Bonjour mes amis!
Today, let’s talk about how to learn French or Spanish (or any language). What exactly is the best way to learn French? Honestly, it really depends on your goals. First, focus on the sounds of the language. Listen to the pronunciation and the unique sounds of the language. Then, try to cut out as many of the English translations as possible. The more English you cut out, the more you will be able to think in your new language. Find the best learning resources for your learning goals. Be consistent! Consistency is better than a lot on one day and none for the next few days. Finally, practice, practice, practice!
Let’s look at some of the different learning methods so you can find the best one for you. I like to group my learning resources by type for an easy overview. Here are the different types I have found.
These types of learning resources focus primarily on enhancing your vocabulary. It can be anything from a simple vocabulary list or flashcard set, to a YouTube video, to the grand Rosetta Stone. If you want flash cards, Memrise, Duolingo, and Quizlet are some free options that are actually very powerful. (Note: all three options have paid versions, but these are not necessary).
This type of learning resource requires a real, live, person as your tutor. This can be done in groups or in a private lesson. Classes can be in person or online. It can be difficult to find an in-person tutor sometimes, which is why sites like italki are so huge. My personal favorite tutoring site is iboux – it has a very thorough lesson plan and you know you won’t miss anything with their lesson plans. Although, there is a larger price tag that comes along with that.
The audio class of learning resources refers to all the on-tape, on CD, mp4, or online things you may listen to in an attempt to learn a language. There are lots of different books out there, as well as podcasts, and a few other types of listening methods. I honestly haven’t found a good podcast that is very helpful to newbies or beginning learners, but if you have one, please do let me know! My personal favorite audio book that I have found HUGE success with is here.
This class of learning resource refers to any sort of book – digital or print – that you use to help learn your language. It could be an actual textbook (or grammar website), a story book, or even a dictionary (if you enjoy that kind of reading). I don’t enjoy either the first option or the last, but I do enjoy reading story books in French and am building up a list of books you can sort by level to find a great fit for you. (I will let you know as soon as it is ready).
So, which method is the best?
Honestly, the best way I have found to learn requires using at least one option from each category. This allows me to get a complete, well rounded, learning opportunity. Of course, this does depend on your learning goals, but we’ll talk about that next time. I try to spend at least one day per week on each class of learning materials.
Is Rosetta Stone the Best Way to Learn?
Rosetta Stone is not for everyone. It's time to change up the game and actually find success learning a new language.
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