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Whether you’ve fallen in love with the French language or you are preparing a trip to Paris: It’s proven that learning French is one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers! Isn’t it fantastic news and very motivating?
However, a bit of input and inspiration can’t do any harm, right? Especially if you are not living in a French-speaking country and are lacking the occasion to practice your new skill.
In this post, I will give you 23 ideas on how you can integrate French language practice into your daily life, your routines, and even make new (French) friends along the way.
Change the language of your appliances
I am repeating myself but the more you are exposed to a new language, the higher are chances of success. Changing your phone, TV, or PC language to french might be confusing in the beginning, but you’ll get the hang of it and learn plenty of new vocabulary in the meanwhile. Maybe just note down how to change the language back to your mother tongue in case it’s not working out haha.
Read easy books or stories in French
It requires an advanced language level to read Harry Potter in French, but you also can start very small with texts that are aiming at first-grade children. Check the links below for resources:
Learn French with an app
That’s probably the most straightforward method of learning a new language without investing much time, money, and effort. There are tons of free apps out there that support you in learning French.
My favorite app for learning French is Duolingo. The basic version of the app is free, and so are you on deciding how much time you want to invest each day in learning French. Pick something between 5 and 20 minutes, and you get a tailored program – that is actually quite entertaining!
Join French lunches or evenings!
In many bigger cities, you’ve got groups that are interested in learning a certain language. These groups meet for drinks or lunch to practice or refresh their language skills. Just search on Google for “French speakers in xxx” and see if a group exists near you.
Hire an online teacher
Learning French with a teacher is probably most promising regarding success and commitment! It’s definitely great support, especially if you need guidance and simply feel better having a real person to talk to. If attending a school is not an option, there are many online courses out there.
Get a tandem partner
Tandems are groups of 2 students where each speaks the language the other one wants to learn. Usually, they meet in person or online and speak half of the time in one, and the other half the other language. The biggest upside of the tandem method is that they are mainly focusing on communication, and you get used to talking French right away.
Watch your favorite series in French or with French subtitles/English subtitles
As more you are exposed to a foreign language, the better it is. Why not switching French subtitles on when watching a movie next time. Or watch it in French with subtitles in your mother tongue.
Did you know that it is very common in France to watch OV of movies with French subtitles? Even for people that don’t speak English at all!
Anyway, if you are keen, you also could get a Chrome browser extension that unlocks special features on Netflix to support your language learning training. For example bilingual subtitles, modifiable playback speed, etc.
Listen to French music
Follow french influencers on Instagram, YouTube, twitch, Facebook…
Depending on what you are into, you could follow french influencers on Social Media.
Use flashcards to memorize vocabularies
Yes, good old flashcards. Probably you are holding “fond” souvenirs from back in the days when being in school… but you know what – they work!
Already preparing them is a first step direction of memorizing the vocabulary and if you keep them handy, you can use them several times a day whenever you have a free minute – while waiting for the bus, your coffee being ready or the traffic moving on. You can either create them by yourself or you can buy a set of Flashcards with the most important words. Click the link to know more!
Have a serious conversation – with an imaginary friend
This sounds admittedly very odd, but it actually helped me a lot to built sentences and memorize phrases. I just made up conversations with imaginary people about different topics. However, it’s of course not substituting real conversations, but it certainly helps to pull out what you’ve learned.
Translate French songs
Once you found a song you like, get the lyrics (just google them) and translate them. Don’t use Google Translate but a dictionary and work through the song until you understood it!
If you are struggling to find songs, check the French top 50 on Spotify or one of the songs below:
La Tendresse – Symphonie Confinée
Quelqu’un m’a dit – Carla Bruni
Sur ma route – Black M
La vie en rose – Edith Piaf
Learn some basic phrases and vocabulary and alternate them
That’s a good method to help you navigate through daily life in Paris. Learn a few sentences that you can use like Lego blocks.
Je vourdrais… (un café, une bière, une baguette, un billet…)
Ou est… (le Louvre, la Seine, le bar …, le Metro…)
A good book to start is the Rick Steves French Phrase Book & Dictionary (Rick Steves Travel Guide), check it out!
Follow French news
Thanks to the internet, you can follow French news from wherever you are. Just check popular French news magazines like leparisien.fr or lemonde.fr, pick an article, and work on it until you understood what it’s about. Check vocabularies, read it out loud, read it quietly, google.
Read French forums or localized Facebook pages
There are tons of french message boards out there! But if forums aren’t your thing, you also could switch the language on pages you like on Facebook to see their local versions. It’s not applying to every page, but many big brands have localized pages.
To change the region, go to the page, click the 3 points next to the “like” and “follow” button and click on “switch region”
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
That’s actually the most important. Don’t bother too much about how you say something but be happy and see it as a BIG success if you are being understood. Language is not about perfection or pointing out mistakes and flaws: it’s a tool to communicate with other human beings. As long as this target is met, you’re nailing it!
I know the Frenchies are having a reputation of being a bit stiff when it comes to languages, but I can assure you, they are to most lovelies and accommodating folks if they feel you’re making an effort. A simple “bonjour” can already change everything.
Cook French dishes and use french recipes
If you like cooking, check the next recipe in French! Maybe don’t start right off with a Coq au Vin or something similar complicated, but something simple like Crêpes. Popular French recipe sites are marmiton.org and larecette.fr.
Get a French pen pal or chat partner
Pen pals might be old-school – even though it’s still lovely to receive a letter, but you can also find a friend online in language learning message boards or Facebook groups.
Follow tutorials in French
I don’t know about you, but I love tutorials on Instagram or YouTube! It’s so nice to learn something new or try out some interesting hacks, especially if someone is demonstrating you how it works. So, no matter if you are into gardening, crocheting, makeup, video games, or whatever you like, look up some tutorials in French!
Learn a song in French
It’s just another way of getting familiar with the flow of words, but if you found a song you like in one of the French playlists on Spotify, learn to sing it! It helps to develop the muscles in your tongue to deal with unfamiliar sounds. If you play an instrument, even better! You can look chords and tabs up online, for example on ultimate-guitar.com
Learn every day 5 new words and one verb!
Write down 5 French words and one verb (including the conjugation of course) for each day of the coming week on flashcards. Each morning you pick a card, and you’ve got the entire day to practice. Use idle time: When waiting for your coffee to cook, when brushing your teeth, when waiting in traffic… keep your card of the day handy!
Use idle time to progress
Time is a rare good for most of us and the excuse of many are: I don’t have time to learn French.. or differently: If only I had time to learn French!
What most don’t consider is that you don’t need to sit down an hour each day to learn a language. Do a bit each day, learn a few words each day, use idle time to progress, integrate the new language into your daily life. Switch on subtitles, listen to French music, stick post-its with the French names of items in your household… there are so many ways, just get going!
Try to search for information on the French google page
I don’t know about you, but I am using google every day several times. Did you know that you can simply run your searches by using French keywords? If you are searching for a receipt next time or information about a vacation destination, why not check french search results? You can change the output language under “settings” just below the search bar.
Do you find these tips useful? Pin them and find them back later!