During quarantine: I start learning French
Start my French journey
With the rage of Coronavirus, numerous people like you and me get stuck at home. I guess you might feel bored now. If you want to learn a language, use now!
Here is what I am doing, start the language that I always want to learn: French. If you have interested in French but don’t know how to start, then keep reading.
Learn from the previous experience
Is that possible to grasp a language on your own?
My answer is “Yes”. As a polyglot. I find out a pattern to grasp a language quickly. If you are a English or Spanish native speaker, voilá, you’ve already known a lot of French words. If you are not, congratulation, because you are a white paper, which means you probably get less chance to mix different languages together.
Remember how you learn your native language?
I guess you didn’t start from reciting the grammar, right. Instead, you start from listening and mimicking. Watch the picture below.
Thus, I am gonna share how I started learning French(following the steps) and what resources I am using with you.
If you are also interested in learning Spanish, I have an article about How I Learn Spanish In One Year On My Own.
How I start：le française
Starting from my story. When I lived in Melbourne, I had 5 french roommates. It was a great opportunity for me to learn French. Since then, I kept opening my ear to hear what they were saying. Of course I didn’t understand anything at first.
I realized that the pronunciation of French was a little difficult for me. Anyway, I told to myself, “It’s fine, just keep trying to mimic what they said and what their body movements are”. Then I found out there were some sentences and words showed up frequently in their chats.
For example, I observed that they would say “ça va?” and “ça va.” with each other when they woke up, and I knew it is used in greeting, like “how are you”. Also, they said “olala” when they found something interesting, so every time I found something interesting I would say olala.
What if I don’t have a target-language environment?
Don’t worry, I will provide some resources below for you to get started.
FrenchPod101 has a bunch of podcast resources. Also it provides content pdf for each course to let you download. The best part is it covers all the levels from absolute beginner to intermediate and advanced French.
I am also using this podcast resource to keep improving my French. Below are some notes I took during the course, for the reference. In the meanwhile, I also wrote down the sound I heard and the cultures of the countries.
Here I would like to recommend Extra(French version) serie on youtube.
This is a beginner-fit drama which is talking about an American moving into his pen pal’s house in France and making a lot of fun. Extra is designed for language learners, and there are different versions(German, English, Spanish, French…)
I’ve watched Spanish version thousand times and I already know what will happen in the video. Thus, I can guess what they are expressing. Don’t worry if you never watch any version, they have English subtitle. I like to mimic the characters’ exaggerate movements when they speak, and I hope you can do the same. Highly recommended!!!
3. Speak it out with real person
Italki is an online language learning platform. Learning a language rule：Effective input, effective output. After you learn a lot from the book or the other resources, you should find someone to practice your verbal skill, someone who can help you learn the language and give you feedback. With good teachers and cheap price(Italki is way cheaper than most of the other language platforms), Italki is a very good option for you.
4. A Book For you
If you want to choose a book for studying, Language hacking French(by Benny Lewis) is definitely a book you should pick.
Unlike any grammar books or vocabulary books, this book is designed for making a small talk with French speakers. The writer learns numerous languages(Italian, Spanish, German, French…), so he has other books for other languages as well. In the book, you will find out how he can learn a language in the short time, and after you read the whole book, you will find out how fast you grow.
Here is the book：Language Hacking French (Language Hacking with Benny Lewis)
5. Online Dictionary
I searched for a good French dictionary for a long time, and I found “Linguee“. Linguee has both website and mobile app. You can use it for free and it’s not just for French to English. However, there are 2 disadvantages. The first one is you can’t hear the sound of the word on the mobile app(website is fine). The second one is it doesn’t provide a conjugation table when you search a verb.
Reverso Context is another good dictionary website. It also has mobile app. The good news is that you can see a conjugation table when you search a verb. However, there are too many advertisements on their website and app. If you don’t mind, reverso context is a good option.
Music is useful to learn a language. Here I want to share some French songs(my French friends recommended)with you：
|Jean Jacques Goldman – Quand la musique est bonne
|Edith Piaf – Non je ne regrette rien
|Marc Avoine – Les veux revolver
|Charles Aznavour – La bohème
|Cèline Dion – Pour que tu m’aimes encore
|Joe Dassin – Aux champs elysèes