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french

How Long Does It Take to Learn French? – Justlearn

If you’ve always dreamed of living, working, or even just visiting France, you might have found yourself getting a little worried about how to make yourself understood. Do you have to learn French and how long does it take to learn French?

We have some good news for you; French is not really considered a hard language to learn. 

With a good French language tutor, you can probably learn French in about 6 to 12 months. 

The best way to learn French though, is probably through immersion, actually going to France or another country where French is the majority language spoken. By doing this, what is essentially a crash course in both the language and the culture, you will learn French in 3 to 6 months.

About French language

French is a Romance language which means it came “from Rome” and that it was derived from Latin.

French is among one of the five most commonly spoken Romance languages in the world. The others are Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Romanian.

Around 800 million people all around the world have a Romance language as their “native” language.

Spanish is actually the most commonly spoken Romance language, and some people believe that, because of the similarities between them it is easier to learn one if you already know the other.

So how long does it take to learn French if you speak Spanish? That will probably depend on how fluent you are in Spanish, but you could find it halves the learning time.

According to the 2019 edition of the Ethnologue, French is the 5th most common language in the world. 

If we are going by people who consider French either their first language or a second or additional language, there are 276.6 million French speakers in the world.

Of all the French speakers in the world, 77.3 million consider it their first language. Those that consider it a second or an additional language actually outnumber the native speakers, at 199.3 million.

French actually is the third most commonly spoken second language in the world, after English and Hindi.

3 Best Ways to Learn French and How Long They Take

So if you want to be part of the growing number of people who want to learn to speak French as an additional language, you are probably wondering what is the best way to start?

The best way to learn French is to have some sort of immersive experience. This could include going to France or a French speaking country or hiring a tutor. 

While using online resources can also help, they lack an interactive quality. Many language teachers still recommend that having actual conversations in the language that you are trying to learn is the best way to truly become fluent.

Let’s briefly run down the ways to learn French. In the end, you will have to make the choice as to which method best suits your own specific needs and learning time table.

1. Immersion

How long will it take you to learn French? 3-6 months

The idea behind immersion is that you surround yourself with the language as spoken by native speakers

Of course, this isn’t just going to France with a French-phrase book, this is going to France to enroll in a French-language course. 

There are three ways that you can easily find a French-language immersion program:

Check with the French consulate in your home country

They can give you advice on what is available. Sometime the consulate themselves may offer some learning programs or even language exchange trips. If they don’t they can also point you in the direction of programs run by reputable organizations or affiliated with a legitimate language center, school, or even French university.

Check if there is an Alliance Francaise in your country

Alliance Francaise is an international organization, subsidized by the French government, which aims to spread the French language and culture around the world. There are 850 centers around the world.

While they are mostly known for providing French language lessons in a classroom setting, they also have a variety of programs and events dedicated to brining French culture to the area they are located in. They could offer exchange programs or could point you out in the direction or other organizations that offer their own immersion programs.

While a quick Google search will bring you many lists and articles of French immersion programs, make sure that these are legitimate. It’s best to check with the French consul or embassy before making any specific plans or handing over any money or requirements.

2. With a tutor

How long will it take you to learn French? 6-12 months.

While an immersion program sounds interesting and is a good way to learn, it’s not for everybody. Not everybody can afford to just drop all their obligations to go off to France for several months to learn the language. 

A good alternative to an immersion program then is to work with a French language tutor. If you hire a tutor, you can schedule your lessons during a time that is convenient for you. Say after work hours or during the weekend. 

Working with a tutor gives you the advantage of spending several hours a week where you are at least partially immersed in French language and culture. A good tutor will encourage you to speak and think in French as well as provide you with interesting lessons about the culture and history of France.

Many tutors believe that fluency is achieved by surrounding yourself with the language, so they can also point you towards good resources such as books, television shows, movies, or podcasts that will help you learn.

Justlearn is an online tutoring platform that believes that language fluency can be achieved with the help of native language tutors. You should check out their French language tutors and find someone who can help you today. 

3. Using language learning apps

There are several online language learning program available, many with accompanying apps. The premise of these language learning platforms is, even more so than online tutors, they allow you to learn a language at your convenience.

With an online tutor, you will still have to sign up for language learning sessions on a specified schedule. Say, Saturdays at 9am and Sundays at 4pm. The advantage learning apps have over a tutor is, you can whip out your app and learn almost anytime and anywhere. 

Many people love the convenience of language learning apps, though there is some concern at to just how fluent you can get. After all, with a language learning app you don’t really get the interaction that many feel is key to enabling you to really hold conversations with native speakers is missing. 

Let’s take a look at two popular language learning platforms, Duolino and Rosetta Stone.

Duolingo is a language learning program and app that was launched in 2012. It offers free language learning lessons and encourage learners to keep coming back by modeling itself after video games.

They have a reward system by which reaching goals such as taking lessons for a certain number of days earns you “lingots” which allows you to access character customizations and even bonus lessons. There are even leader boards where you can compete with friends or other users.

Duolingo is used by around 300 million people around the world and offers courses in 38 languages. Of course, one of those languages is French

So how long does is take to learn French on Duolingo? According to their forums, Duolingo’s French course lessons take about 15 minutes and the whole thing takes about 89.5 hours. So if you take two lessons a day, every day, you will finish the course in 179 days. 

Rossetta Stone is a language learning program with a mobile app that has been around for twenty five years. They try to help people learn languages so that they can have real-world conversations. 

They have developed a speech recognition technology called TruAccent that allows users to practice their language speaking and get real-time feedback on their accents.

Rosetta Stone allows language speakers to learn language in context and how to speak like a native-speaker. It encourages them to practice their language learning daily.

French, of course is one of the languages that Rosetta Stone provides lessons on. How long does it take to learn French with Rosetta Stone? Well according to them, it should take you about 120-150 hours to complete the first three levels of their learning programs. For the full five levels, it will take 200 hours or more.

If you Google “how long did it take you to learn French” you will probably get a variety of answers.

Looking at online forums, asking “how long does it take to learn French” on Reddit or “how long does it take to learn french?”  on Quora and most people will say it took them half a year or a year. 

Remember though, it’s not so much the quantity – the physical hours put in, but the quality that matters. 

If you want to learn a language quickly, you need to show some dedication and determination. Just half listening to a tutor or language app, even if you do so for hours straight isn’t enough – you need to actively work at becoming fluent. With sufficient motivation, anyone can learn French quickly. 

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

This ‘learning French’ video is 23 seconds well spent The Poke

‘Learning French,’ says 31esprisi over on Reddit. Make sure you stick with it to the end (it’s not very long …)

Boom (it’s French for ‘boom’).

It’s from @encorefrenchlessons over on TikTok and here just three things people said about it.

