Tips for Learning French

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
While learning French may seem like an intimidating challenge, using proper strategies and tools can make the task not only easier, but also more enjoyable. Read on for tips and insights to help you master the French language.

Learning French: Tips and Strategies

Whether you are learning French for personal development, as a school requirement, or in preparation for a journey to a French-speaking country, the first thing you'll want to do is make sure you have the right mindset. Instead of approaching the French language only as an academic subject to be studied, think of it as something to incorporate into your daily life. You should also utilize a variety of both age-old and new technological learning tools to help you master the language's vocabulary, grammar, and usage. Finally, because learning a new language is a cumulative process, cramming is a recipe for failure; instead, dedicate time every day to your French studies.

Use French Language Learning and Study Tools

A variety of learning and study tools, both traditional and modern, are helpful for learning French. Some options include:

  • Apps for your phone or tablet and other technological tools are widely available. Free online translation tools, for example, help you figure out words or phrases with which you are having difficulty. (Tip: For insight into the technology utilized by French language teachers, check out this short lesson on Technology in the Foreign Language Classroom.)
  • Memorizing vocabulary isn't one of the most exciting aspects of learning French, but it is an important one. Make the process easier by using flashcards. For help, check out these ready-to-use French flashcards.
  • Online help and review classes are available for both self-learners and those learning French in school.'s Basic French course features several chapters that review everything from vocabulary and sentence structure to French expressions. The online format of this course means that you can access it whenever you have time, from any computer or tablet.

Incorporate French Into Your Daily Life

To learn French, immersing yourself in the language on a day-to-day basis is just as critical as studying the vocabulary and structure of the language. Some of the top tips to incorporate the language-learning process into your daily life include:

  • Swap out your usual music mix or Pandora station for one that features tunes with French lyrics.
  • Watch French movies and television programs. You may watch them with subtitles or, for an extra challenge and as your studies advance, without.
  • Read French literature. Many French language learners recommend French children's books as a great starting point.
  • Speak French as much as possible. While conversing with native speakers is ideal, practicing with other French language learners is also a great way to grow increasingly comfortable speaking French. Either way, the key is to let go of anxiety and be willing to make mistakes; those errors will be an excellent learning tool.
  • Change the primary language setting on your phone or computer's browser. Because you are already familiar with the interface on these devices, you will increase your knowledge of French vocabulary and terminology as it is used in real life.
  • Practice writing in French. Whether you start a French journal or write out practice sentences and phrases, the practical experience will challenge you to improve your mastery of the language.

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