French can be a challenging language to learn. Even for English speakers, who speak a fairly similar tongue, French is full of challenges. Most people learn French in the classroom through listening and repeating exercises. While these can be effective, they’re also downright boring. Their principal shortcoming is that they actually make learning one of the most fascinating and beautiful of European languages into a chore that can bore the daylights out of even the most focused and dedicated students. There are much better ways to learn French than by repeating phrases over and over.
It’s much easier to listen and learn French than it is to repeat and rewrite sample phrases. Listening is the foundation to acquiring any new language. By listening to materials such as stories, students will be able to develop the ability to tell where one word ends and the next starts, to understand the accents of native speakers and to hear for themselves how native speakers actually pronounce words in a real life setting. This is enormously useful and effective where learning a new language is concerned. It’s also engaging enough to be fun for the students.
One of the tricks if you want to learn French fast is to create a reward for your work. When you listen to a story, you are rewarded with increasing comprehension of what’s going on in the action and what the characters are saying to one another. This makes it much more gratifying to pick up new words and phrases as students learn them in a context. The words become living, breathing things instead of just answers to a quiz or parts of a homework assignment. Language, to be understood, must be heard over and over again, sometimes without the student making an effort to repeat the words they hear.
This also avoids the pitfall of moving toward writing too soon. Listening and learning French is more effective than reading and writing it right away. While French has its own alphabet, it uses many of the same characters as English. This means that students will tend to misread words and, thus, that they’ll hear those words pronounced incorrectly in their heads when they try to read them. This can lead to problems with pronunciation in the future and, where learning languages is concerned, addressing bad habits such as these can be very hard.
Dr.Dennis Dunham has over 25 years in international education experience and is a co-creator of LanguageandLyrics.com, a website designed to help you learn French the right way. If you’ve tried every language product out there and haven’t made progress, visit LanguageandLyrics.com to see how learning French can be easy and fun.