‘See, French is easy.’ EvenList7

‘Here is a famous one we like to say: Si mon tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton sera tondu Which translates to: if my uncle shaves your uncle, your uncle will be shaved.’ TheArtemisfly

‘Mûre.’ UndoingMonkey

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

How to Speak French Like a Native (7 Simple and Effective Tips) – Justlearn

So you’ve been studying French for some time now and you’re proud of what you have accomplished so far — as you should be!

By now, you know some basic words and you can probably make phrases, but you feel like something is still lacking.

Your skills may still be a little rough on the edges and your pronunciation still isn’t as flawless. But don’t worry, there’s nothing a little practice and polishing can’t fix.

Why do you want to speak like a native?

Are you traveling to a French-speaking country?

Or maybe you moved to France and you’re trying to adapt?

You’re lucky because you’re in the right place.

In this article, you will discover simple yet effective tips to speak French like a native. The locals will never guess—not in a million years—that you’re foreign.

7 Proven Tips on How to Speak French Like a Native

Master French Pronunciation

Your pronunciation can either make or break your French. It can either make the locals think you’re one of them or it could give away the truth.

If you want to sound like a native speaker, studying French vocabulary and grammar wouldn’t suffice, you must also learn how to pronounce the words properly.

The French alphabet is the same as English. The only difference is how the letters are pronounced.

For instance, the French “r” isn’t pronounced the same way as the English “r”. Not only do they sound different, but they also require different mouth muscles to be used.

Let’s take a look at how the French vowels are pronounced.

Now that we’ve got the French vowels out of the way, let’s see how the consonants are pronounced.

Learn How To Speak French With Native Tutors

The best way to learn how to speak French like a native is to have a native speaker as a tutor. There’s no other person who can teach you better than those who speak it as their first language.

Justlearn takes pride in its French tutors, all of whom have undergone a thorough vetting process to ensure that they will be able to provide quality lessons and teach the language effectively.

You can choose your preferred teacher and pick a schedule that works for you depending on your tutor’s available hours.

Whatever language level you’re in, our tutors are perfectly capable and equipped to provide a customized lessons and teaching approach based on your needs and wishes.

With the help of Justlearn’s French tutors, you’ll be able to speak French like a native in no time.

Pay Attention to French Speaking Habits

Similar to how English speakers put “isn’t it” to the end of almost every sentence, speaking mannerisms are fairly common among French natives too. Here are some of their speaking habits you should develop if you want to sound authentic:

The strategic use of bah.

When French locals talk to each other, it is practically impossible to form a conversation without this versatile word coming up here and there. 

This French bah is fairly difficult to translate, and what it conveys largely depends on the delivery and context. It can be used to demonstrate how surprised, skeptical, or incredulous you are. It can also be used as an equivalent to the English word “well”.

Now, let’s talk about how you can incorporate bah in sentences.

When answering an obvious question, you can say:

“Bah oui!” (Yes!) or “Bah non!” (No!)

When someone says something unbelievable and you’re skeptical about it, you can say:

“Bah oui?” (Is that really true?)

When you need a filler as you think about what you’re going to say next:

“Baaaaaaahh, en fait je ne sais pas encore.” (Well…. actually, I don’t know yet.)

As you can see from the examples above, the French bah can be used in a wide range of sentences. While the sentences may look similar, the meaning of bah changes depending on the context, your tone of voice, and your facial expression.

Excessive use of quoi like there’s no tomorrow.

While the French word quoi literally translates to the English word what, it can’t be used in any sentence to replace its English equivalent.

Most commonly, quoi is being used as a stand-alone word. When French locals say “Quoi?” or “Quoi?!”, it’s typically an informal way to express incomprehension or astonishment — like “What?” or “What?!”

Obviously, the use of quoi on its own is considered informal so you should use it sparingly. Instead of reacting to a statement you didn’t hear or understand with “Quoi?”, you can opt for “Pardon?” (Excuse me? I beg your pardon?)

The use of quoi isn’t limited to “what?”, it can also be used to say “isn’t it”, “whatever”, and “don’t you think?”.

Here are some sentences that make use of the French word quoi:

“A quoi bon?” (What’s the point?)

“Il fait beau aujourd’hui quoi?” (It’s a nice weather today, isn’t it?)

Quoi que tu achètes, tu regretteras avoir dépensé de l’argent.” (Whatever you buy, you’ll regret having spent the money.”

“Ce mec est trop beau, quoi?” (This guy is so hot, don’t you think?)

Say voilà whenever appropriate.

Voilà is a quintessential French word that literally translates to “there is”. However, it is most commonly used as an equivalent to the English slang phrases “so, yeah” or “so, there you go”.

Here are some examples:

“Me voilà!” (Here I am!)

“Le voilà!” (There it/he/she is!)

“C’est ma sœur et ma meilleure amie, voilà.” (She’s my sister and my best friend, so yeah.)

Generally, when you can’t think of anything else to say at the end of your sentence, you can never go wrong with voilà.

Don’t forget the classic French shrug.

In response to a question to which you don’t know the answer, respond the French way by doing an exaggerated shrug accompanied by a raised eyebrow. And to sound like a true French, you can say, “baaah, je sais pas, moi!”, which translates to “Ah, I don’t know!”

Memorize French Filler Words and Interjections

There’s nothing like stuffing your speech with filler words and interjections that make you sound legitimately French. It also helps make your sentences sound more natural and spontaneous.

Here are the most common filler words you should keep in mind:

Alors – This is the equivalent of the English filler “so”. It can be used either in a positive or negative way.

Tu vois? – It works the same way as the English phrase “you know?”

Euh – The French “uh” or “um”.

Eh bien – This is the equivalent of the English filler “well…”

Voyons – It works the same way as “let me see…”

Hein? – The French “eh?” that is usually placed at the end of a sentence.

Bon – This can be used either as “OK” or “fine”, depending on the tone and context.

Now that we’ve talked about the French fillers, let’s take a look at some common French interjections:

Oups (Oops!)

Aïe / Ouïe (Ouch)

Practice Speaking Fast with French Tongue Twisters

When you hear French locals engage in a conversation, you’re probably surprised by how fast they speak. If you want to speak French like a true native, you must be able to speak as fast as French native speakers can!

Sounds impossible? That’s where French tongue twisters come in handy.

Here are some of the best French tongue twisters to practice speaking fast:

“Seize chaises sèchent.” (Sixteen chairs are drying.)

“Les chaussettes de l’archiduchesse sont-elles sèches? Archi-sèches!” (Are the archduchess’s socks dry? Extremely dry!)

“Un chasseur sachant chasser doit savoir chasser sans son chien.” (A hunter who can hunt should be able to hunt without his dog.)

“Suis-je bien chez ce cher Serge?” (Am I at dear Serge’s place?)

“Je veux et j’exige d’exquises excuses.” (I want and demand exquisite apologies.)

Struggling with the French tongue twisters above? Don’t worry! Even the native French speakers struggle with it. That’s why it is important to keep practicing.

