Would you like to live in France for a few months and learn the language? You’re not alone. Many people would love to do just that, but unfortunately, it’s not always possible due to different circumstances. What can you do then? The good news is that not all hope is lost. While living in France would certainly help you to learn French, it’s not the only way to do it. Did I spark your curiosity? Today I will share with you the best way to learn French fast.
There are many approaches you could take. The good thing is there are many resources available online or at a low cost. You don’t even have to attend a language school if you don’t want to. Many of us have busy schedules due to family and/or work, so it may be complicated to take in-person classes.
If you would like to learn more about this, continue reading. C’est parti!
This is undoubtedly one of the best ways to learn French, particularly if your teacher is a native speaker. You can hire a teacher from the beginning or after you have acquired some knowledge. Nothing is written in stone.
We have already talked about the benefits of studying French with a teacher. He can help you design a learning plan to meet your goals, and maximize the learning experience. What’ even better, you can study from the comfort of your home.
It is recommended you take at least one lesson per week. Lessons are usually one hour long, but your sessions can be longer than that. This will depend on the platform you choose, or on your teacher if he works on his own.
Ideally, you should take three sessions per week, but I understand money can be a problem. Fortunately, you can get a discount if you buy lesson packages.
There are many language apps you can try. Some of them, like Duolingo, allow you to set up how much time you want to study daily. You can also choose if you want the app to send you reminders via email or app notifications.
As to how much time you should dedicate to apps, I would recommend at least 20 minutes a day. Of course, this will vary depending on the kind of app you choose. Some of them are gamified, and time goes by fast, while others may be a little repetitive and bore you easily. It’s a good idea to try as many apps as you can and then select two or three. No matter which ones you choose, it’s important to stick to them.
YouTube videos are practical and free to watch. Many teachers upload videos to this platform usually addressing a topic per video. You can use this tool as a reference when you have a question, or you can use it in conjunction with private lessons and other resources.
YouTube videos are not limited to language tutorials, though. You can also find vlogs, TV shows, podcasts, music, audiobooks, news, documentaries, movies… the list of options is endless! Many of them come with English subtitles for your convenience.
All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and an Internet connection. How awesome is that!
Some videos are short, while others are a bit longer. Depending on the length of the video and your availability, you can watch one or two a day.
If you’re old-school like me, you may prefer to study books. You can borrow them from your public library, or you can buy them on sites like Amazon and eBay. All it takes is an online search, and you will find many sites to buy used or new books. Or, if you live in the U.S., you can go to bookstores like Half Price Books, and you will find something there for sure.
The good thing about books is that you can advance at your own pace, carry them with you wherever you go, and not depend on an Internet connection, unlike apps and YouTube.
How much time should you study? Well, it depends. On average, 30 minutes is a reasonable time, but you have to consider how long the lessons are too. Ideally, you should complete at least one lesson per session. If you’re a fast learner, you could easily accomplish more, but don’t rush it.
Meetups and Language Exchanges
French meetups are another great option. There are many language groups all over the world that you can join. They get together once or twice a week and allow their members to talk only French. I’ve joined a couple, and I can attest to their effectiveness.
You can also try language exchanges. If you find a language partner, try to keep him/her at all costs. Language partners are invaluable. It’s much easier and enjoyable when you talk casually to someone rather than to a teacher. You can even become good friends or something more, who knows?
Whether you attend an in-person meetup or engage in an online language exchange, it’s recommended to attend at least one session per week. Sessions are usually one to two hours long.
To Keep in Mind
You may be eager to learn French fast, but you have to consider several things. The term fast is kind of relative. It could mean three months to someone, while to others it could mean one year.
Also, you can’t expect quick results if you don’t dedicate too much time to your learning. Think of learning as working out. Here you won’t be exercising your muscles but your brain. You have to feed it the right foods in the right amounts. Your metabolism (learning capacity) may be different from that of others, but if you’re persistent, you will get the results you’re looking for.
Don’t blame yourself if you “cheated” one day. Things happen. We’re not perfect. We have other things to do in life, and that’s fine. Just don’t make a habit out of it. Try to establish a routine and follow it as much as possible.
So, how long will it take you to learn French? It’s variable. Depending on your learning capacity and how much time you dedicate to it, a reasonable time is six months to a year.
Let’s talk about the much-expected part many of you want to know. In a perfect world, you should study every day. However, we know it’s not always possible, and just like exercise, you also need some time off to recover. Having said that, below is a suggested schedule you could follow or modify:
Private lessons – 1 to 3 one-hour sessions per week
Language apps – 20 to 30 minutes per day
YouTube – 20 to 30 minutes per day
Books – optional or 20 to 30 minutes per day
Meetups/online language exchanges – 1 to 2 one-or-two-hour sessions per week
Total hours per week: 6 to 13 hours (1 to 2.17 hours a day on average)
Of course, you can study more time if you want to, but the time indicated above is a reasonable time. Some days will require more time (the ones when you take a private lesson) than others. Try to distribute your time as evenly as possible. Just like exercise, it’s better to vary your routine and do shorter daily sessions than super long sessions three times a week. You don’t have to do the same activities every day. Mix them up. Be creative!
You can also take a day off. On that day, you can watch a French movie with subtitles. Think of it as a reward for all your hard work. You deserve it.
The best way to learn French does not exist. Well, it’s not a one size fits all. The best way is the one that works for you. We all learn in different ways and at different paces. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Learning French is like working out. Sometimes you won’t feel like working out. That’s normal. Just remember why you started in the first place. Discover your motivation. Why do you want to learn French?
We are busy people in a crazy society, but we can always set some time aside to study. When there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s not necessary to study for long hours every day. Twenty minutes a day is better than nothing. Just be consistent, and your hard work will pay off.
I shared with you a sample schedule that worked for me. Give it a try. You don’t have to follow it by the letter, but it can be a good start.
What about you? Do you have a strategy for learning French? What do you do? How long do you study? Let me know in the comments below. Au revoir, les amis!