# 1 Analyze your competence and needs in French language

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“Know yourself”

We all know that language is a tool to communicate and that 4 elements comprise communication: speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

The notion of “production-comprehension” abilities and “output-input” activities is another way to understand these elements of communication:

“OUTPUT” activities
“INPUT” activities
Production abilities
you create phrases.
*Speaking (Oral production)
* Writing (Written production)

Comprehension abilities :
you understand the phrases created by others.
*Listening (Oral comprehension)
*Reading (Written comprehension)

Competence in these elements is inter-related. Analyze your needs and objectives in learning French language and check your competence in these four areas. This first step of learning helps you:

Maintain a balance of competence in the four skills of French language. It’s important that you not become a superb reader of French, for instance, when you can hardly express yourself verbally. You should strive to keep a balance in these four areas as you learn.

Choose an effective approach at different phases of learning. If you have a weak area, for example, you can focus on it to improve your overall level. Is your writing sub-par? French language can be very difficult to write correctly. Don’t worry. Practice it and check your progress, focusing on practical writing, such as letters, emails and technical writing for your area of work or interest.

Develop an efficient system to learn in French language. You will avoid fruitless effort and wasting time, which can happen if you work on the wrong skills. If you have a high oral comprehension level, you don’t need to do extra exercises in that area. Work instead on your speaking abilities.

Some students complain, for example, that they can’t improve their speaking skills even though they understand French grammar very well. These students sometimes spend lots of time mastering grammar and little time in the practice of speaking. For them, our advice is simple: change your learning strategy and spend much more time reinforcing oral production. Overall, many learners of other languages fare well on the input activities described above. You will need to make a conscious effort to improve your output activities as well and achieve a balance of competence in these four areas.

 

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