Let’s take a look at how a French native speaker pronounces the French tongue twisters listed above.

If you want more French tongue twisters to practice with, we have put together a more comprehensive list of French tongue twisters.

Check out the 15 French tongue twisters, and you will be able to speak as fast and pronounce words as flawlessly as a native French speaker.

Have Fun And Learn With French Films

Watching films in the language you’re studying is an effective way to master the language you’re learning, and an enjoyable one for sure! French movies also help you practice your listening and speaking skills, both of which are essential in everyday conversations.

Whatever French language level you are in, we have put together three of the best French movies that will help you learn French:

Kirikou et la Sorcière

The title translates to “Kirikou and the Sorceress” in English. This is an adventure film that follows a newborn boy, Kirikou, on his journey to save his village from a wicked witch. Although this movie is primarily targeted for kids, it is still enjoyable for all ages.

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie

This is a poetic film that tells the story of Amélie Poulain, a young woman who quietly helps people find joy in their lives while struggling with her own insecurities. Filmed in Montmartre, Paris, the film provides a glimpse into the modern French life and celebrates the nuances of human behavior.

La grande vadrouille

This film is a classic historical comedy widely known in France. It tells the story of a British bomber crew after they’re shot down over France during World War II and shows how a group of French civilians helped three pilots to escape Paris. Not only this movie will make you laugh, but it will also show you the stereotyped characteristics of the French people.

If you have Netflix, check out the 10 French movies you should watch.

Take Advantage of Free Lessons in YouTube

YouTube is indeed among the best online resources for free lessons when studying a language. There are a lot of YouTube videos that offer free French lessons, something you must take advantage of!

Learn how to speak French like a native with YouTube
Here are some of the best French YouTube channels that you may find useful:

Being able to speak French like a native is more than just vocabulary and grammar. 

Even if you are adept at putting together sentences and you can pronounce even the hardest words flawlessly, the locals will be able to tell that you’re foreign in an instant if you don’t know anything about their culture.

You don’t need to know everything about the French culture, just the fundamentals — basic etiquettes, values, traditions, customs, and what’s generally acceptable to talk about with the locals and what is deemed offensive. 

If you do this, not only will you be able to speak French like a native, but the locals will surely love your company.

Listed below are the most important things you should know about their culture:

Catholicism is the primary religion in France. 

According to a survey by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP), 64 percent (approximately 41.6 million people) of the French population identified themselves as Roman Catholic. 

The other religions observed in France include Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.

However, religion is a sensitive topic for most people. So you might want to steer clear of this topic to avoid disagreements, but it is still useful to know just in case it comes up.

French cuisine

France takes pride in their dish and wine. French cuisine is particularly known for its heavy sauces and complex preparation. 

An example of a traditional French dish is boeuf bourguignon, a stew made of beef braised in red wine, beef broth, and seasoned with garlic, onions, and mushrooms. 

If you’re not used to alcohol, you better get a head start because drinking wine during dinner is considered a norm in France.

In addition, French are obsessed with bread. In fact, you will see bread in every meal of the day. Croissants are for breakfast, sandwiches made from baguettes for lunch, and rolls for dinner.

French fashion can be described in two words: minimalistic and luxurious. 

French locals are extremely fond of high-end fashion brands such as Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. 

They may only have a few pieces of clothing in their wardrobe, but it sure costs an arm and leg! 

In France, the typical outfits include sophisticated dresses, suits, long coats, scarves, and berets.

If you are interested in learning more, the ultimate guide to understanding French culture should be able to tell you everything you need to know.

Final thoughts

At this point, you can probably speak French better than before. These tips have disclosed everything you should keep in mind when speaking French.

Just keep practicing. After all, learning never stops.

Also, don’t be afraid to participate in French conversations. If you keep on waiting to feel completely ready, it’ll never happen. So, go out and conquer your fears.

Who knows? You may even surprise yourself. You’ll never know how good you are in speaking French until you try.

Remember, the key is to speak with confidence. Even mispronunciations can be overlooked when you’re confident.

And don’t worry, even if you do make a little mistake, the locals won’t mind! In fact, you may even learn a lot from them!

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

Learn French With Podcasts: Top 3 French Podcasts That Will Improve Your Fluency – Justlearn

What does every French language student want?

Well, 8 out of 10 French learners will tell you that they want to sound more like native speakers.

They want to have rich vocabulary, speak fluently, use French slang, and have the same natural flow as the French people do.

There are many ways to achieve fluency, such as watching movies, speaking with native French speakers, reading books, listening to music, and many other resources.

But did you know that you can learn French with podcasts?

Podcasts are series of episodes that you can find online and download. 

They are usually free of charges and can be found on podcast apps, such as Castbox, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts etc.

Some may say they are similar to the radio, but podcasts are actually more organized into topics. 

They cover diverse subjects, from politics, marketing strategies, to life hacks and language acquisition.

Yes, language acquisition. You’ve heard it well.

With podcasts, you can bring foreign languages with you wherever you go.

If you think it’s not likely to learn French this way, you should stick around and try our top 3 choices below.

Note that it is always handy to have an experienced tutor by your side so that you can ask them when in doubt. If you still haven’t found a suitable teacher, look for them on Justlearn, where you’ll find plenty of professional native French tutors.

Here’s why you should learn French with podcasts

Recently, there has been an enormous popularization of not only podcasts per se, but language learning podcasts as well.

What’s the reason behind this?

Well, podcasts can come in handy when you are commuting for work, traveling, or cleaning your house.

What this means for you is that you get to learn French with daily podcasts and work on your skills regularly.

The biggest benefit of learning French with podcasts is that you get to listen to native speakers.

Podcasts are a great way to hear the everyday language used by real French speakers.

They are also good for keeping up with the French culture and language.

Without further due, here are three best podcasts to help you improve your French skills.

How to learn French with podcasts

Top 3 French podcasts to improve your fluency

One of the most practical podcasts is Coffee Break French.

The title says it all.

Their episodes don’t last for more than 15 minutes, which is enough to drink your morning coffee or have your afternoon coffee break.

Thanks to the amazing personality and expertise of the host and teacher Mark, you will be able to learn new French vocabulary, new slangs as well as hear some French grammar tips and tricks from a professional.

If you are searching for free French podcasts for beginners, stop right here and give Coffee Break French a try, you will not regret it.

It’s a great way to start learning French with podcasts.

Bonus tip: Why don’t you recommend this podcast to your French tutor as well, as it can be a great conversation starter for your next lesson.

Coffee Break French is a free language learning podcast developed by Radio Lingua Network, also known for their useful language courses.

You can listen to the first episode on YouTube and hear about many possible ways to say ‘How are you’ in French.

As per the title, this podcast is for French students who are also keen on keeping up with the world news.

The podcast is in French, only a bit slower, as the French people are famous for their fast way of speaking.

We would recommend this podcast to intermediate French learners; however, beginners, don’t get discouraged!

