-paced online Basic French Help and Review course.

Learn French By Living It

As you study French, you should try to incorporate the language into your daily routines whenever possible. For example:

  • Listen to music that has French lyrics.
  • Watch French television and movies.
  • Read books in French. If you are just starting to learn French, try children's books to start, then progress to intermediate, and adult-level books as your language skills improve.

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