How to Learn French

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Want to answer with a confident 'oui' when asked 'parlez-vous francais?' If so, there are many French learning options available to you. Read on to learn about how and where to master this language.

Resources for Learning French

Most schools and universities, of course, have French classes for their students. If you are not a student, or are a student enrolled at a school that does not offer French, you'll find a myriad of resources from which to choose if you want to learn the language of love:

Continuing Education

Many colleges and universities offer foreign language continuing education courses, and most include French. Depending on the school, these may range from full-semester beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-level French courses to classes that last only a few weeks for travelers who just want to learn the basics to prepare for a trip to France.

Online Courses

You will find an abundance of online French courses, classes, and resources. If you want to review a certain lecture or need help translating French to English, you may want to check out websites that offer these options for free. Full-length courses, meanwhile, offer you the chance to learn the language from the convenience of your computer.'s Basic French course, for example, has 8 chapters, each featuring multiple lessons and self-assessment quizzes, to help you master the French language. Topics include: vocabulary, sentence structure, expressions, pronunciation, and verb conjugation.

Study Abroad

You may think that study abroad is only an option for students enrolled in high schools and colleges with exchange arrangements, but there are actually programs available for both adults and students at schools that don't have formal study-abroad options. These programs, designed to help you learn French in France, may range from two weeks to six months in length. Learn more about the benefits of studying abroad to learn French in our What is Study Abroad? lesson.

Strategies For Learning French

If you want to learn French, you'll need to be focused and persistent, study effectively, and practice daily. Whatever your environment, these learning strategies will help you master the language:

  • Use more than just a textbook or official teaching tools. If you truly want to become fluent in French, you should immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. This means listening to French music, watching French films and reading French books (if you are a beginner, try children's books written in French) as often as possible.
  • Speak the language. In order to read, write and listen to French, you'll first need to wrap your tongue around it. Speak French as much as possible, either with classmates or, if possible, converse with native speakers. To master the language, you'll need to put aside your pride and expect to make mistakes as your learn.
  • Learn the vocabulary and grammatical rules. While memorizing vocabulary and grammar is only one part of learning French, it is an important one. You will have to master not only the meaning of words, but also learn how to put them together into proper sentences. Flashcards are a great tool to help you memorize but, whatever method you use, be sure to set aside time every day for this type of study. Not great at studying? Check out this short lesson on How to Improve Your Study Skills.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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