There is also a transcript that comes with each episode so that you can have the entire episode in written form and revert to it if you have any doubts.

Another great thing about this podcast is that apart from the popular news, you will have a chance to learn grammar and hear some common French expressions.

Your French tutor might be eager to share their thoughts on a certain idiom, so feel free to tell them about your new favorite podcast.

In case you need a new French tutor, Justlearn offers a wide range of native French speakers who can help you improve your pronunciation and learn more about French culture.

Last, but not least, our third choice of the day is French Pod 101.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or already on a more advanced level; this podcast is for you.

It offers a lot of different topics so you will be able to find something interesting for yourself too.

The speakers are very professional, engaging, and, most importantly, French natives and fluent speakers.

They are a great motivational boost for your French learning journey, as one of them speaks perfect French but is an English native.

You will learn so much about the French culture, as the episodes usually offer a detailed look at everyday real life situations.

Not only that it is fun and interesting, French Pod 101 is very practical – the best insight into French language and culture. 

Podcasts for learning French are a great resource that the technology-based society brought to us.

We should use it to our benefit.

It is possible to have fun while learning languages.

And it is possible to do productive things that are fun.

If you follow your gut, choose a French tutor you like, and use appropriate resources, you will learn French very quickly.

But if you have fun with it too, you will be fluent in no time.

Give these three podcasts a try this week and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

We also can’t wait to hear about other podcasts and talk about them in future articles, so let us know if you have any suggestions for us, we’d like to hear from you!

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

SPEAKING FRENCH|MY 5 BIGGEST CHALLENGES LEARNING FRENCH

Learning another language at any age (except when rocking a pacifier is trendy) is a roller coaster of ups and downs. When you actually manage to string together your first sentence of “Hello my name is Kate and I have two cats,” you’re so sure you’ve got this language thing down that you’re convinced you’ll be a bilingual babe in months. But then someone tells you that the way you’re pronouncing the word kiss with a z sound on the s is actually the pronunciation for the word f*ck, and you realize that that bilingual babe status is way farther off than you thought. Oh and you’d like to melt in your chair and disappear now, thanks.

I absolutely had my fair share of ups and downs when I was learning French, and I still learn and (often) make mistakes 10 years later. Here’s the 5 things I find the most challenging about learning and speaking French, even today!

1. VOUS AND TU: THE TWO VERSIONS OF YOU

 There are two words for “you,” in French- tu and vous. Tu is informal and used in a singular way. So if I said to my sister “would you order me a pizza?” I would you use tu. But vous is both formal singular and can be used in a plural form. So if I was asking a stranger “do you know where the Eiffel tower is?” or talking to two friends and asking “what do you want to do?” I would pop a vous into that sentence. Sounds pretty clear right?

Well don’t be fooled my friends. All these different ways of using “you” mean that first off, you have to learn all kinds of different ways to conjugate verbs. Since the verbs following tu and vous are neither spelled nor pronounced the same way, it means double the trouble when it comes to memorizing conjugations.

At least memorizing isn’t complicated per say. It’s more time consuming. BUT what can be complicated is remembering when to use the vous versus tu because if you accidentally use the informal version when you should have used the formal version, it’s pretty much considered an insult. Example, you’re trying to renew your visa and accidentally use tu with the worker at the Prefecture. Could a visa rejection be in your near future? I wouldn’t be surprised…

2. ON: THIRD PERSON SINGULAR

The word on has so many different meanings in French, it’s no joke hard to keep track. But it mainly translates to “we” in French and is used for the most part when you’re speaking, not writing. What’s so complicated about on is that while it usually means “we,” it can mean “someone,” “you”, “they,” and even “he” and “she” and “I”. The key to understanding what on means, is understanding the context of the phrase. That’s easy enough when you’re an advanced speaker, but not so easy when you’re just learning. If someone says “on m’a dit que…” you know the sentence is “xx told me” but you don’t know who the crack “on” is until you hear the rest of the sentence and put everything into context. For the most part, it becomes natural as some point… I promise. But I still have times where I’m scratching my noggin’ thinking, who the heck is on today?

3. PRONUNCIATION

It’s rough as an adult to try and mimic sounds you have never attempted to master as a tiny tot. If you’re like me, it’s virtually impossible and you get put in special “pronunciation” classes, on Saturday MORNINGS, for the students who really just can’t be understood. 🙁 But even if you’re a world class “pronunciater,” reading off words you’ve never seen before becomes an absolute riddle in French. Because what you see is absolutely not what you get in the Land of Cheese. French words are full of silent letters. When I say silent, I mean almost every word, in every sentence, of every paragraph has AT LEAST one silent letter. Of course the letters have a purpose or the French would just chop them off, guillotine style. They distinguish gender, number, plurality and verb agreement, but as a non native speaker, they also stand for challenging with a capital C.

4. ACCENTS

You might think that when it comes to accents, I’m talking about all those different regional accents, right? Those accents are kind of challenging too but, I’ll get to those next. Right now I’m actually referring to all those tiny slashes and dots that help guide you in pronouncing all those letters that aren’t silent. These are extra difficult because we don’t have accents in English, so we can’t compare them to something we already understand. Plus, the thing about accents is that even though you want to just ignore them since a tiny slash just can’t be THAT important, you really shouldn’t. Multiple words can be spelled the same and only the accent makes the difference. Élevé means to raise, like raise a child and élève is a student. Only those tiny slashes makes all the difference.

 5. REGIONAL ACCENTS

Normally when I think of accents, I’m thinking sexy French accent that makes we weak in the knees or that fancy British accent during High Tea. I’m not usually thinking of a thick Scottish accent that I can barely understand in my own mother tongue. But that’s what I’m referring to here.  It’s a total twist when you feel like you’ve got this French thing down and then you take a train three hours south and have to ask the woman at the boulangerie to repeat three times because you’ve got no clue what she’s saying. And sometimes it’s not just their pronunciation that’s different, it’s also the vocabulary that throws you for a loop. You jaunt down to Bordeaux and the word beaucoup and tres is replaced by gave. Which I might add, is pronounced like the verb se gaver, which means “to gorge oneself.” So if you don’t know whats up, you’re like why is this guy talking about overeating 5 times in one minute?

Whelp, those are my 5 biggest challenges when learning another language, but I know there are many more! What are yours? Don’t forget to leave them in the comments below! ♥

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

15 Amazing Podcasts To Listen To if You Are Learning French

Learn French through Spotify. How? The internet has brought us many new language learning tools, among which the podcast.

For those who have been living under a rock, a podcast is like a radio show, without the musical interruptions, and you decide when you listen to it.

Since the invention of podcasts, it has become a great favorite of both language instructors and language learners. Here’s why.

Why should I learn French with podcast?

Anyone can start a podcast, which means these days you have endless options when it comes to picking one out.

Besides picking one that is close to your interests, there are many podcasts out there that are made for language learners. This means they will focus on stories that will be interesting for foreigners, share a little bit of cultural information, and help you learn your target language.

