Your Personal Guide to Learning French in a Year Allô et Bienvenue

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As Audrey Hepburn said in her 1954 movie, Sabrina, “Paris is always a good idea”, and France is a true beauty. From the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the promenades and more, France exemplifies beauty, culture and romance. 

With an increasing number of tourists and workers taking to the allure of France, the French have gained prominence. And if you’re looking to jump on this bandwagon and learn French, we’ve got you covered.

Now the question arises, can you learn French in a year?

And while it may be difficile, it is possible.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to get the right attitude for being successful in French learning and provide a five-step strategy for intelligent, efficient learning.

With the help of these tips, a year from now, you’ll possess some remarkable French skills. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Learn common French phrases and vocabulary

Imagine you open a dictionary in English; you’ll likely stumble across terms you’ve never heard of or used. Even native speakers don’t know all the words in their language! So why should you waste your time studying obscure or superfluous French words?

Instead of acquiring as many words as possible, emphasize memorizing a smaller number of prevalent, valuable words.

And how will you know which terms are used the most in French? Fortunately, there are numerous resources available:

Browse through Wiktionary’s list of the 2,000 most commonly used French terms.

Check out the book “501 French Verbs.”

Focus on oral comprehension

The French language isn’t phonetic. Given that French appears to be considerably different on paper if your objective is to talk in French in a year, you need to focus more on listening to and speaking French. 

You can start by watching several French TV shows on Netflix to get used to listening to French. If you can’t comprehend what’s being said, use subtitles to understand what is being spoken.

There are several videos on YouTube. When you feel more prepared, try decelerating the playback and adding the subtitles in French to begin matching the vocal pronunciation with the individual words.

Reading makes the world go around

Once you’re comfortable holding basic conversations and have a more extensive vocabulary, you can read a newspaper to grow your knowledge base and understand what is happening in the French-speaking world and how to communicate about these issues.

You will encounter educated, well-written French, reinforcing language fundamentals and developing your language abilities. 

If you prefer lighter reads like a novel or magazine, you can go for those as well.

Converse in French

Once you’ve become comfortable pronouncing words, even simply to yourself, you’ll want to apply those words to build your sentences.

Take sentences from a conversation you’ve seen and make them your own. You could also try combining them. 

Alternatively, you may pick a sentence in which someone agrees and change it to a sentence in which that person disagrees. Or, in a serious, thought-provoking conversation, defend yourself and pretend you’re arguing with someone.

These activities will help you traverse the world of spoken French.

Consistency is key

Consider language learning to be similar to an exercise routine. Consistency is crucial. A daily 20-minute jog is preferable to a three-hour cardio session once a month.

The same can be said about learning French in a year. You must pace yourself and divide tasks into manageable chunks to avoid exhaustion. Also, remember to practice and revise so that you don’t forget what you’ve already learnt. 

And lastly,

Understand that everybody learns at their own pace. It is difficult to impose a fixed timeline on language learning. While a year is a general estimate, bear in mind that it might go faster or slower depending on the individual and their life circumstances. We’ve already seen some bizarre things happen in the past two years, so stay on track but be patient with yourself.