How to Improve Your French Language Skills
Learning another language is not easy at any age, but as an adult, there is no question it is hard!
The Business Insider takes a stab at explaining the issue “Here’s Why It’s So Hard To Learn A New Language As An Adult.” Where children are generally less concerned about how they sound and having perfect grammar, adults hold back afraid to make a mistake.
The list of benefits includes an improved cognitive function for multiple language speakers. This article by Anne Merritt at The Telegraph is an interesting read, “Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism.” And, there is nothing wrong with being smarter – “Why Bilinguals Are Smarter” a Gray Matter article from the New York Times.
The good news and bad news is there is no “one-size fits all” method for language improvement. Classroom-based learning works for some but is inconvenient or too rigid for others. Technology has moved options for language learning to virtual space with online courses, and instructors who work with their clients using Skype or What’s App.
Below are some options that might work for your level, time commitment and language goals.
Self-Paced Language Lessons
Frantastique offers self-paced lessons with a sense of humour. You begin their program with a quick language skills assessment. Based on your test results, the system will recommend a stream of study to suit your level of comprehension.
The Frantastique teaching methodology is 100% online and self-paced. You choose the number of days per week that you would like to receive a French lesson email. The system allows you to schedule vacation stops or other breaks at any time. There is even a smartphone app so you can complete your lesson anywhere, at any time.
Each email contains a link to a short exercise, which typically takes about 10-minutes to complete. The format changes regularly but might include a video, audio clip, fill in the blanks, pictures or a story. At the completion of each exercise, you receive immediate feedback including a score and areas for improvement. Once you have completed the entire program, you even get a certificate.
Language Immersion in Provence
Marina Depoorter lives in Provence, in the heart of the Luberon National Park. Her company is Franci Discendum, and she offers bespoke options for an immersion holiday in France. She is a proponent of French lessons at your pace.
Depending on your French language base and areas of interest, Marina will help you select activities in the region during your stay. Perhaps you want to visit historic sites, or explore markets, or dip your feet in the Mediterranean these are all options and fun ways to learn the French language at the same time.
Read this article by one of her students: Aprons Required Foraging for Food a French Immersion Cooking Class in Provence.
After your immersion holiday in Provence, Marina offers follow-up homework and Skype sessions to continue your language journey. Click here for details.
Speak French with Friends
Véronique Bienfait has lived in Provence for more than 35 years. Her background is in horticulture, and she worked as a landscape gardener in Provence, before launching Parlez-Vous Français. The focus of her classes is oral communication. Students can choose between small group sessions (maximum of seven people) where the group meets to converse in French. Alternatively, Véronique offers individual lessons via Skype, and she even has holiday packages so you can learn a bit of French during your vacation.
Putting in the Time!
Keith Van Sickle and his wife Val are part-time expats, they live in the Bay Area near San Francisco and spend a few months in Provence each year. They may only be in France part of the time, but they are committed to learning the language. Read Learning French in Provence it’s Not a Race.
Keith has published two books about their expat life and the story of learning a second language as adults. Both books are humorous accounts about understanding the local culture and the challenges (and benefits) of learning to speak French: One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence introduces their story and Are We French Yet? Keith & Val's Adventures in Provence is a continuation of their lifestyle choice.
There’s an APP for That
Google Translate type or dictate what you would like to have translated. Be aware that some of the translations are not grammatically perfect, but you will get your point across.
Vatefaireconjuguer this website and application are essential tools for French verb conjugation.
Here is an article by Fluent U on the 5 best Translation Apps.