You need not trek the to Paris or Quebec to speak the language of love. You can learn to speak French, or teach your kids how to speak it, right in your own home. The key to learning any language is repetition. With French this repetition is particularly melodious and smooth. A few simple tips will help you learn to speak French.
Label things. Grab a bunch of index cards or sticky notes and label everything in the house with its French word. This may make your house look strange, but it will also reinforce the language at every turn.
Study the grammar. Acieng the fundamentals of grammar need not be boring. Make flashcards with different verb tenses and endings, and other parts of speech. Keep in mind adjectives must agree with the gender of the noun it modifies.
Forego English. Once you and your child have a running vocabulary and fundamentals of grammar, only speak French for extended periods of time. Schedule your French speaking periods daily. Don’t slip back into English if you are unsure of how to say something—look it up.
Listen. Language tapes will not only help you understand the spoken word but they also will assist with pronunciation. Libraries often have a good selection. Start with the easiest and move to the advanced. Listen, transcribe and talk back to the tapes daily for best results. Also play French radio stations and music and watch French movies and TV shows.
Throw in reading and writing skills. Practice is the best way to continue to learn French. Set aside time to read passages and then answer questions about them. These can be taken from language texts, French magazines, literature or newspapers. You can also click a button on many Web sites to have the content translated into another language. Pick French.
Things You Will Need
- French texts
- Language tapes
- Index cards
- Other French reading materials
- Notebook and pen
- Fun ways to help you learn include renting lots of French movies, picking up French literature and comic books from the library and finding some French crossword puzzles to enhance your understanding and vocabulary.
- A series of textbooks with exercises will give you much guidance.
- Treat yourself. Every time you finish a chapter or major lesson, go to a French restaurant, movie or other fun activity where you can use the language in action.
- A grand graduation gift would be trip to Paris. Chouette!
- During transcriptions, make sure you know the definition and function of every single word in every single sentence. Don’t skimp and stop with just the general gist.
- Those familiar with Latin, Italian and Spanish will find some of the French lessons a breeze.
- Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski