We won’ t lie to you, the French language can be tricky to master. Even Emmanuel Macron, our head of state, recently made not one, but two, grammatical errors when writing in the book of condolences for the late Charles de Gaulle’s 50th-anniversary commemoration. And he is married to a French teacher! So even the most Francophile of us can make mistakes.
YOU MUST MAKE MISTAKES
Take a leaf out of Macron’s book – make some mistakes! You must make them, to progress speaking in French. Everyone needs to start somewhere. Your accent may not be perfect, you may not know all the words to formulate a perfect sentence, or the tense may be wrong, but you just need to put yourself out there and try! Pronunciation and fluidity will come, we promise.
FORGET WHAT YOU LEARNT IN SCHOOL
There are two types of the French language: the one that you probably learnt at school, with realms of conjugations and unusable French vocabulary, and then the real, practical daily spoken French. You do not need to know the passe simple of etre – je fus, just yet! You just need to focus on doing your best and perfecting a little bit of what you do know, every day.
Get yourself a French partner or a friend. It is the quickest and easiest way to learn French. When you are forced to communicate often and daily with another person, you will be surprised at how fast you can pick up vocabulary, sayings, and even cultural references.
LEARN FULL SENTENCES
It is important to learn full sentences. There is no point in learning realms and realms of vocabulary, and not be able to formulate a straightforward sentence! It is far more useful to learn necessary and practical sentences than to be able to recognise and name every piece of furniture in a room!
WATCH, LISTEN AND LEARN
Watching French films and TV is a great way of immersing yourself. You may not understand everything at first and it can be very frustrating. Watching your favourite movie again, but in French, will certainly help with vocabulary and pronunciation.
DON’T ASK WHY
Finally, French is a beautiful language. Romantic and sophisticated, vivid and passionate. However, there are some rules to the language that just don’t make sense and are hard to get your head around. In many of these instances, you just don’t ask why, you just have to accept it and learn that way!
Learning French does not need to be difficult. In fact, it can be quite pleasurable. A full immersion is always the best way to learn, if you can. You can then listen and practice regularly, wander the streets, or take it all in at a terrace café. Of course there is always French-Access, who can bring all things French to you if you cannot come to France! Practical, useful French, made fun and easy to learn.