Learning a new language is not an easy task. It requires constancy, hard work and willingness to speak and to learn from mistakes.
As we explained in our post “Why immersion courses are the best way to learn French”, French is the 5th language most widely spoken in the world, taking into account the number of countries in which French is an official language.
There is no doubt that the French language has a bright future ahead, it is spoken in the 5 continents and is an official language in the EU and the UN. The advantages of learning French are endless: professional, academic and personal. And for people lucky enough to speak a language coming from Latin, French becomes easier to learn.
However, there are certain tricks and methods we shall take into account to make our dream of learning French a reality:
1. Be patient, my friend
As the famous proverb says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Time makes perfection, and it happens when learning a new language as well. When deciding to learn French, you’ll first feel excited and thrilled to dive into a new world, and you’ll probably learn fast. You can start by taking a French for beginners course. After some time though, you may feel stuck as if your progress had stopped. Don’t worry, this is completely normal.
Our brain needs time to get used to the new formulas and expressions, don’t forget that learning a new language is a fantastic and at the same time challenging brain exercise. If you’re in this phase, it’ll pass, and even though you may think you’re not learning any more you are, you just need to keep pushing forward.
After this phase is when you’ll truly start seeing the outcomes of your learning. And if you get frustrated cause you’re not capable of speaking yet, think about when we were kids, before we are able to speak we need to be able to understand what we are being told!
2. Speak as much as you can
If you go to France to learn French in an immersion course, try to speak French as much as you can. With the baker, the waiter, your friends, the cashier…try to make the most out of every opportunity of learning. Feeling shy is normal, we may feel embarrassed to make mistakes in public but remember that that is the only way of learning.
When in France, if you speak with French people, you’ll see that even though making mistakes they’ll feel happy and appreciate the fact that a foreigner is trying their hardest to learn their language and know more about their culture. And if you speak broken French that is a good start: it means that now you know more languages than just your native one.
3. The more input, the more output
This is related to the second point. The more input (incoming information) you receive, the more output (information you produce) you’ll be able to produce. That is not limited to speaking, but to every area of languages competencies. Languages learning are divided into 4 main competencies: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Therefore try to read as much as you can in French, usually in libraries you’ll be able to find books starting from A1 (even audio books) to make the process of reading in French a satisfying one. As it happens with listening and speaking, in order to write we first need to read, so the more you read the more vocabulary and grammatical constructions you’ll be able to use in your texts.
About listening, when in France you’ll be hearing French all the time, and you can also watch series and movies to learn more about French accents, formulas, and expressions. And finally, time to speak out! you’ll not regret it.
4. Try to avoid translation
Many students usually try to make comparisons between their native language and the language they are trying to learn. This is completely normal, in the end, we all want to find something similar to what we know. Though it may be part of the normal brain process, at a certain point translation can interfere in your learning.
When we try to apply our grammatical constructions and vocabulary to another language we may find they do not correspond, and more mistakes may arise. That is why teachers at Lutece Langue school don’t translate during lessons, for your learning process to be the most successful one.
5. And the last but not the least…enjoy!
Studies show that in second languages acquisition a very important point is motivation. The more motivated you’re, the better and faster you’ll learn. Learning a new language is a beautiful and enriching process. Also, remember that the first step when learning a new language is always making a decision. And if you’re reading this it means that you’ve already made it. Congratulations!