How to learn French fast
I’ve met hundreds of language learners, and I can tell you that there is no ‘best’ or fastest way to learn French. What the best approach is for you will depend on factors like your goals, level, budget and time.
Polyglots are often perceived to be superhuman. But they’ll be the first to tell you that they don’t have any special powers. Instead, their success with languages is largely due to their learning strategies.
You’ll obtain the most value from reading this guide if you’re a beginner or you have a basic level (A1/A2) in French. If you have an intermediate level, you should instead check out this guide, which gives recommendations specific to your level and goals.
How to build your vocab intelligently
Learning French can feel like a daunting challenge. You might ask yourself, how am I going to memorise thousands of new words? Fortunately, there are techniques that can help you start having conversations quickly:
- Learn the most commonly used words. In French, like in all other languages, a minority of words make up the majority of the spoken language. I’ll provide a list of these words later. You’ll also come across them naturally whilst exploring the language. Write down and learn the commonly used words whilst ignoring the complex words you don’t hear so often.
- Learn words that are relevant to you. Focus on topics that are relevant and interesting to you. The vocab will be far more useful. You’ll find it easier to memorise and you’ll be more likely to actually use the words in real life.
- Learn cognates. Fortunately, French has thousands of words that are the same, or almost the same in English. For instance, the word gratitude is the same in both languages. For many words, you just need to change the ending (e.g. anniversary > anniversaire). I’ll give you a list of the rules later.
- Write down new words in a notebook. Yes, it’s old school, but it works. Studies have shown that when you write rather than type, your ability to recall information improves considerably. Researchers believe this is because writing is slower and involves deeper mental processing.
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