How can I finally learn French?

After 15 years of teaching French and learning 4 languages, I discovered the best method to learn a language.

1. Start by learning useful French: learn phrases you use in everyday life and put them into a context. If you just learn words on their own, you tend to forget them quickly, but if you use them in a context, you remember them more easily. Don’t hesitate to speak out loud, or to yourself to practice.

For example, when I take my shower in the morning, I’ll say in Italian (which is the language I’m learning at the moment), “I am going to have a shower” ( in French is ” Je vais prendre une douche”), “I take the soap” (“je prends le savon”), “I take the shampoo” (“Je prends le shampooing”), “I wash my hair” (” je me lave les cheveux”), “I brush my teeth” (“je me brosse les dents”).

And practice regularly until it becomes natural.

Start with 2 or 3 simple sentences. Our brains can’t retain more than 4/5 pieces of information at a time. We retain 80% of what we experience, 10% of what we read and 20% of what we hear, this is why it’s so important to practice.

2. Use a vocabulary notebook. And write down some simple sentences like the one I mentioned above or phrases like, “je voudrais une pomme” (I would like an apple), “est-ce que je peux avoir une banane?” ( “can I have a banana?”). And practice these sentences as often as possible.

3. Learn the common verbs. In your notebook, create simple sentences with the 10 more common verbs in any languages like to be (etre), have (avoir), do/ make (faire), must/have to (devoir), go (aller), take (prendre), come (venir), can (pouvoir), and want (vouloir). you can write sentences like ” je vais travailler” ( I am going to work ), ” je dois partir” ( I must go)..

Read these words again before you go to bed.

4. Write a diary in French. Everyday, take 5 mn, to write anything about what you have done during the day in French. If you don’t know the words, look on Google or a dictionary and try to make sentences.

5. Immerse yourself in the language: One of the most effective ways to learn French is to surround yourself with the language. This can include watching French movies or videos like TV5 monde (a great way to start is by watching Netflix with the subtitles first in your own language then put the subtitles in French when you become more confident). You can also listen to French music or podcasts, read French books or news articles, and speak with native French speakers.

6. Take a French course: Enrolling in a French course can provide you with structured learning, access to a teacher, and opportunities to practice with other learners. You can take courses online or in person, depending on your preferences.

7. Use language learning apps: There are many language learning apps available that can help you learn French. Some popular options include Duolingo, Babbel, Rocket Languages and Rosetta stone.

8. Practice regularly: Consistency is key when learning a new language. Try to practice French for at least a few minutes each day, whether it is through listening, reading, writing, or speaking. Some of my students use Frantastic which is a great website who sends you daily emails with a 10mn fun French video suitable to your level.

9. Find a language exchange partner: You can find language exchange partners through websites or apps like Italki or HelloTalk. This will give you the opportunity to practice speaking with a native French speaker and learn more about French culture.

Remember, learning a new language takes time and dedication. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and to practice regularly. Bonne chance!