With an estimated 100 million native speakers and close to 300 million secondary speakers, French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world today. It is also one of the most popular second languages for students to pick up and experts suggest the total number of French speakers could soon reach 500 million.
Learning French can boost your employment prospects, enhance your travel plans and help to broaden your horizons and Lingoda students have gone on to achieve great things. Here, we take a look at seven ways in which you can quickly and effortlessly improve your French, so that you take steps towards becoming truly fluent in the language.
1. Listen to French Radio Stations
One of the most effective ways to improve your understanding of the French language and gain a greater appreciation of French culture is to listen to radio stations which broadcast in the language. Fortunately, in the age of the internet, this is now easier than ever before, as you can listen to most major radio stations online.
Whether you listen to French news or political broadcasts, tune in to sports commentary, or even listen to French music, you will become increasingly familiar with words, phrases and dialects used by genuine native speakers. Below, we have provided links to some of the country’s most popular radio stations:
- France Inter – Generalist radio station, featuring music, news bulletins and entertaining chat segments.
- Le Mouv’ – Pop music station, featuring new music and aimed primarily at the younger generation.
- Europe 1 – Private radio station, which features news bulletins, book reviews, political interviews and music.
2. Read French Websites and Newspapers
Although hearing the language is important, it is also useful to regularly read the French language, in order to aid your written comprehension. A simple way to do this is by regularly reading French websites and newspapers. Five of the most notable French papers and their websites are listed below:
- L’Express – The most widely-circulated newspaper in France, with a right-wing political alignment.
- Le Monde – National newspaper and the most popular left-wing paper in France.
- La Tribune Internationale – A centrist newspaper with a slightly smaller circulation.
- L’Équipe – Daily newspaper dedicated entirely to sport, with a strong focus on football, cycling and rugby.
- Charlie Hebdo – Controversial left-wing satirical news magazine, released weekly.
3. Follow French Pages and Accounts on Social Media
Social media has made it easier than ever to interact with people from all around the world, so you can improve your French by making sure you keep track of some French-speaking accounts on these sites. Try to ‘like’ French pages that catch your interest on Facebook, or ‘follow’ French-speaking celebrities and sources on Twitter.
To help you out, we suggest ‘following’ a popular French musician like David Guetta on Twitter and ‘liking’ a popular French sports team like Paris Saint-Germain on Facebook. It is also worthwhile to look for the social networking accounts of some of the country’s major newspapers or television channels.
4. Change the Language On Your Device to French
Over the course of an average day, you are likely to use a number of different devices, with examples including mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers, tablets and eBook readers. A simple trick to force yourself to use French more is to change the language setting on one or more of these.
By changing the language to French, your menus, instructions and on-screen prompts will also be changed to French. As you are already familiar with how your devices work, this should be a fairly easy transition to get used to, and you should be able to work out any phrases you don’t understand, based on what you would usually see in its place.
5. Subscribe to French Podcasts
Similar to listening to the radio, subscribing to French podcasts is an excellent way to reinforce your language skills, helping you to become accustomed to everyday vocabulary. Advantages of podcasts include the ability to find subjects you are interested in and the potential to listen to them whenever you want, even when out and about.
Although there are a huge range of French podcasts to choose from, some of the best known shows are:
- Le Masque et la Plume – A one hour Radio France show, where critics review films, plays and books.
- La Marche de l’Histoire – History podcast, which deals with a different topic in each episode.
- 56Kast – Weekly podcast, covering the very latest news in the digital world.
6. Watch French Films
Another option is to watch films in the French language. Indeed, some of the most popular films of the last 20 years have been filmed in French and these can be watched with or without English subtitles, depending on your current ability level. Some examples of French films include ‘Amélie’ and ‘Blue Is the Warmest Colour’.
Of course, you do not have to rely solely on films originally made in French. Many of your favourite DVDs and streaming services will give you the ability to change the language to French, which will result in the French language being dubbed over the top of films you are already familiar with.
7. Book a ‘Pro’ or ‘Premium’ Package With Lingoda
Finally, one of the single biggest steps you can take to improve your understanding of the French language is to sign up to Lingoda’s online language school and book a ‘pro’ or ‘premium’ package. These packages are comprehensive and affordable, and all classes are taught by fully qualified native speakers.
Our most popular package, the ‘Pro’ package, consists of 15 group classes and two private classes, allowing you one-to-one tuition and the chance to interact with other students. The package also includes the ability to create your own personal learning plan and students can earn officially recognised CEFR certificates along the way.
Meanwhile, our ‘Premium’ package is the most complete package of all, offering 30 group classes and three private classes, as well as all of the other perks in the ‘Pro’ package. This package also represents the best value on a ‘per class’ basis, with students receiving a 16 percent discount. Learn more by clicking here.