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5 tips on learning French

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 December 2014

Watching French TV is a great way to learn the language © Fotolia

Watching French TV is a great way to learn the language © Fotolia

Maria Pavlova

One of the most common tips given by expats in France in to learn the language so we’ve thought of 5 tips for learning French

1. Communicate with native speakers

The best way to learn a language is to take every opportunity you can to communicate with native language speakers. If you’ve yet to make the move, take a look at the Alliance Française’s French circles across the UK (cercles.alliancefrancaise.org.uk). Equally, there are many online language learning forums where you can communicate in French with other learners. See www.how-to-learn-any-language.com, www.french-chat.com and www.french.about.com

2. Change your mindset

Adopting a can-do attitude is crucial, especially for those who’ve felt that weren’t very good at French at school. Forget any negative comments you have been told in the past; the truth is that anyone can learn a new language at any time in life, if they want to. Benny Lewis, author of Fluent in 3 Months(Harper Collins, 2014) says that success in language learning “relies heavily on facing challenges with the right mentality, having motivation and passion, and sticking to the learning process until you charge through the ‘brick wall’” (p.19).

3. Socialise

Take every opportunity you can to socialise with your neighbours. Invite them over for drinks; offer produce from your garden, etc. If you have children, the school gates are a prime place to meet and talk to other parents at your child’s school. Consider getting involved in school fundraising events, after-school clubs and helping in school trips. Not only will the school be grateful for the additional help, you will improve your French and make friends too.

4. Use free content

There are several websites that offer free language-learning content. Our favourites are www.coffeebreakfrench.com, www.bbc.co.uk/languages and www.busuu.com. Equally, there are many free apps for smartphones and tablets such as Duolingo. The French Institut’s Culturethèque site is free to register and offers a wide range of French ebooks, films, audio books, lectures, documentaries and plays. Visit www.culturetheque.org.uk

5. Wach/listen to TV and radio

Tuning into French television and having the radio on in the background are not only useful ways to find out what is going on where you live, but will improve your audio-linguistic skills. Watch French programmes with the subtitles on to help you understand what is going on.

Worried about integrating into your local community? Read our 5 tips on making friends in France

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