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How to Learn French

Introduction

French is probably the most harmonious and melodic language on Earth. Although it's no longer so popular as it used to be, it's still the language of love and arts with millions of devoted fans across the globe. If you want to speak French, this article would walk you through the most important things about learning a new language.

Do's

  • It's important to have regular exercises, the more the better. Ideally, you want to learn French at least 5 days a week.
  • The very basics of French language are learnt in first 1-2 months. That's the time when you learn how to read and the basics of grammar. It's a good idea to split your lessons in two short halves (about 20-40 minutes each). After that, you should devote 1,5-2 hours to each new lesson, but it doesn't mean you are supposed to pore over books. Listen to French speech, watch movies, and listen to French songs to improve your comprehension skill.
  • The first thing you must dwell upon is learning how to read. French words are hard to write and pronounce, so you want to read as much as possible without thinking of the translation. The rules of reading and pronunciation are pretty unusual, but they are also very logical. You'll get used to them in no time if devote enough time to reading.
  • Phonetic peculiarities of French language will be easier to understand if you combine learning of phonetic rules with listening, speaking, learning new words, and doing grammar exercises.
  • When you learn French words, remember that the concepts of time and space differ from culture to culture. Thus, you should memorize the phrases instead of words and learn various word combinations with the same verbs, nouns and adjectives to get a better idea of how these words "act" in the given language. Memorize prepositions and conjunctions when you learn French verbs.
  • French grammar is much more difficult than English grammar, especially when it comes to conjugations. That's probably the most challenging part of learning this language. However, the devil is not so black as he is painted. All you need is a lot of practice. Keep cramming these rules until you do it as natural as breathing, and don't forget to combine your grammar lessons with parallel reading and listening.
  • After a little while, you'll notice that you can read and comprehend simple texts, but the real comprehension is impossible without some speech practice. You can start with listening to some simple dialogs or monologs of your teacher, and then start speaking. It's a good idea to register on a website like Busuu to practice your written skills, and then find someone to talk to.
  • As you progress, make sure you learn as many new words as possible. Basically, you don't need perfect grammar skills to express your thoughts in French, but the lack of vocabulary would be a problem.

Don'ts

  • Don't try to translate French sentences word-by-word using the method of tracing. You shouldn't search for the direct parallels between English and French because, although belong to the same group of languages, they are really different.
  • Don't be afraid of speaking and making mistakes. Trial and error is the only way you can actually start speaking.
  • Don't learn everything from books. You need a teacher to explain you what stands for what, and also a lot of reading, speaking, and listening to succeed.

Video

Conclusion

Learning French takes a lot of time and requires a healthy amount of enthusiasm. The last advice is: neither books nor the best teachers can do a better job than visiting a French-speaking country! Go there if you have a chance, and this trip would be the best French lesson ever.

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