Best Way to Learn French – 9 Expert Tips

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Learning French can only bring you good things – it’s one of the most spoken languages in the world, and it’s undeniably charming.

And it can connect you to rich culture and art.

Luckily, there are many effective and relatively easy ways to learn French, each with its own benefits and potential pitfalls.

Traditional French lessons are a classic choice. But if you’re wondering how to learn French on your own, you’ll find this article even more helpful.

We gathered a list of the best guidelines and tips for the best way to learn French.

If you follow these simple steps, you won’t become a fluent French speaker in a week, but you’ll undoubtedly have a smooth and productive learning journey.

9 Best Ways to Learn French

The truth is, it’s not easy to determine the best ways to learn French because it all depends on your goals and learning style.

Some people prefer clear guidance and others like to have complete freedom and flexibility.

However, there are some things you can consider regardless of your preferences and reasons for wanting to learn French.

Whether you need a language certificate or you’re simply interested in French culture, these guidelines will help you get on the right track.

1. Use a French language app

Language-learning apps are a great way to enrich your learning process.

But you can also use an app as your primary learning source. For example, Rocket French (from Rocket Languages) offers a full language course for beginners. 

This popular app will teach you how to speak and write in French. It features audio tracks, a voice recognition engine, language & culture lessons, and interactive exercises. It’s the whole package.

Rocket French

Self-study programs like Rocket Language will allow you to learn in a structured but flexible way. Lessons are designed to be taken in a linear fashion, but you can jump back and forth and focus on your goals.

And that’s arguably one of the biggest advantages of language-learning apps. They allow you to prioritize and focus on what’s really important for you.

If you’re planning to visit France and you want to learn practical vocabulary, you don’t have to delve deeper into French grammar.

There are even gamified apps that will make your language learning very fun.

Taking app-based French lessons is worlds away from textbooks and boring grammar exercises.

The thing is, with a fun and immersive French app, learning grammar rules will also become quite easy.

But how does that really work?

Well, the best French learning apps use cutting-edge technology, innovative methods, and modern online study tools. All of them are created to make your learning process both effective and enjoyable.

Plus, they are a perfect learning tool for people who want to learn on the go. Even if you have a busy schedule, these apps will help you fit language learning into your daily routine.

They are very convenient, and most of them can be synced across all devices, which makes them even more practical.

Best way to learn French

And it’s all about consistency.

Learning a new language isn’t like catching up with a book or learning for an exam the night before. You can’t do it all at once.

And French online courses and apps will help you establish a study routine. Most of them will provide you with comprehensible, bite-sized lessons.

Plus, most of these apps are audio-based.

Taking French audio lessons is essential.

Many learners say spoken French and written French are two different languages. And yes, differences are huge (if you’re a beginner.)

Over time you will get used to these differences, but in the beginning, it’s important to listen as well as read.

So, if you’re wondering what is the best way to learn French on your own, the answer lies in a versatile and well-rounded self-study program.

2. Write as much as you can

Your learning source should also have good writing exercises.

Developing writing skills can be challenging if you’re learning French by yourself.

But you can also make your writing exercises. If you add that to your French practice routine, you’ll definitely feel more confident.

You can choose a grammar point or a vocabulary list as your starting point.

Best ways to learn French

If you’re already familiar with the basic vocabulary, you can write a paragraph about anything you want.

Why not write something about your interests? Or invent a dialogue?

You can also start writing a diary in French.

Try to do all of that without looking at your notebook or opening your French app. But you should definitely look for mistakes in the end.

Also, in order to write well, you should read a lot.

You can read French newspapers and magazines. And if you’re just starting out, you can read a children’s book. Or perhaps your favorite book in French translation.

Reading a book in French might be very challenging at first, but it will help you get used to phrases, expressions, and spelling.

If you keep seeing some words over and over, you can underline them or write them down in your notebook. This will help you pay attention to common words and vocabulary you are likely to use.

3. Talk to native speakers

Of course, it would be ideal to spend some time in France. That’s arguably the best way to learn French.

You would be forced to speak French to get around, or at least motivated to do so.

French immersion programs are also very effective.

But if you currently don’t have a chance to travel to a French-speaking country, you should find other ways to get in touch with native speakers.

Learning French

There are some useful websites that can help you find a language partner.

You can even find an online tutor – that’s definitely a great idea if you want to learn how to speak French properly.

But you can also talk to native speakers in a less formal way.

The most important thing is to work on your conversational skills.

And the ultimate goal would be to start thinking in French the way native speakers do. But that takes a lot of time.

Nevertheless, listening to native speakers can help you master your French accent.

You’ll also have a chance to observe their mannerisms, hear their natural speaking speed, and learn the slang.

In other words, talking to native speakers will introduce you to modern spoken French.

Learning how to speak French

So, try to speak French as much as you can. And don’t be afraid to make a mistake.

Without a doubt, that would be the best way to learn conversational French.

4. Less translation

Teaching yourself French isn’t an easy task.

And you will probably be tempted to translate everything into English (or your native language) first. That’s normal.

But if you’re communicating in French and mentally translating everything through English or another language, you won’t reach the level of fluency so easily.

And if you have an idea of what you’re trying to say and you simply recall the French word, you’ll actively work on increasing your comprehension.

One of the ways to do that is by linking words to images and situations rather than English words.

Reading in French also helps reinforce this.

Comprehension without translation might sound a bit abstract right now, but once you try it, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Less translation will help you think in French. And that’s a prerequisite in becoming a fluent speaker.

5. Watch French TV shows and movies

Without a doubt, the best method to learn French is immersion.

And immersive learning can take many forms.