Even within the category of language learning podcasts, you will find many different types focussing on different aspects of language learning, as well as different levels of language skills.

Whatever it is you are looking for, you’ll sure find one that matches your needs.

Literally.

The great thing about podcasts is being able to adjust the playback speed to be slower or faster than the regular speed. If things are going too fast, play it at 0.75x, but if a podcast is making a deliberate effort to speak clearly and you think you can handle a bit more speed, change it to 1.25x and really train your listening skills.

The great thing about radio, audiobooks and podcasts is that because you are only listening, it really trains your ear to focus on the pronunciation.

Many times, a foreign accent is a result of your brain thinking certain letters that are written down should be pronounced a certain way. This can be because of your native language, or because the pronunciation of a word doesn’t always make sense with phonetic rules.

By solely focusing on the listening you are training your ears to hear past the written form of words, and simply hear the way native speakers are pronouncing them.

As long as you have your phone with you (and let’s be honest, that is pretty much always), you can put on a podcast and start the language learning.

Whether you are brushing your teeth, commuting to work or taking a deliberate moment to practice your language skills, your favorite podcasts are always available and ready.

Language learning isn’t just for those who can afford fancy language schools.

Podcasts are freely available across many platforms like Apple podcasts, Soundcloud or Spotify.

How can I learn French with podcasts?

Okay, so we’ve gone over the why, but how exactly do you learn French with a podcast?

One of my favorite things about podcasts is that because you are only listening, you can do it while doing something else.

Of course, to really take something in you need to pay some attention, but I used to listen to podcasts on my way to class, while walking the dog or even when I was cooking and cleaning.

It’s a great way to practice your language skills while doing something else, and taking advantage of the time you are already spending on another mindless activity.

This way, you don’t need extra hours in the day, you can simply use the ones you already have to squeeze in a little extra language learning.

Building on the previous point:

If you have a daily commute, walk, or time dedicated for language learning – make it a daily or at least weekly habit.

Nothing will help your language skills unless you do it on a regular basis.

If you have a daily habit that you can use to listen to podcasts, you can easily create a new habit without having to change your current lifestyle. After all, habits are easier to keep up when integrated into your already existing routine.

Listening is one of the most daunting aspects of language learning because it happens in real time.

Where an online chat conversation leaves time to think, or a quick Google Translate consultation, actual conversations happen in real-time, and if you have difficulty understanding spoken language, it can be a real struggle to have a conversation with a native speaker.

Podcasts offer you a safe space to practice your listening skills without having to answer back immediately. Unlike movies, you don’t have the visuals to help you understand context and meaning, but it is precisely the pure audio based learning that will help you master the skills of listening to an actual conversation.

Language and culture are two things that can not be separated. That is why many podcasts try to teach a language while talking about culture.

This is great, because it allows you to practice your skills, learn vocabulary that will be relevant when speaking to native speakers, and allows you to better understand the language as something beyond the rules of grammar.

Though it is great to be able to have a regular conversation about what your name is, how old you are and what your favorite color is, it is even better when you are able to reference a national holiday, or talk about music.

There is no fun in listening to something you don’t understand because it’s way too complicated, or something that is too easy.

Not all language learning podcasts are alike, and neither are podcast listeners, so make sure you find one that matches your language skills as well as your interests.

Many podcasts are available for free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help the creators. Let them know what you think, and show off your language skills by writing a review in your target language.

Because it is purely audio based, podcasts are a great way of improving your pronunciation.

Repeat a certain fragment and try to speak along.

Instead of listening for words, try listening for syllables. This will make it a lot easier to break down sounds and really get that native-like pronunciation.

Write down a phrase or paragraph, then record yourself saying it and compare it to the podcast recording. Comparing directly can help you pin-point and improve the areas you are struggling with the most.

Many podcasts these days offer a transcript of what is said. This allows you to read along, or refer back after you’re done listening to an episode.

This way you can easily see the spelling of new words, and look them up if you are unsure what they mean.

15 Spotify Podcasts for Learning French

1. Coffee Break French

Level: Beginner

Coffee Break French teaches everything you need for basic communication – from introducing yourself to checking into a hotel in the span of a coffee break.

2. Learn French

Level: Beginner to Advanced

Learn French through Spotify from these audio courses that will take you from beginner lessons to advanced conversations and even French literature.

3. FrenchPod101

Level: Beginner to Advanced

FrenchPod101 is a well-established podcast series for all levels. They offer so many lessons, covering virtually any topic and situation. Their hosts are native or fluent speakers that will bring you intriguing lesson titles like “Do You Wear Spandex to Work?” and they will help you with both linguistic and cultural understanding.

4. News in Slow French

Level: Intermediate

Aside from reporting news in slow French, every episode includes an interactive transcript, as well as lessons about grammar, expressions, and a quiz.

This podcast is best to learn French through Spotify and it is for those who already know some French and just want to improve.

5. One Thing In A French Day

Level: Intermediate

Follow Laetitia and get a taste of her everyday life as she talks about it in her podcast. She shares her stories thrice a week, in three short minutes or so.

6. Français Authentique

Johan, the host of this podcast, will keep you hooked by engaging you with various topics like philosophy and even fasting.

New episodes are released twice a week and are about 15 minutes long.

Level: Advanced

Ordinary people talking about their experience that gave a huge impact on their lives. This will make you think about how you can never really tell what others experienced.

From politics to religion to poetry and the secrets of feminine desire.

This podcast is addicting and covers a wide range of topics, all sorted into different playlists.

More French Audio Content

Looking for more ways to improve your French? Why not try a French audiobook.

They are suitable for all levels, and if you start a trial with Audible you can claim one for free.

You can cancel your trial anytime, and the book will remain available for you in your Audible library.

Level: Advanced

If you are a techy person and into the latest technology news, this podcast is for you! Tune in and listen for almost two hours for each episode while learning more French words.

Frederic Martel interviews a new guest every week and they talk about the creative industry and the impact of digital technology in our lives.

11. Parlez Away

Babbel’s first-ever French podcast is hosted by Ted and Caroline. This podcast focuses more on conversational French.

12. Grand Reportage

If you like the news and have an advanced level of French, Grand Reportage is one of the best global news sources in France that reports different types of issues all over the world.

13. La Poudre

A feminist podcast with interesting conversations with interesting people.

If you have an advanced level of French, this podcast is a great way to practice while listening to conversations between the host and her guests.

14. 3 Minute French

Learn French with the 3-minute lessons from Kieran Ball. These episodes are perfect if you are trying to fit your french practice into a busy schedule.

15. Language Superstar

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Language Superstar offers a bunch of lessons that will make it easy for you to join in, learn new words and focus on your pronunciation.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and make a purchase, a small commission will go to us, at no extra charge to you. This helps us keep the lights on and let’s us create more free content for you.

