Useful tips when learning French

By Vincent Tran

Published on July 27, 2022

Canada has two official languages: English and French. While English is predominantly spoken and used throughout the country, French is also very useful. Knowing French can help you get jobs and it can help you a lot if you live in or ever visit Quebec. 

Outside of Canada, learning French is a great asset to have when travelling because you’ll be able to visit many countries around the world, as it is the fifth most spoken language, according to a study by Ethnologuein 2022. 

Learning French in particular has its own challenges, but some of the tips here may help you learn the language and understand it better. 

Have patience

Learning a new language is never easy. Learning French especially may come difficult to some people, as it isn’t necessarily an easy language to learn. You most likely aren’t going to grasp French in the first go through, so remain patient and have a good attitude when learning the language. 

Conjugations can be difficult, but with good practise and patience you can learn French easier and have a better time understanding the language. 

Be open-minded

French isn’t going to come second nature to you, especially if you haven’t learned any languages that are similar to it. Some things may not make sense to you, but they make sense in the French language, so coming into learning French with an open mind is always a good way to begin. 

In the French language there are sentences where if you translate it directly, it wouldn’t make much sense in English. There are also a lot of situations where you would put the verb before a pronoun in order for the sentence to make sense, something which does not happen in English.   

Keeping an open mind will make confusing things like those just a bit easier and will greatly help you learn French. 

Entertainment/Media is key

When learning French, it’s best that you try to surround yourself with the language whenever you get the chance. Listening to French music, watching French programs or videos, or reading French news articles or books are great ways to get a grasp of the language. 

Listening to French music is a great and fun way to get a better grasp of the language. A lot of music is generally written in ways in which people would speak to one another and you would be able to hear the correct pronunciation of certain words.

Watching French programs or videos are an incredible way to learn French. You will be able to see how people speak to one another, how they interact with other French speaking people, and you can see how French is used conversationally, or in more professional manners. You can also see the mannerisms that French people use and how they greet each other. 

YouTube, for example, is a great place to learn French because you can watch lessons that teach the basics of French or you can watch videos from French content creators who will speak in a more conversational way, so you’ll understand how to conduct yourself when interacting with other French speaking people.

Reading French books or news is great for seeing how sentence structure works and how to know when to use different tenses in the language. It is also a great way of building up your vocabulary as you’ll be able to see many different words.

Try speaking French whenever possible

Whether you are enrolled in French classes or know someone who can speak French, one of the best ways to get better at the language is to speak to someone. You can try visiting some French community centres in your city and try speaking to people there.

Something as simple as reading the French parts on the products you buy can help you as well.  

Even speaking to yourself can help. Play some French videos in the background and repeat some of the sentences or words you hear and see if you can develop the accent or the correct pronunciations.

Be confident

Having confidence in your ability to speak and understand French is a massive component of learning the language. If you are confident in your capabilities and you’re comfortable with French, then you’ll be able to learn the language faster. 

Everyone makes mistakes. When it comes to French you are likely going to make many mistakes, but if you learn from those mistakes and continue on, you will be able to comfortably use French. 

As is with anything in life, confidence makes things much easier. Don’t be afraid to apply what you’ve learned in French because the worst thing you can do is say something wrong or pronounce something incorrectly.  

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