Self-tutoring in French

By: Freya Papadakis

 Although it would be best to find a proper French tutor to help you in learning and effectively mastering the French language, it doesn't mean that there isn't anything you can do on your own to help your tutor out. In fact, with enough diligence, some people actually manage to learn languages all by themselves using some of these modern-day tools of the trade. These to-dos are recommended for those times when you want to practice French outside of your tutorial sessions, just to add to what you're being taught.

Watch French movies. Yes, the world of multi-media has long been upon us so you might as well make it educational. You can start out by watching French films with the subtitles in English (or in your preferred native language if they have it) and then eventually move on to watching French films in their original French. With enough movies, you'd actually be surprised at how well you can follow the storyline even without understanding most of the dialogue. And you'll find yourself picking up phrases, and even sentences in French that will help you. Besides, French films are said to be quite good, and who knows, you might learn more than just language by watching them.

You know how sometimes, even when you don't like a song but you hear it often enough, you realize you've memorized it already? That's right. The next tip is to listen to French music. Choose the songs that have lyrics, of course. Begin by using one album, or even just three to five songs. Keep the CD in your stereo at home, download it onto your handy music players and play them as often as you can. You can even keep them on while you're asleep and your subconscious will continue picking it up. When you think you've had just about enough of the songs, you'll find out that you can sing them out loud, word for word. Make sure you brush up on what the songs mean before you start this project, though.

Go to a restaurant. Ask for the menu and practice saying the dish and drink names quietly. Order in French, if you can, or ask your waiter how to pronounce the items you aren't sure about. While waiting or while eating (unless you're with friends), you can read a book in French. Sure, you probably won't understand most of it and you'll end up asking yourself what exactly happened, but it's good for your vocabulary. Make sure you have a handy French dictionary with you so you can look words up as you read.

One of the best things you can do is to find someone else aside from your tutor who speaks French. It has been an observation that language-learning happens best when students have the chance to practice what they are being taught. If you happen to know another person who is learning French, try getting him or her to talk to you in French, even for the most mundane things like asking each other about the weather or how to go to the restroom. Using the French you are learning in your daily life will help you a lot to remember it for a longer period of time, plus you get to exercise your tongue as you pronounce French words.

If you want an actual French tutor, or are looking to teach French, visit

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