Of course, we only promote products or services that we ourselves have spend money on. Thank you for your support. 

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

My Recipe for Learning French in Provence

Recipe for Learning French

Take Provence a stunning, sunny, colourful area of France, known for its landscapes, food and wonderful quality of life, add to it the poetic and lyrical French language, a pinch of willpower, a spoonful of motivation and of course, a dash of fun and laughter. Gently blend them together and allow them to infuse. Sample the exercises and let them become part of you, accepting that as with the finest French cheeses, you have to take time for them to mature. Once you’re happy with your personal recipe add a final dose of good humour, sprinkle in some confidence and you’re done!

Of course, this is the basic recipe and it will be slightly different for everyone. Like all recipes, it just takes a lot of patience and it’s important to remember that if it goes wrong, you can start again. And, again if needed until it’s just right and you’re confident you can create it whenever you need it and enjoy the pleasure of your progression.

Learning French in Provence

My small school is not only a place where you learn French, but it’s also a place for sharing, where links are created, where people meet and take a journey together.

The school started from my desire to enable people to communicate, to break down the barriers that come with different languages, and to encourage and help students, not only learn the French language but also to understand French culture and society. All languages are about so much more than just words and grammar and French is no different.

My small school has a personal, family feel to it, perched on a pretty hill in the heart of the Luberon we are able to welcome you all year round. As I’ve already mentioned above, everyone’s recipe for learning French will be slightly different, so I create “made-to-measure” courses, totally adapted to your own personal needs and your objectives.

French Lessons Made Fun

Of course, we will spend time working on grammar and language exercises, but also take a different approach, by working with local people and specialists, learning in a range of scenarios where your listening, observation and in fact, all your senses will be required.

These include:

Discover French cooking by following recipes (food-related this time) and practising French on-the-go, without access to a Dictionary, but by listening to Alexandra explain her recipes and her approach to cookery!

Forage in French. During the spring you can join a local expert, on a foraging walk and introduction to some of our wild plants and flowers. The joy is that once you have foraged for the plan enjoy a nice meal from them too. Forage to Fork!

Find out about local villages through visits with Francoise. She is passionate about local history and full of anecdotes about our rich cultural heritage.

Explore the secrets of beer, a drink that is as old as the world. Arthur is a local brewer who is involved with a local, thriving social enterprise. He shares his experience and knowledge of brewing, and of course, there is a cheerful tasting.

Discover an ancestral practice, in a hidden organic garden with Olivia. She explains her production of plants and herbs, with medicinal virtues. Olivia also introduces you to the delights of a ‘Tisane’ tasting.

Learn about a family distillery operation that distills essential oils from organic lavender and a range of other local plants.

Explore local farming with Laëtitia, who is not only passionate about donkeys, but also our local agriculture. Understand the production of almonds. Discover grain processing, from harvest, through milling, to a final transformation into fresh pasta, and pizza.

Visit villages, markets, and other sites to find out more about our important regional, cultural heritage.

Provencal Immersion

I can also offer a time when you can be fully immersed in the language. By living next door, in our small cottage or near to our home with our partners, you will be surrounded by French speakers. The sense of place will help you learn more quickly, focusing on all aspects of French life and absorbing all the little details that make a language complete.

Of course, a language is based on foundations, with its logical explanations. Although, I do understand that sometimes these are also, illogical. The grammar and theory lessons are enriched by listening exercises, playful writing, and small presentations.

You learn at your own pace, “little by little”, individually or in groups, focusing on areas that are interesting to you.

Personally, I enjoy meeting those who love the French language. Or, those that are simply curious and want to explore it. The lessons are enjoyable for me as I too, learn from my students. These intercultural encounters bring vital energy to my small school. And for that, I thank you.

Here, is our website for more information on customized French Lessons in Provence.

The post My Recipe for Learning French in Provence appeared first on Perfectly Provence.

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

Learning French Vocabulary about Body Parts and Movements

Katharine’s English Lesson

Learning French Vocabulary about Body Parts and Movements

There is a scene in Shakespeare’s play, King Henry the Fifth, in which Katharine, princess of France, learns English words from her companion, Alice. Katharine says to Alice “Alice, tu as été en Angleterre, et tu parles bien le langage” and Alice responds “Un peu, madame”. The princess goes on to learn various anatomical terms, focusing on her own extremities, particularly what is visible under all of the garments a lady of her station would have worn at that time:

Katharine: La main, de hand; les doigts, de fingres. Je pense que je suis le bon écolier; j’ai gagné deux mots d’Anglois vitement. Comment appelez-vous les ongles?
Alice: Nous les appelons de nails.

Judi Dench is delightful playing Katharine in the 1960 film version, giving the impression of being supremely proud of herself for learning vocabulary, as well as being highly motivated to practice. Here is a list of what Katharine learns during the lesson:

French English French English
la main hand le coude elbow
le doigt finger le col (lit.) neck
le pouce thumb le menton chin
l’ongle (m.) nail le pied foot
le bras arm

If you are wondering why Katharine focuses on her extremities, it could be because these are what she uses to gesture, and what would have been visible to the audience. Remember that not all members of Shakespeare’s audience could understand French, but they could follow the visual cues of Katharine’s gaze toward her own hand. In addition, whereas certain audience members could have completed preparatory reading before seeing the play, many people during that era, including members of Shakespeare’s audience, were not literate, even in their mother tongue. Literacy rates, although higher than in previous eras, were still not nearly as high as today and access to texts was also limited, so even if audience members could read Shakespeare’s text, they did not necessarily have easy access to it. They certainly did not have access to the internet and to online translating tools as we do today, and there were no supertitles at the Globe Theatre, where Shakepeare’s plays were performed.

HENRY V – “KATHERINE’S ENGLISH LESSON” (1960) 

Get to Know Your Body

Having the vocabulary for your own anatomy is practical, as is being able to describe different types of movement generated by it. This is the idea behind the book called Anatomy of Movement, written by Blandine Calais-Germain, which is a staple of syllabi for kinesiology and biomechanics courses offered in many dance programs, theatrical workshops, and yoga immersions, among others. Originally published in French under the title Anatomie pour le mouvement, the book explains the different components of human anatomy and their relationship to the different movements of the human body. So the next time you are working on your stance in martial arts or your alignment in dance, you might hear the following words:

French English French English
la hanche hip le mollet calf
la jambe leg la cheville heel
la cuisse thigh l’orteil (m.) toe
le genou knee la voûte plantaire arch

Get Ready to Dance?

Of course, you cannot achieve proper alignment without paying attention to your upper body. Dance instructors are quick to tell you that the focus should not only be on the legs and feet, although many dancers obsess over these, but on the upper body, which is what the audience mainly sees anyway. They will often mention:

French English
le dos back
le tronc, le torse torso
l’épaule (f.) shoulder

Ballet instructors won’t refer to the derrière so much, except when they tell you not to stick it out, since it throws off your alignment, but it is a pretty self-explanatory word. Yoga instructors, on the other hand, may encourage a protrusion of the derrière for what they call a happy puppy-dog tail posture that allows for the natural curvature of the spine.        

