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24 Ways to Improve Your French

Becoming fluent or even conversational in French takes time, dedication and constant practice. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the best way to improve your French is to immerse yourself in the language at every opportunity. Here are 24 things you can do to make progress with your French more quickly!

  1. Listen to French radio such as France Info (105.5 FM) and France Culture (93.5 FM) or RFI . On RFI you can listen to three bulletins a day in simple French called Le journal en français facile, each one of approximately ten minutes’ duration.
  2. Watch your favourite shows and movies but in French! Listening to French will help you acquire better pronunciation and improve your ability to distinguish words, sentences, etc. Switch on French subtitles if you would like to read what the actors are saying. This can help you separate words and understand more, particularly when you first starting out.
  3. Listen to French Music. Listening to French music allows you to hear the natural intonation of the language, which you’ll start to use when speaking in French.
  4. Word-A-Day. Grab a French dictionary and pick one word a day to focus on. Learn how to spell it, say it, and when and how to use it. Try writing some sentences that use the word. And whenever you get the opportunity use it!
  5. Learn the most common verbs first.
  6. Read French Blogs– This is a great way to learn many new words & useful expressions
  7. Find out your learning style  first, so you know what techniques work best for you
  8. Download Anki to your smartphone and create your own flashcards for words you need to remember. It uses spaced repetition to help you remember words faster – Vocabulary Flash Cards are very good for visual learners. Choose 7 new French words per week (1 per day). Write each word on a flash card, with the translation on the other side. Test yourself a couple of times each day!
  9. Change the default language of your email account, Facebook, Twitter & all other social networks and even your computer to French. This will force you to become familiar with common words.
  10. Check out some French books! Choose your favourite books in English and try reading them in French. You’ll be really surprised at how much you understand. Consider reading children books too. They are great if you are a beginner just because the structure of the language remains very simple. If a book is too challenging, you’ll simply end up frustrated and be more likely to give up.
  11. Bilingual books are ideal, as their side-by-side translations make it easy to compare equivalent words and phrases in the two languages.
  12. Read using a Kindle or IPad and install a French – English dictionary. It makes it easy to view translations on the go.
  13. To expand your vocabulary in French and especially at a more intermediate level, find a synonym in French for words you don’t understand. Don’t only translate in your language but try to expand your vocabulary! Always put the new word in a sentence because you need to link words in order to communicate properly.
  14. Practice using a free online French application such as DuoLingo .
  15. Find a French person who wants to practice their English and is willing to do an exchange. You don’t even need to be in France to do this- you can do it via Skype! Talk in French only for around 20 minutes, then switch to English only for another 20 minutes.
  16. Take french lessons with a native speaker. If you’re looking to improve your oral French, pick up the phone or use Skype to get some one-on-one practice.
  17. Join a group class via Google Hangouts
  18. Do something you are passionate about in French. Whatever it is you enjoy doing see if you can do it in France or read about it in French. This will make the task of learning much more interesting to you.
  19. Keep a French journal or diary.  I often ask my students to write a daily journal and record it on MP3. It doesn’t have to be long, or complex and you’ll see your skills improving as you go!
  20. Practice every chance you get! As you practice, you’ll gradually feel more comfortable and confident. It’s all about communication, so if you live in France get out there and speak! Insist on speaking some French with French speakers even if their English is better than your French.
  21. If you live overseas, take a class online or in a school such as the Alliance Française. You could also take a self-study course such as Michel Thomas  to get you started.
  22. Learn the correct pronunciation from the start.
  23. Take a trip to France or another French speaking country. Spend an extended period of time in France 1-3 months and immerse yourself in the language and culture.
  24. Be confident! Don’t worry if you make mistakes, it will actually help you to progress! No one is perfect and it is actually “cute” to have a little accent when speaking French! Imagine, if someone comes to your country and tries to speak your language with a few mistakes and an accent, are you going to judge him/her? I’m sure that you would appreciate the fact that they are trying to speak your language! So Keep practicing, stay motivated and don’t give up!

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