Yes, it would be great to move to Paris and be literally immersed in the French language and culture. Honestly, who wouldn’t want that?

But there are some other ways you can surround yourself with French.

For instance, you can watch French TV shows and films.

While “Emily in Paris” will introduce you to French food and fashion (and some good-looking French people), this popular TV show probably isn’t the best French language teacher.

Why not watch “Amelie” again? But this time, you can pay attention to commonly-used words and write them down if they don’t sound familiar.

Amelie film

“The Intouchables” is a great choice for comedy lovers, and “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” for romantic souls.

And these are only the classics.

When you feel confident enough, you can watch French movies and series without subtitles.

6. Surround yourself with French

Besides French movies and TV shows, you can also read French books and magazines.

You can check French media platforms.

Or listen to French podcasts or watch French-language Youtube videos.

And, of course, French music! There are so many great artists singing in French. Françoise Hardy, Zaz, Stromae, Pomme, just to name a few.

The possibilities are endless. You should surround yourself with French in any way you find interesting.

You can even explore traditional French recipes. To avoid kitchen mishaps, find the recipe in English or your native language first. You can translate ingredients along the way.

French macarons

You can even make your next grocery shopping list in French.

The most important thing is to try to incorporate French into your daily life.

That will also keep your motivation high.

After all, learning about culture, art, people, and customs is an important part of acquiring language skills.

Luckily, many French language apps offer culture lessons. In fact, they will teach you the language through cultural context.

For example, Rocket French audio lessons feature real-life dialogues voiced by native speakers. That way, you’ll learn practical vocab useful for traveling and everyday situations.

If you surround yourself with the French language, you’ll pick up new words and learn through context, which brings us to our next guideline.

7. Context + Repetition

Contextual learning could be an answer to the big question: what’s the best way to learn French?

Well, it’s the most natural way of learning a foreign language.

If you hear a new word in a sentence or a short story, you’ll memorize it more easily. And even if you don’t get the translation right away, you can assume what it might mean.

Contextual learning is important because it allows you to construct meaning based on your own experiences.

Also, this method gives real communicative value to the French language.

It will teach you vocabulary in an effective way as well as help you learn how to guess the meaning from context.

The best way to learn French by yourself

Another important element of learning a new language is repetition.

Many language apps use spaced repetition technique.

Spaced repetition is a method of reviewing (recalling) material at specific time intervals. In the beginning, these intervals are spaced closely together, and then they become systematically longer.

And that’s how new words will move to your long-term memory.

This memory technique is usually performed with flashcards. That’s definitely one of the benefits of using an app to learn French.

8. Study smart

One of your goals should also be learning how to study French effectively.

If you’re very busy or you have a specific reason for wanting to learn French as quickly as possible, this is an essential step.

But even if that’s not the case, studying smart will help you be more productive.

First of all, you should study regularly and for a short time.

Otherwise, you might get overwhelmed.

Many French apps and courses provide short, bite-sized lessons. And that’s great because you’ll be able to fit language learning into your daily routine more easily.

Also, this will allow you to internalize everything you learn.

Acquiring any new skill takes time. And when it comes to learning French, you definitely need to be patient.

On the other hand, if you study smart, set short-term goals, and use efficient study tools, you will probably master the basics sooner than you think.

Flashcards and spaced repetition techniques are very helpful.

Interactive exercises and quizzes will also help you strengthen your knowledge.

But most importantly, you need to find a way of studying French that works best for you.

Ways to learn French

Your learning source has to fit your learning style and schedule.

You need to determine your best studying time.

And you should try to study in a comfortable environment with no distractions.

These French learning tips are actually general tips on how to study smarter. They can help you improve focus and be more efficient in anything you do.

Try to approach your French lessons with mindfulness and determination, and you’ll surprise yourself with how much you can do.  

9. And make it fun!

Learning a new language shouldn’t be daunting.

But moments of discouragement are perfectly normal. At times, you might feel like you’re completely stuck.

Or you might think your French lessons are getting repetitive and boring.

Well, if that happens, it’s time to add some fun to the mix.

You can play online games that can help you practice French.

You can take part in challenges and solve quizzes.

Or, why not start learning French with a friend?

You can even start a French conversation club in your town.

And if you prefer learning in the comfort of your home, many online language-learning programs have active forums or social media. You can join a conversation and meet fellow learners.

Learning French on your own is a lonely process, and it’s good to get out there and talk to people or at least meet other students online. That will make you feel involved and active. And it will also help you build confidence.

If you want to achieve your goals, self-discipline is crucial. But motivation also plays a vital role.

Easiest way to learn French

When you feel discouraged, try to remind yourself of all the reasons you want to learn French.

And try to think about the benefits of speaking French.

After all, learning French can open doors to new opportunities.

It will also allow you to travel to a French-speaking country with confidence.

In other words, learning French can benefit both your career and your everyday life.

And try to keep that in mind every time the sound of this beautiful language isn’t enough to keep you motivated.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article helped you discover some easy ways to learn French.

One-size-fits-all lists on how to learn French don’t work for everyone. But all the guidelines we’ve mentioned today can undoubtedly make your learning process a whole lot easier.

One of the most important things is to immerse yourself in the language.

Watch French movies, read books in French translation, listen to French podcasts and songs…

And even more importantly, travel and talk with native speakers as much as you can.

Immersion is arguably one of the best ways to learn French.

But reliable learning sources are just as important.

Luckily, there are many great options on the market – from gamified apps to French online courses.

You just need to find a way that suits your learning style, goals, and needs.

And once you do, you’ll realize that improving your French-speaking skills can be fun and interesting!

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