Learn to Speak French

By: Will Riley

There is no wizardry in learning any new language, other than practice and immersion. The very greatest of teachers and lessons will be for nothing if it isn't followed up with listening to dialogs or conversing in the language. So the greatest way to follow through when learning , whether it's French classes or online French courses, is to actually go out and speak French.

Before such a step is undertaken though, there are easy tips and tricks to make the learning process more fun, easy and effective, and will surely help to learn French fast. Especially crucial are those tips if a student has no physical teacher and decides to learn French online; less supervision means a greater need for self-reliance, thus the importance of adding a little je ne sais quoi to the process.

First, take a look at what you don't need to learn. English and French share a large number of cognates, or words that have the same origin and spelling in either language, like Orange, Abandon or Ratio. Once you've listed and established how much is already in your vocabulary, you'll only need to master the right pronunciation, which brings us back to listening and speaking.

Second, use these cognates to go even further, by reading short newspaper and magazine articles in French. Many words will be easy to guess while others will feel like ciphers. Make a list of the words you can't figure out, look them up after reading, and then read again with your new perspective. A faster and easier way to do this would be to read a bilingual book, where each page is usually translated right on the next.

Third helpful trick, when the first two have helped bring comfort and confidence, is to watch a familiar movie in French translation. Depending on the region, DVDs will oftentimes allow for French audio tracks or subtitles. Even better is to watch with the French track and English subtitles to avoid constant pause-pressing while reaching for the dictionary. Once the speech pattern sets in, try the same thing on another film, without the subtitles.

The best way to learn French fast is to do it at one's own pace, which of course applies to the preceding tips as well. And if the choice is to learn French online, things might then be easier when practicing becomes crucial, as it can be also be done online by conversing with others through chat rooms, forums, emails and instant messaging. Just make sure to let them know you're there to learn how to speak French.

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