How to pick up French quickly? (1 Viewer)

MegsOnToast

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I'm going back to school tomorrow (year 11) and I'll be starting French beginners. In year 7 I picked up German in an instant, but German is very similar to English whereas French isn't. I was wondering, what can you do to pick it up faster?
 

Jaundice

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instant messaging pen pals but tell them to talk properly so you can translate.
 

Jaundice

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you could also listen to youtube tutorials on the basic things like greetings, counting, days of the week, seasons, months and reading the time.
 

shoxgeneration

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french films with subtitles etc / french songs and then checking the lyrics is always good practise... as is of course, regular conversations with someone who can speak french
 

alex.leon

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I'm going back to school tomorrow (year 11) and I'll be starting French beginners. In year 7 I picked up German in an instant, but German is very similar to English whereas French isn't. I was wondering, what can you do to pick it up faster?
I've had a lot more experience in French than German, but I reallly think the similarities between French and English are much more vast. For example- some of the words I just used in my previous sentence are practically the same in French with the same meaning! Experience = expérience, similarity = similarité, vast= vaste and so on.

French is easy at a basic level. Maybe start to explore the culture a little more- watch some famous french films- Amelie, Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources...you'll be fine!
 

Jaundice

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if you want the french basics i can teach you. over skype or msn or here.

English is made up of latin and germanic languages along with some others. So there will be some similarities with french because the french or normans invaded england in 1066 and brought their langauge over with them.
 

Kittikhun

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-First, go on the internet and try to find a summary of French grammar. The about.com website on dedicated to French has a good, succinct summary of French grammar. Peruse that and try to understand it. Do the exercises provided by the summaries. You should be able to read it all in one week if you spend 30 minutes on it each day. Second, get yourself a good French grammar book. This is essential. I recommend the following-

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780071492423/The-Ultimate-French-Review-and-Practice

Buy the book from the book depository. You'll save more money. If you don't like shopping online the only alternative is Dymocks or Abbeys in the city, however Abbeys is very expensive but you'll find the biggest collection of French books on sale in Australia, I believe.

Read the grammar book in its entirety, even though your French vocab. may not be sophisticated yet, in order to get a deeper idea of the grammar. This should reinforce and delve in deeper into what you read in the French grammar summary on the internet.

-Get yourself a good French verb conjugation book. This is equally essential as this is probably the hardest aspect to learn especially the subjunctive and literary tenses (you don't need to learn the literary tenses in Begineers, I believe, and they're only used in formal prose and verse however you should know the subjunctive for Begineers to stand out form the rest. It doesn't really take that long to learn if you love reading and already have a good command of English grammar). I recommend the following-

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780071421638/The-Blue-Pocket-Book-of-French-Verbs

Read the introduction of that, after reading the grammar, in one go. Don't worry if you don't understand everything at first. At least you will have an idea, which your teacher will help you on later. You don't need to peruse this as much as the grammar as the verbs will be learnt by rote and you already will have learnt some of the verbs by reading the grammar book. Use this book as reference when you're writing French.

-Read French and get yourself a good dictionary. I recommend the following-

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780007323159/Collins-French-Dictionary-and-Grammar

Don't be afraid of looking like a wanker checking the dictionary all the time for words you don't understand. Your knowledge cannot transcend your experience so any word you read that you don't understand look it up and say it out aloud four times before putting the dictionary down and make sure you at least skim through the sentence examples. Also learn the phonetic alphabet found in the introduction of the dictionary. It may look daunting (it looks like Greek, well sort of) and a waste of time but it is important as this will help you develop a good accent and speak French properly without sounding like the French equivalent of a Geordie speaking English.

-Learn French songs off by heart. You can learn 'La Marseillaise' first and second verse and chorus (NOT THE WHOLE ANTHEM!)firstly or something that you like though I warn you that most current French songs are crap much like today's music.

