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Ten Ways To Learn French

Jan 24, 2008
When we want something, we want it now. Learning French should be no exception to the rule. Americans love maximum results with minimal effort. We live by the motto, "time is money", and with good reason. We cram so many activities into our schedules, our time is important. Est-ce que tu parles francais? (Do you speak French?) You will soon. The following suggestions are a few ways to work learning French into your busy day.

1. Tour de France

Take a trip to dreamlike Paris. This may be a real arm-twisting suggestion, but the fastest way to learn French is to immerse yourself in the language. Eavesdrop on strangers' conversations in picturesque cafés, all in the name of education. Wander the streets of Paris, strike up conversation with locals and in no time you'll perfect the throaty vocals of French. As Neil Simon said, "Give your mind a chance to travel through foreign languages."

2. Make it Movie Night

Head to your local movie store or order on your next Netflix a movie in French. Some Blockbuster suggestions: "Amelie", "Chocolate" with Johnny Depp, and "The Dreamlife of Angels" are a few internationally successful French movies. Sit back and enjoy a flick in the comfort of your home while learning to train your ear and repeating what you hear. Soon enough you'll connaître les ficelles?(know the ropes). Control the urge to put on the subtitles or a flick with dubbing because it'll kill the experience.

3. Explore Your Surroundings | Make Friends

If you live in a metropolitan city, you can easily find French-speaking communities. Take a chance and practice your French by meeting new people while experiencing a beautiful culture. Check out local wine tasting events and French restaurants. Search the Internet, local bulletin boards, and your local university to find language exchange programs. If possible, join a conversation group. The more exposure you receive, the faster you'll learn and in the process make friends. Faire d'une Pierre deux coups (To kill two birds with one stone.)

4. Sing in French

Hunt down some French CDs at your local store or online. Look on the inside liner and check out the lyrics. Read along with the music and in no time you'll be belting out French with a perfect accent. Everyone will think you've gone bananas or dvenir dingue (in French).

5. Francophone Your Life

Grab a memo pad and label everything in your house. Deck the halls, kitchen, and bedroom, even your bulldog in French labels. Your brain will begin associating the images and words and it'll eventually become natural.

6. Go Play.

Make a list of your favorite games and find a French version. Read the instructions and go through the motions of the game until it becomes second nature. Try French bingo, French crosswords, Jeopardy, Family Feud, Mille Bornes, and computer games. Soon you'll pick up key phrases and absorb new vocabulary. When you're ready for a real challenge, try out your French Cranium or Scrabble skills.

7. Read a Good Book.

Head to your local library or bookstore and find a few topics of interest. Some internationally best-selling novels in French are: "Poursuite a Quebec", by Ian Fraser; "La Dispartition" by Geores Perec; "Introduction to French Poetry: A Dual-Language Book" by Stanely Appelbaum. Plop down in a comfy chair in a quaint café and take a mini-trip to France.

8. Watch TV.

Contrary to what your parents told you, television will not rot your brain. With satellite and cable stations providing endless channels it's easy to tap into foreign language programs. Check out news, quiz shows, sit-coms, dramas, documentaries from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada on http://www.tv5.org. Popular US shows like CSI, 24, Band of Brothers, Scrubs and more are all available in French. So, if you don't find what you like on cable, you can always check out other shows on DVD. (Many DVDs have French language audio tracks!)

9. How do you say _____ in French? | Comment dit-on ____ en francais?

Learning phrases is an excellent way to accelerate learning and impress your friends or loved one. French has been labeled the language of love. Try Je t'aime (I love you too), Je t'adore (I adore you) for starters. The Pimsleur Approach has a great audio program equipped with various French language learning levels. Listen to the CDs in the car during your daily commute or on your ten minute break at work. The great part about audio only programs is that you can multitask.

10. Get Classy

Are you finally ready to take classes? Joining a class will give you structure for developing a routine. In class you are forced to speak only in French and are immersed in the language for several hours a week. Your professor can correct your pronunciation and grammar errors. To get the most out of your class, try pairing the previous techniques with class work. Those various language learning tools will eventually stick and you'll be speaking like a native in no time.

Ready to learn French? Now that you have several options to work into your routine, the best time to start learning is now. Even ten minutes a day will quickly accelerate how fast you learn French. The key is to be consistent. Bonne chance! (Good luck!)
About the Author
Audrey Tumaneng is spokesperson for Pimsleur Approach, internationally-recognized provider of language learning products. Their courses are currently used by the FBI, CIA, and business professionals everywhere. You can reach Pimsleur Approach at PimsleurApproach.com and by phone at 866-204-7139 or +1 202-266-3328 (international).
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