Today, I'm in a generous mood because I'm going to share with you my 5 tips to progress in French. There are thousands of tips and tricks to improve your French. I am going to share with you the ones that I personally find the best. These are tips that have worked for me in my language learning. And they have also worked for my French students, tips that I have given them and that they have put into practice. Take advantage of the introduction to subscribe and activate the bell and let's go!
1. Know yourself!
How to progress quickly in French? How long does it take to go from one level to another in French? How long does it take to become bilingual in French? I want to learn French quickly, help me!
I get hundreds of messages like this every day.
It's frustrating, but I always answer the same thing: the best person to answer these questions is yourself.
I don't know your mother tongue, I don't know your current level of French, I don't know your learning style, your mnemonic skills, I don't know how much time you have for French, I don't know your goals, your motivation. I don't know if you learn alone or with a private teacher.
I don't know these parameters and it is these parameters mainly that give an idea of how long it takes to progress in French.
And again, this is not an exact science. Learning French is very personal. It is a process that is different for everyone. There is no ONE way to learn French. There is no magic formula to become bilingual overnight in French.
Just because someone has made incredible progress with flashcards, for example, doesn't mean it will work for you.
You are the sole actor in your learning of French.
You are the only person who knows, who feels if something is working for you. Because you know yourself better than anyone else. Normally.
So, my first advice is: Know yourself!
Socrates himself said so!
It's a piece of advice that may seem silly, simple, but I don't see many people applying it. It is very rare.
And this is a piece of advice that can be applied at all levels and that is fundamental.
If, for example, you have a visual memory, there is no real point in listening to vocabulary lists. And conversely, if you have an auditory memory, flashcards may not be the best idea.
As for me, I know that language applications like Duolinguo or Babbel are not for me at all. I tried it, I didn't progress, it bored me so I stopped. But, maybe it works for you.
There is no right or wrong way to learn French. In fact, one bad way to learn French is to choose a method that doesn't suit you.
When I give private lessons, the first hour with a student is not a lesson, no, because it makes no sense to give a lesson to a student you don't know. The first hour with a new student, we get to know each other. I call it the discovery session. It's an hour offered where the teacher, someone from my team or I get to know the student. We get to know the student so that we can offer him or her the most complete support possible, adapted to the student and his or her personality.
It's important to know yourself in order to progress in French, and to progress in life in general. Ask yourself questions like :
What are my goals?
How much time can I devote to French?
How does my memory work? Do I memorize by sight, by hearing, by my senses?
What do I like? What do I dislike?
What are my weaknesses? My strengths?
What worked for me when I was in school? How did I learn?
Am I self-directed and self-taught? Or do I like it when someone helps me understand something?
So, I said that learning is unique and not all advice is applicable to everyone. But, there is still one tip that works for everyone and brings real results. Practice!
I want to improve my oral expression: Speak!
I want to improve my writing skills: Write!
I want to improve my listening skills: Listen!
I want to improve my reading skills: Read!
Honestly, there is no secret. You want to improve these skills, so practice them. It's as simple as that.
No, but wait, I want to improve my speaking QUICKLY
This "quickly" bothers me. You learn a language with your brain. The brain is a muscle, it needs time and rest to assimilate knowledge.
⚠️ Fast can means bad, be careful.
After that, there is no secret. If you want to make rapid progress in speaking, if you want to succeed in doing something that requires a lot of time in a short period of time, the only solution I see is to devote all your time to it.
Practice for hours a day and then, yes you will improve your speaking quickly. But, it's impossible to progress quickly, if you don't have a lot of time to do it.
3. Immerse yourself in the language
To progress in French, you must immerse yourself in the language. It is important to be completely immersed in the French language
"Yes, but it's not possible to immerse yourself in the language if you don't live in France"
Yes, it's possible!
By experience, I can assure you that it is not because you are expatriating to France that you will necessarily progress in French.
Once again, it's a question of personality and motivation.
You can immerse yourself in the French language without living in a French-speaking country. There are plenty of ways to do it: put your phone and computer in French, watch series and movies in French, listen to music in French, watch or read the news in French, make your shopping list in French.
You can do everything in French!
You want to cook? Find the recipe in French and cook in French. Yes, it's true, it might be a little more difficult and it might take a little more time. But hey, it takes what it takes.
4. Use authentic French
So my fourth tip goes with the third tip. Immerse yourself in the French language, but immerse yourself in authentic French.
If you want to progress in French, use authentic French. It's really important if you want to understand French from the French.
You can find content on the Internet that is made for French learners where the words are simple, the speed of speech is very slow. This is often the content you find in French textbooks that are not modern. It's true, it's easier for you to understand. However, you will have a huge gap between the French you have heard and the French you will hear in France. Therefore, you will feel completely discouraged.
On the other hand, if from the beginning of your learning and even now you get used to listening to authentic French, you will progress much faster, and you will already be used to real French. Yes, it's more difficult, it is true, to understand authentic French. But, once you've taken this step, you'll be more confident in French.
Personally, I'm a big fan of authentic French.
That's why when I make videos, when I speak to my students, I don't change the way I speak so that you get authentic French.
I also use only authentic French in the courses I teach. The videos, the articles, the podcast excerpts that I use in my courses are 100% authentic.
5. Learn from your mistakes
Last but not least, learn from your mistakes.
If you want to progress in French, this is an advice that you must apply.
This advice also goes with the first one: to learn from your mistakes, it is important to know yourself. You don't necessarily have the chance to know what mistakes you make in French. So, you can know by your feeling what you need to work on. For example, if you feel uncomfortable with the comparative: Luc is taller than he is. Julie is as smart as her sister. Etc. Practice it thoroughly!
If you work with a teacher, he or she will correct you, perhaps noting your recurring mistakes. This is a very good opportunity to know what you need to improve and therefore to progress.
I mentioned recurring mistakes, this is also very important.
Don't work on all the mistakes you are going to make, no you have to select them. You will sometimes make careless mistakes and these mistakes are not necessarily worth working on.
On the other hand, the mistakes that come up a lot, like saying all the time "It's better". Well, work on it!
Make a list of phrases and repeat them every day for a while: I cook better than my boyfriend. It's better to be in France in spring than in winter. Etc.
And as I said in my first tip, you know yourself better than anyone else so use the best method for you to work on and retain that for the long term.
If after your work, you don't make this mistake anymore, then the result is that you have progressed.
Mistakes should not be seen as a bad thing. On the contrary, they are very useful. Mistakes are an indicator of progress.
You no longer make mistakes on a certain point in French. Result = you have progressed.
You make a mistake on a certain point in French. Result = you know what you need to improve in order to progress.
I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