-When you watch French films or films dubbed in French put the French subtitles on all the time. Watch the film through once without getting your dictionary out. After that watch it again with the French dictionary and an English dictionary (the French speak their language with more diverse vocabulary in relation to the English especially in regards to scientific or medical terms as you will see in Amélie) at hand and pause the DVD when you don't understand something and rewind it as many times until the meaning gets stuck in your head. Here are some French films that are universally acclaimed-

French films (there are no French subtitles however- only films dubbed in French have French subtitles)-
-Amélie
-Un long dimanche de fiançailles
-Persepolis
-Jean de Florette
-Jet lag
-Paris
-Tais-toi
-Le diner de cons
-Don’t look now: we are being shot at
-Micmacs
-La Belle et la bête

[youtube]DaG3zns3fqA[/youtube]

Disney films (no subtitles; it's youtube)
Mulan
[youtube]o976hrVSRFo[/youtube]

Toy Story

[youtube]Wf4zngkRY9U[/youtube]

-Watch these clips from TV5.

http://www.tv5.org/TV5Site/7-jours/

Click on 'Exercices en ligne' and pick a segment that you like. When you have chosen click on any of the links under 'élémentaire', 'intermédiaire' or 'avancé'. Click on 'voir la séquence' and watch the clip through once. After that click on 'Transcription' and read the pop up transcript of the video in French and understand it. After you have done that click on 'voir la séquence' again and read the 'transcription' following the words as they are spoken.

These videos aren't limited to stories about world events. You can watch clips of videos and read transcripts of them about French culture, history, literature etc. by clicking on the following link.

http://www.tv5.org/TV5Site/enseigner-apprendre-francais/accueil_apprendre.php

I won't insult your intelligence by telling you how to activate a video.

These videos should help you with your accent. Make sure you decide what type of accent you want to speak in. You can speak in a Parisian accent, southern accent, North-western African accent, Québécois accent or Cajun accent. I recommend the NW African accent as that is the easiest accent to understand. You won't understand the Parisians as they mumble their words and speak at full speed. You can get an idea of the NW African accent by clicking on the following link-

http://www.rfi.fr/

and clicking on 'Afrique Direct' underneath the 'Ecouter RFI' near the play button to the right of your screen.

-Read French as much as you can starting from pap like 'Le Petit Prince' to something more sophisticated like 'Jean de Florette' (this book is very hard to read though. It's like reading Thomas Keneally but in French). You should also read as many of the French textbooks in your library as the text types in these books are what you're going to be tested on. You should be reading it at least 30 minutes a day. NO LESS. This should improve your grammar and help you write more authentic French.

-Refrain from watching France2 news and focus on the TV5 exercises if your vocabulary is still in its infancy as this will deter you from learning when you only understand a few words for the whole 30 minutes of the programme (they speak fast and in Parisian accents). When your vocab is around at least 500 words and you can form your own sentences and describe yourself and voice your feelings confidently in sound French should you then watch France2 and profit from immersing yourself in the language and understanding it.

For me this method works but it doesn't work for everybody. Use this as a guide to develop your own most effective modus operandi for learning French.

PM me anytime if you wish to ask me any questions mate and sorry about the long post. I get carried away sometimes.

Bonne chance.
 
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oh-em-gee

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If you've picked up German and found it easy because it's similar to English, it's because it is - at least, syntactically. The vocabulary, however, tends to be of Latin/French roots. It's to do with the way that people learn different languages without assistance (think about the way that you speak foreign languages from a phrasebook - you tend to use your native language structure with foreign vocabulary; eg "I want to go to "la bibliothèque"). The way that we use suffixes and prefixes in English is a feature inherited from German syntax.

Sorry - my little spiel on creoles/pidgins.

But overall, it depends on how you learn. Most people will find that talking to people who speak French (with French words gradually thrown in) is a great way to learn the vocabulary.

I suppose the only difficulty in that approach is learning verb conjugations, however they are all fairly regular, and the ones that are irregular you will use all the time, so you'll learn them very quickly.

And I wouldn't be too worried about the grammar, since in a Beginners course I'd assume they'd teach you a lot of that. However, French grammar is only slightly more difficult than English, and what you'll find is that, unlike English, French grammar (at least, in examinable French) is a lot more rigid. If you do have trouble learning the grammar, you should start by asking your teacher for assistance. If that fails, learn French grammar while learning English grammar. Or you can always try to equate it to German grammar. In either case, the point is that you don't become confused by jargon.

Films/songs/shows in French with subtitles are useful after you've got a pretty good vocabulary base, because it will help you learn what words sound like when they're spoken. Try using French subtitles though, it might be more useful.
 

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