So, you’re thinking about learning French. Though, you’re not really sure what to do about it. Do you need to find a class or study abroad programme? Should you buy a textbook? Can you just use a free app on your phone instead? How will you actually speak the language?
Whether you’ve tried to learn French before or you only know words like “baguette” and “bonjour”, chances are you have a lot of questions. Although there’s no “right way” to start learning French, there are certainly a few things you can do to make your introduction to French learning much easier.
Where should you start when learning French?
No matter how eager you are to start learning, plenty of language learners feel a little overwhelmed about what to do first and what to learn after you’ve learnt to say hello.
However, the best way to figure out your next steps is to determine your own reasons for learning French. Do you want to travel to a French-speaking country? Maybe you’re interested in a future job opportunity or you simply love French culture.
Once you know more about your personal goals, it’s a lot easier to find resources that will help you achieve them.
Tools and resources for beginner French learners
There are lots of resources out there that can help you learn French – it’s a little overwhelming, right? If you’re not sure which one to choose, start with a more structured resource, such as lessons with a French teacher or tutor. The best part is that you don’t have to rely on physical classrooms for this!
Lingoda’s online language courses are a great way to start speaking French in a way that’s more flexible than the traditional classrooms you might be used to.
In addition to online courses, it’s easy to find resources that make learning French fun. For instance, if you’d like to get a feel for the French language with entertaining videos, try searching YouTube. You can find a number of French channels that focus on hobbies (French cooking, perhaps?) or you might try listening to some French music.
The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t expect yourself to understand everything (or even anything) when you first start listening to French. Find videos with subtitles and just let yourself get used to the way spoken French sounds.
How to start sounding French when you speak
Now, the French language certainly has some unique sounds. Even experienced French learners can have trouble dealing with pronunciation.
Luckily, the earlier you start to focus on French sounds and your pronunciation, the easier things will be as you progress.
Take your time going through the French alphabet in order to see which letters you have trouble pronouncing. For instance, most learners struggle with the French letters “r” and “u”.
The “r” sound is made in the throat. If you want to practice it, try holding a pencil in your mouth (make sure it’s clean) and say words like “frère” and “roi”. It seems odd, but it will help you understand where those sounds should be made when you don’t have a pencil in your mouth.
For the French “u”, start by saying the English sound “ee”. Then, round out your lips to make a sound that’s a bit similar to the “oo” in “mood”.
Tips for beginners to speak French
No matter how many languages you’ve studied before, almost everyone feels nervous when they first start speaking a new language. You don’t have to feel bad about being nervous, but there are ways you can start feeling more comfortable speaking French.
Find a conversation partner
Find another French learner or a native speaker who is willing to practice speaking with you. Continued speaking practice, especially when you’re worried about not knowing enough words, can help you feel more confident as you learn.
Don’t be afraid of your mistakes
If you didn’t make mistakes, you wouldn’t learn anything! Instead, make note of your mistakes so that you have an easier time correcting them.
So, there you have our tips for French language learners. Join us over on our social channels and let us know how your language learning is going! Do you have any tips for us?