So, you’re thinking about learning French. Great choice! French is the 5th most widely-spoken language in the world, after all.
Studying and learning any new language is a fun, rewarding experience that can create all kinds of new opportunities in your life.
If you’re just setting out on your language-learning journey, you’re probably wondering what the best way to learn French is and how to learn French fast.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to learn French effectively to get you speaking conversational French in as short an amount of time as possible. Stay tuned until the end and we’ll even tell you what the best way to learn French online is!
How to learn French on your own: 4 tips from fluent French speakers
- Do written exercises
- Use vocabulary flashcards
- Listen to French audio
- Watch French TV and movies
1. Doing written exercises
Written exercises are one of the most traditional ways to learn a new language. If you ever had a language class in school, you surely did written exercises, like those worksheets where you had to fill in the blanks.
It might sound old school, but written exercises are still one of the best ways to learn French effectively.
Writing drills help you memorize vocabulary and grammar, as well as learn how to spell and remember where to put all the accents. After all, speaking is only half of knowing a language!
Now, if you’re here because you want to know how to learn French at home, you might be wondering where you’re going to find worksheets or other French writing exercises.
These days, “writing” doesn’t mean you have to do it by hand with a pen and paper.
There are all kinds of sites online with easy French language lessons that include writing exercises. There are also plenty of language learning apps that drill you with things like fill-in-the-blanks and multiple choice questions to help you learn to read and write French.
2. Using vocabulary flashcards
Ah, flashcards. The mere mention of them takes us back to cramming for college exams… Well, there’s a reason students have been using this technique to study for as long as we can remember — it’s a great way to memorize vocabulary and grammar.
You can go old school and write out your own flashcards on cardstock with colorful Sharpies and gel pens, or you can download one of the many available flashcard apps and make digital ones. Lots of language learning apps and platforms also have built-in flashcards.
3. Listening to French audio
One of the tricky things about learning French is that the written language and the spoken language are two very different things.
If you were to only learn French by reading and writing, you’d have no idea how words and phrases actually sound.
You can learn all the vocab you want, but if you don’t listen to French audio to hear how it’s actually spoken, you don’t stand a chance of actually learning conversational French.
There are all kinds of ways you can listen to French audio to learn about pronunciation and accents, such as by watching YouTube videos, listening to music, and...
4. Watching French TV and movies
Binging on a French series or watching a French film are relaxing and engaging ways to listen to fluent French being spoken as it is in real life.
You can only learn so much from drilling vocabulary and grammar. Learning French from TV and movies supplements all that studying and helps you learn from context.
Think about the way kids learn — they absorb their native language from the people around them, and from the shows and movies they watch growing up. Next to being immersed in a French-speaking culture, watching French TV and movies is the next best thing.
Now, it’s important to note that just throwing on a French show or movie in the background is only going to get you so far.
For this technique to really be effective, you have to actively watch, meaning that you follow along with subtitles, take note of new vocab or things you don’t understand, and rewatch episodes or films multiple times until you fully get them.
How long does it take to learn French? The answer’s not so simple…
Regardless of what you might read on other easy French language lesson sites claiming that you can “speak fluent French in 30 days” or making some other assertion like that, there’s really no way you can quantify how long it takes to learn French or any other language.
Everyone learns differently and at different speeds, and much of how fast you can learn French boils down to your dedication and perseverance.
There are also other factors like your ability to practice French with native speakers and hear the language around you.
For instance, if you move to France to study, you’re probably going to pick up the language much faster than if you’re just learning French at home (though watching French TV and movies can help with that!).
Luckily, if English is your first language, or if you already speak any other of the Romance languages (like Spanish) you’re already at an advantage.
There are lots of similarities between English and French, and even more between French and Spanish or any of the other Romance languages.
The best way to learn French online
You already know that you can learn French by watching TV, but did you know there’s an easy way to watch thousands of hours of French shows online? It’s called Lingopie!
Lingopie isn’t just another streaming service — it’s specifically designed to help you learn French fast. Every episode has interactive (clickable) subtitles and built-in word lists and flashcards at the end.
You can even take Lingopie with you on the go with the app, one of the best apps to learn French with!
Sign up for a free trial today and kickstart your path to speaking conversational French.