Hi guys, welcome to my blog about learning French. In this post I wanted to give you detailed information about how I succeeded in learning to speak French fluently, including the methods and techniques that I found to be most effective for helping me learn.
Using the techniques I will talk about, it took me a mere 3 months before I was able to confidently have basic conversations in French, and 8 months until I considered myself a fluent speaker.
When I first decided that I wanted to learn to speak French fluently, I went out and investigated all the different private lessons available in my area, all the online courses, and all the learning books and DVD’s. The difference in costs and accessibility is quite large – private courses tend to be held at very fixed times which were not suitable for me, and the cost is huge. A comprehensive course lasting months can cost thousands of dollars. I decided that this wasn’t for me, as I wanted a French learning program that I could do in my own time at my own pace, and at a price I could afford.
I purchased three different online study courses and audio books, and eventually settled on the rocket French online course because I was impressed with the course materials and design (and the price!) and found it easy to follow. Whilst studying the course, I noticed the following techniques had the most beneficial effects in helping me learn to speak French fluently:
If you want to achieve fluency in French, or any language in fact, it is universally accepted that you have to completely immerse yourself in it. Obviously the easiest way to do this would be to live in France, however for me that was not an option. But I still managed to use French immersion whilst staying in my hometown. I did this by utilising the various audio lessons, and listened to them constantly on my iPod. On the train, on the bus, whilst shopping – in fact anytime I could I would have my headphones in, and be feeding my brain French language practice. It is surprising how quickly these lessons sink in when you are listening to them frequently, and before long they really became engrained in my memory.
Another great way to immerse yourself in the language is to practice, practice, and practice some more. The best way to practice is with another French speaker, however I don’t know any in my area. A great feature of the rocket online course is their online community. You can connect with other learners following the program, as well as online tutors. Not only was I able to ask questions and seek help, but I managed to find a couple of language practice partners, and we would email each other in French and practice via skype. I really think that this was one of the most effective methods I used, the improvement in my French speaking was noticeable after just a few days of doing this. In my opinion, finding French practice partners is one of the most important things you can do, and provides invaluable writing and speaking experience.
Think in French
They say a true marker of fluency in another language is when you think in it. Throughout my day I would try to think In French – what I mean by that is as I was going about my business, I would consciously try to translate any thoughts I had into French. It may sound odd, but it really gets your brain working, and highlights any deficiencies you have, which you can brush up on when you get home.
Constantly Test Yourself
I would regularly take the online quizzes and tests provided in the course I took. This not only highlighted any areas that needed further work, but also really boosted my confidence when I looked at the progress tracker and saw how much I was improving. I often had times when I started to feel lazy or demotivated, but I found this provided a real boost, so would definitely recommend doing something like this to others.
Use French TV, Movies, Books, Newspapers, and Music
The internet is a wonderful thing, and you can get free access to French music, TV, and movies online. You can also pick up French language books and newspapers relatively easy. This is another major point that really helped me improve and gain true fluency. By using these different types of media, I dramatically improved my French pronunciation and comprehension. It also helps to show “real words” that French people are learning, as often text books teach a very sanitised version of a language that doesn’t truly reflect how French people really speak.
My final point is to work hard! Learning to speak French fluently is a challenge and not easy. When you purchase a course, all it will give you is the materials you need. It is up to you to actually utilise these tools and make them work for you. If you don’t put in the hours and the effort, then you will never attain fluency in French! I put in a lot of time, and although it was hard work, I did enjoy it, and I find it a real thrill to be able to speak another language. The more you put in, the more you will get out! Click here to get more details about the course I followed
I hope you found these points helpful, if you have any of your own tips, why not leave a comment? I would be really interest to hear what kind of things have worked for other people. Until next time.. happy learning!