Learning French Vocabulary about Body Parts and Movements
Indian classical dance | Source: Wikipedia

If you are studying Indian classical dance, be prepared to know the following, as facial expressions are important parts of the dance and can be very codified:

French English French English
la tête head la lèvre lip
le front forehead la joue cheek
l’œil, les yeux (m.) eye, eyes l’oreille (f.) ear
le nez nose le cou neck
la bouche mouth les cheveux (m.) hair

You’ll notice that the word cou is different from the word col, which Katharine uses in Henry the Fifth. The latter is an older, more literary term for the neck. You’ll also notice that the singular and plural forms of the word for eye are quite different, and that the word for hair is used in its plural form, which indicates a plural verb conjugation for any action having to do with hair. Hair definitely moves quite a lot and can be a part of choreography, as we see in ballets such as Giselle, when the title character goes mad with grief over the treachery of her lost love, loosens the hair of her bun, runs back and forth across the stage, and finally falls to the ground, dead from a broken heart.

Medical Terminology

A lot of medical terminology in English comes from Latin, the parent language of French, so many of the following should be recognizable to English speakers:

French English French English
le squelette skeleton le tendon tendon
le crâne skull le ligament ligament
le muscle muscle l’articulation (f.) joint
l’os (m.) bone la colonne vertébrale vertebra, back bone

The medical field uses many of the corresponding Latin terms for these, such as cranium for skull and the prefix osteo- for anything having to do with bones.

The Movements

The movements generated by the muscles in relation to the body include:

French English French English
latéral lateral horizontal horizontal
transversal transverse diagonal diagonal
sagittal sagittal circulaire circular
vertical vertical

As you can see, the French and English forms are quite similar.                

Directions of Movement

Directions of movement may include the following:

French English French English
en avant forward à l’envers upside-down
en arrière backward dessus over
en haut up dessous under
en bas down autour around
en tournant turning, rotating à travers through

When you are moving through space, these terms might come in handy:

French English French English
sauter jump voler fly
planer glide se baisser, se baisser la tête duck
marcher walk courir run
bondir, sautiller hop relever lift up
se déplacer sur la pointe des pieds tiptoe plier bend
glisser slide

When you are working with objects, such as blocks in martial arts, or creating acoustic sounds with your own hands and feet, you may use the following terms:

French English French English
donner un coup de pied kick claquer les doigts snap
frapper hit taper clap
tapoter tap piétiner stomp

Conclusion

Armed with these terms (heh), you should be able to navigate any kind of class in a francophone environment that involves kinetic knowledge. You will doubtless get visual aids from your instructor’s gestures when using these terms. If you still find that this is a lot to remember, just take a ballet class – all the ballet terms you’ve learned are French anyway.


You May Also Like:

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This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

Learning to Speak French with a Mask

I moved to France three years ago, speaking rusty high-school French and ready to live large.

But, as it turns out, what I learned 30 years ago in Mrs. Witte’s French class isn’t quite what they’re speaking on the streets of Paris today. It was rough. I embarrassed myself daily. But, with the frequent corrections from merchants and friends, and the classes I took at Alliance Française, my French improved. 

Two women sit on a bench by Paris's Canal St. Martin and speak to each other while wearing face masks.
Jamie Rolston

By the beginning of 2020, I was getting the hang of it. I stopped making mistakes like telling people “I’m horny” (“Je suis chaude”) instead of “I’m hot” (“J’ai chaud”). I could order food in restaurants (including specifics about done-ness and wine pairings). I could chit chat with friends about politics, movies, books, music. I even started to understand quick little sentences like “Hand me that thing” or “You ready to go?” from people who weren’t facing me. I still made a lot of mistakes, but my inhibitions were falling away. My confidence was growing.

One thing I couldn’t do, though, was talk on the phone.

Without eye contact, gestures, grimaces, and smiles, my French comprehension was terrible. That made me nervous, so my ability to express myself tanked during phone calls. I didn’t answer unknown numbers unless I was expecting a delivery or a repairman, letting calls go to voicemail and getting friends to interpret. If I had to make a call, I wrote out all the pertinent vocabulary first and rehearsed the conversation with whoever was around, pacing and deep breathing. It wasn’t a great system, but I got by.

Left: The sun sets in Paris, casting shadows from Parisian apartment balconies, Right: An empty street in Paris during the quiet summer month of August.
Jamie Rolston

Then Covid-19 happened. Now, we live in masks. And it’s like talking on the phone all the time.

Not only are there no smiles or grimaces or lip-reading, the French are also incredibly reserved in their body language. They’re not natural pointers. They don’t do charades. Shrugging is their most expressive gesture. 

And, they can’t hear me either. The mask muffles the sound, and I don’t have a very big voice anyway. Pardons and drawn-together eyebrows are frequent on both sides now.

People sit socially distanced from each other at outdoor tables at a café near Rue de Montorgueil in the center of Paris.
Jamie Rolston

This means every trip to the butcher is like a phone call, except I can point to the pork chops and hold up two fingers while I yell “deux côtes, s’il vous plaît.” When I need matching cheeses for my apéro tray, I only understand part of their explanation,“bluh bluh moins douce mais bluh bluh plus ageé bluh bluh bluh,“ so after a while I just point to whatever looks good. I can still order in restaurants because customers can take off their masks while seated. But, if the server has any tricky questions about choices of sides, or needs to tell me they’re out of something, it gets dicey.

Left: A woman wearing a face masks browses through books at a store in Paris, Right: A shot of Parisian balconies as seen from the street.
Coba Photography

So what’s a foreigner to do? There’s no chapter in my trusty Grammaire française book about masked conversations. Mrs. Witte never covered this in 10th grade. Even if speaking your native language is more challenging with a mask, the French don’t seem to be doing anything besides repeating themselves at the same volume and speed.

I guess I’ll just keep going. I’ll keep bugging my friends to explain all those idioms they use. I’ll keep reading French novels, scribbling new vocabulary in the margins. I’ll keep struggling through all that mail from the Préfecture, then running it through Google translate to see if I got it right.

A man wearing a face mask sits at a table in a café in central Paris.
Jamie Rolston

Because I wasn’t counting on a pandemic when I moved to France. It’s just not one of the challenges I thought I’d face. But here we are, floundering through this together. I’m still alive and healthy, as are my loved ones. So, maybe we’ll be patient with each other. Maybe we’ll repeat ourselves more often. Maybe I’ll learn to speak louder and enunciate.

And maybe I’ll get better at talking on the phone.

Written by Yvonne Hazelton Shao for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

The post Learning to Speak French with a Mask appeared first on HiP Paris Blog.

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Categories
french

What’s the best way to learn French online?

