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How to Learn French Fast

Three Parts:Beginner's FrenchImmersing Yourself in FrenchLearning Useful Phrases

French is a beautiful language and a good one to know. Learning a language can be difficult, however, but with this article will give you a quick overview that should have you conversing in French in no time!

Part 1
Beginner's French

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    Know your learning style. Are you a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner? This means do you learn best through looking at the words yourself, through hearing them spoken to you, or through listening and seeing and associating actions or feelings with them.[1]
    • If you've learned languages before, go back over how you learned them and see what worked for you and what didn't.
    • In most classroom settings you will do a lot of writing, but less speaking. Speaking the language and immersing yourself in it is extremely important and a way to become more efficient at the language more quickly.
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    Memorize 30 words and phrases each day. In 90 days, you'll have learned about 80% of the language. The most common words make up the greatest percent of interactions, so start by memorizing the most common words.
    • Make sure that you keep practicing the words you've used previously, so you don't forget them as you memorize new words.
    • The top ten most common French words are: être (to be, being), avoir (to have), je (I), de (of, from, by, than, in, with), ne (not), pas (not; step, pace), le (the; him, it (referring to a masculine singular noun)), la (the; her, it (referring to a feminine singular noun)), tu (you), vous (you, yourself).[2]
    • Label everything in your house with the French word and make sure you say the words out loud whenever you read them.
    • Make yourself flash cards and use them when you're on the bus, during commercials while you're watching t.v. or whenever you have a bit of downtime.
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    Learn the structure of the language. Learn how the verbs work with nouns and with each other. Things that you learn in the beginning of French make more sense as you become more proficient in the language. Look at things like how the pronunciation works.
    • Grammar is incredibly important to learning a language. To speak it properly, you'll need to understand how verbs work, how present, past, and future tenses work, and how genders work with nouns. We say things forward in English e.x. The bathroom, whereas the french (and the rest of the world) say things backward, taking longer to say it e.x. the room of bath.
    • Learn pronunciation. This is especially important with French, where to English speakers, the written words look nothing like the spoken language. For instance, French has vowels like "eau" which is pronounced "o" or "oi" which is pronounced "wa."[3] You will need to know how these pronunciations work.

Part 2
Immersing Yourself in French

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    Read and write in French. To familiarize yourself with the language, you'll need to read and write in it. This will help you use the words you've been memorizing and keep them in your head.
    • Children's books are a great place to start when learning to read any language. Since they help children learn their native language they are a great way for someone learning the language can get a handle on reading it.
    • Another idea is to find your favorite books in French. This will help keep your interest and will help you decipher the text since you already know the plot. It's good to start simple, since a too-challenging book at the start of your learning will only frustrate you.[4]
    • Keep a French journal. Even if you only write a few sentences in it every day, it will help show you how much you've improved and will give you a chance to practice the language.
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    Listen to things in French. Put on some French music, or your favorite movie dubbed in French. Seek out French cinema, and French television shows and radio stations. Practice imitating what you're hearing.
    • Many polyglots (folks who know more than one language) swear by the "shadowing" technique for learning a language quickly. Go outside and put your headphones on. While you play the language, walk briskly. As you're walking repeat out loud and clearly what you're hearing. Repeat, march, repeat. This will help you connect movement with the language and to retrain your focus so that you aren't obsessing about memorization.[5]
    • Listening to natural French speakers will help you get a handle on how quickly French is spoken and how the intonation works. The more you listen, the better you will get.
    • In the beginning, while you're watching a movie, have the French subtitles on so you can better follow along with the dialogue and can start to see how the words you've been reading act when spoken.
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    Speak in French. This is one of the most important components to learning French. You have to speak the language, even if you feel embarrassed by how little you know. Everyone starts off not speaking well, but with practice you'll improve.
    • Find a penpal, or skype buddy who speaks French as their native language. There are lots of programs over the internet or through colleges and local language schools that can set people up with people who speak French.
    • Don't be upset by critique of your pronunciation. Instead, thank the critic and work on improving
    • Talk out loud to yourself in French. Narrate what you're doing. If you're doing the dishes, or driving a car, talk about that. Pay attention to your intonation and pronunciation.
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    Practice frequently. Without practicing what you learn, you're not going to get very far. Even learning a language quickly takes a certain amount of commitment and time. As long as you work hard and practice what you're learning, there's no reason for you not to learn French well!
    • Think in French. Set aside time during the day to practice thinking in French.Go to the grocery store and think about the items in the store and the conversations you have with people. Practice reworking those interactions into French.[6]
    • Turn your Facebook (or other social media) settings to French. You still know where everything is, but it makes you have to practice what you're learning in a practical manner.
    • Don't give up! Sometimes it can seem like you're never going to get it, but you will. As long as you practice and vary your learning methods, there's no reason for you to not learn French.

Part 3
Learning Useful Phrases

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    Learn greetings and goodbyes. These are useful phrases and words to start with, since most people begin their interaction, and end their interaction in similar ways. The "zh" in the following pronunciation guides sounds like "j" and "sh" mixed together.
    • "Bonjour" which means "Hello" is pronounced "bohn-zhoor."
    • "Je m'appelle..." means "My name is..." and is pronounced "zhuh mah-pehl."
    • "Au revoir" means "goodbye" and is pronounced "oh-reh-vwar."
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    Learn how to ask for help. This is important particularly if you need the other speaker to speak more slowly or to repeat themselves. Make sure to look up the individual words while you're practicing, as the English translation and the French meaning can be different.
    • "Parlez lentement" means "Please speak slowly" and is pronounced "par-lay lehn-ta-mohn."
    • "Je ne comprends pas" means "I don't understand" and is pronounced "zhuh nuh kohn-prahn pah."
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    Remember to thank the people who help you. Say "merci" or "merci beaucoup" which mean "thank you" or "thank you very much."


  • Some people are naturally good language learners and some aren't. Don't use this as an excuse.
  • Once you have quite a wide vocabulary, you can start translating things you see every day in your native language. You might listen to a song and as you are doing this, start thinking about the words and tenses you would need to translate this into French. The same can be said for road signs, menus or even conversations. Although this might sound tedious, sometimes you'll think of a word in your native language and realize you don't know the French equivalent. This is a good way to keep your skills up and to make sure you don't forget things.


  • Use your French or you will lose it.
  • If you get a word wrong, pardon yourself and try again calmly.

Article Info

Categories: French