With the arrival of online language apps and platforms like Duolingo or Babbel, learning French (and other languages) slowly migrated from offline and in the classroom to online. And now you can find dozens of ways to learn French online, although some are better than others.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has changed our day-to-day lives, studying French in the traditional sense, in the classroom, has become somewhat difficult and for some people, impractical.

…so what’s the most effective way to learn French online?


As some students cannot travel easily because of travel restrictions many language schools, including French in Normandy made their programs accessible so you could learn French online from the comfort of your home.

French in Normandy has various online French courses available to you. Whether you want to study General French online for adults, take a Teacher Preparation Program, have a DELF exam that you need to prepare for online or you simply want to improve your Business French for better career prospects, French in Normandy has your needs covered. Our online courses are specially designed for the online environment so that you can learn efficiently and enjoyably. We have a whole school behind the scenes to support your learning.

How to choose the right type of online French course?

…+ 4 things to look for when choosing an online programme

Generally with French online learning, you can choose between a couple of main learning methods. The first one is self-taught using books, apps, videos or other resources and the second is teacher-taught, a structured program where your learning is guided by a professional teacher.

Below we will delve into the pros and cons of these options and give you 4 important things to consider so you can easily decide which way is the best way for you to learn French online.

Self-study system (books, apps and websites) 

The self-study online French courses are a good option for those that don’t want to have a predefined study schedule and where you can pick when you want to study, be that in the middle of the night. The self-study French online courses are ideal of highly independent students that like a good challenge and would prefer to master French on their own. These courses include Duolingo or Babbel (and many more) where aside from the main site, you can also study using their smartphone application while you’re “on the go”. Self-study only French courses have certain benefits:

  1. You can choose your level and take an assessment test to determine your level of French
  2. You can keep track of your progress through your profile
  3. Flexible weekly goals where you can study from 5 to 20 minutes per day
  4. Various checkpoint to keep track of the progress you made and modules you mastered
  5. The courses are visually heavy, meaning they work with a lot of images and visual content

Of course just like with everything else, it’s not all perfect. Self-study systems also have a few drawbacks:

  • Clarity – It’s not always straightforward how the courses work
  • Obstacles – If you want to study about a specific topic, some platforms won’t allow it until you complete the previous coursework
  • Context – Not all examples are appropriate, clear and common in real-life situations

Teacher-led online French courses 

On the other hand, precisely structured online French courses and programmes offer a schedule and study plan, follow up and correction by a real life teacher. The entire learning experience is different because you have a specific set of French lessons online that you will cover alongside a qualified French language teacher.

When you learn French online, for example through our General French Online Course you will not only cover the speaking portion of the French language, but also the other aspects i.e. writing, pronunciation and reading. This way, you will also learn French and learn about certain grammar rules that apply in every situation. It’s a well-rounded learning experience. Furthermore, your teachers are native French speakers and you get a chance to ask questions and have conversation in real time. Since our programmes offer guided learning, online French courses are mostly suited for those that want to progress in a quick and structured way using real life interactions in French with a native speaker.

So to summarize the benefits of taking a teacher-led online French course:

  1. Best suited for beginners that have no previous knowledge
  2. Ideal for students that need guidance and detailed instructions
  3. Covers all aspects of the French language
  4. Working at your own pace and repeat the study material
  5. Online French courses led by native French speakers
  6. Ability to ask questions and get your questions answered on the spot

Of course, French language lessons online aren’t perfect either:

  1. During group sessions the background noise of some students can be distracting
  2. Groups French lessons online tend to be adjusted to fit the schedules of the majority
  3. Large groups can actually hinder your chances to perfect your language skills
  4. After a certain level, you don’t notice fast progress as before

4 things to look for in an online French course

Ever since travel options have been reduced and your plan to travel somewhere French-speaking in order to learn the language have failed, people around the world have turned to online learning in order to broaden their horizons and learn new skills.

With this drastic shift to online French learning, everyone with a solid foundation of French thinks that they are qualified to teach others, but unfortunately that’s not the case. So in order to make sure that you’re getting the best for your budget, you need to have some criteria when you want to learn French online. Here are 4 things to look for when choosing an online French course.


1. Qualified teachers for French lessons online

Good results from students isn’t the only thing that makes a French language school successful, far from it. The teacher’s commitment to teaching and high quality education makes the difference.

Well-founded and organized online French courses and experienced teachers are important, because it’s not enough to know how to use Zoom or Skype in order to teach French online.

In order for someone to be good at teaching French (or any other subject really) their interpretation of the subject and lessons should be warm and personal, to look and feel like in-class teaching as much as possible, there are many important characteristics of a good language teacher that you should look out for when choosing an online French learning programme.

Furthermore, the teacher not only has to be skilled on how to teach French online, but they also need to be really, really good at French. This is because aside from the theory and rules of French that they must pass on to the students, they should also teach them how to use French in real-life situation that also can include some colloquial language, understanding what certain phrases or proverbs mean. Not something that you will find in every textbook.

2. Personal Attention

You should look for courses that offer personalized instruction and language lessons that will target your specific goals. After all, not every student wants to achieve the same thing, some students will want to learn the basics for personal interest and others will have professional or academic reasons for learning French. French in Normandy teachers will work to understand your goals and help you achieve them at a pace that is suitable to your timeline.  At French in Normandy, your success is our success.

3. Technology & Security

Schools should be a safe place and should provide cutting edge teaching methods and technology. And even though you’re not technically attending French lessons in Normandy, that doesn’t mean that the tools and software that you’re using during your online French course, shouldn’t be modern, safe and secure.

Once the Covid-19 pandemic started to surge many schools and businesses switched to video conferencing like Zoom. This later on, created some problems regarding security but it was resolved quickly thereafter.

When you’re looking for a school with whom you want to learn French online, make sure that they use up-to-date and secure software that is easy to use, accessible and will help and not hinder your learning experience.

4. Word of mouth

Just like when you’re picking the accommodation for your next vacation or when you’re choosing your next smartphone, reviews are a priceless source of information. The same goes for online French courses. People who had great experiences are likely to share their happiness online as a form of gratitude but also to persuade others to make the same choice they have. The same goes if they had a bad experience, when they want to prevent other people from making the same mistake they did.

You can learn a lot from reviews like how efficient and engaging the lessons are, how pleasant and helpful are the teachers and how much will you have to spend for the course.

So even though the current health crisis might look unprecedented and unpredictable, that should not discourage you from working on yourself and broadening your horizons. Learning new skills is a great way to keep your mind sharp and to catch a breath from the not-so-pleasant news you hear every now and then.

If you’re thinking about improving your French language skills, then French in Normandy is definitely the right place to start. All our in-person French language courses are also available online, so you can choose between General French online, DELF online exam preparation and even Teacher Training online.

For more details, make sure to contact us and let us know your questions.

The post What’s the best way to learn French online? appeared first on French in Normandy.

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