I’m not going to lie; learning French or any language is an involved and ongoing process. Sure, it’s possible to learn French fast, but ‘fast’ is a relative term, and what’s fast for one person isn’t necessarily fast for another. Essentially, what this means is you’re not going to learn it overnight, but that isn’t to say you can’t make tremendous progress and learn it at an accelerated rate.
Ideally, you’d want to be taking French classes, even if it’s just evening classes, reading books, and practicing with others who are fluent or are also learning the language. Then, any software or product you buy would serve to supplement your learning.
It’s well known that people who spend a lot of time in a foreign country and make a concerted effort to interact with the locals and speak the language can end up becoming a fluent speaker in that language. Say for example you had been taught or even taught yourself the basics, then booked a flight and spent say six months in France. Whilst there you interact with the French people and engage in interesting discourse, by the time the six months is up you would have a much wider vocabulary and more importantly you’d be speaking as if it were your first language.
When first starting out you may only know how to convey a few sentences and words, but after a while your French phrases and vocabulary will grow and develop. Even these essential things are useful for making reservations and eating at restaurants, traveling and getting around the country, town, or city, or to a specific attraction.
French is one of the most prevalent languages in the world after English and Spanish. It is spoken in numerous countries; so even if your travels aren’t directly to France, there’s no shortage of countries that speak the language.
Here is an alphabetized list of 29 different counties that speak French as one of their national language: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Vanuatu.
As you can see from the exhaustive list there is no shortage of French speaking counties. Now, you probably don’t ever intend to visit more than a few of these places, but at least there is a plethora of choice and variety to choose from. Of course, many of theses counties also speak other languages, for example: Belgium has three official national languages which are French, German, and Dutch.
There are even states within the United States (US) that have French as the de facto co-official language along with English. But the language can be found anywhere as it is recognised as the second most taught foreign language.
Why Learn French?
So, why learn French? well I’ve mentioned a whole host of reasons so far. So I’ll mention some of the not so obvious reasons.
Speaking another language is great for enjoying films, books, literature, and music in its original form. Sure, these can all be translated or subtitled and so on, but when this is done, something is lost in translation. It’s very difficult for the translations to convey the true meaning, feeling, mood of the original; and will invariably fail to do so. The best way to fully appreciate and understand what the author or artist really meant is to be able to read or listen to what the author actually wrote.
French is considered the ‘lingua franca’ of culture. This is because it’s one of those cultures that’s at the forefront of fashion, cuisine, dance, literature, film, and the arts. For its literature, France has been awarded more Nobel Prizes than any other country in the world. France is also considered one of the top producers of international films in the world. So you may want to check out some of Audrey Tautou’s movies.
There are also other compelling reasons to being bilingual or a polyglot. Such as keeping your mind active, not just active as in paying attention, but engaged and actually learning. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase: ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it!’, well it maybe simple, but it’s true. The more you learn and actively engage your brain the easier it becomes and the better you are for it. It has been shown that Children who have learnt a foreign language tend to have a higher aptitude and test scores when it comes to maths, reading, and language in general.
Once you’ve learned one foreign language it’s then much easier to learn another. If you choose to then go on to learn Spanish after French; you’d find it much easier the second time around. There is also the added bonus that a lot of what you’ve learned will also apply to the new language also, although this is of course dependant upon the languages chosen. Also, learning a new language can also help you understand your own, providing new insights and perspectives. Since so many languages over the ages have gone into the creation of the English language; therefore learning French for example can teach you words you didn’t know and where certain grammatical structures come from, teaching you about your own language.
If you have ever considered teaching, then schools and colleges tend to prefer candidates that can speak more than one language. Someone looking to become a teacher may undertake teacher training and also make an effort to learn French and/or Spanish by attending night classes in order to give themselves a edge over other candidates. Employers also appreciate candidates that speak more than one language, as they may have dealings with businesses that use another language. In short, being able to speak more than one or multiple languages increases your marketability.
I’ve mentioned that learning French, in particular, can also help you to better understand the English language. This is because despite English being a Germanic language; French has had a huge impact on it. As it turns out French is the biggest contributor of foreign words in English. So, one could say that by learning French you are also learning and expanding your English.
In business, some of the world’s largest companies have offices in France, such as Microsoft, IBM, Coca Cola, AT&T, Motorola, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Johnson and Johnson, to name the big ones. France is one of the leading investors in the US, with over 3000 French companies having subsidiaries in the United States, generating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
French is one of the official languages prevalent in international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross, and of course the United Nations. It’s also worth noting that French is one of the most commonly used languages on the Internet. It is also worth mentioning the fallacy that French is harder than Spanish, which is just not true.
Time for some more stats on French: French is spoken across five continents, and of those in more than two dozen counties. French is one of the most common native languages in the world, with something like over 80 million native speakers in the world, and another 190 million secondary speakers: that’s 270 million French speakers worldwide. As it stands French is the second most commonly taught secondary language in the world only second to English. So there is most definitely a chance that learning French will come in handy on your travels.
Ways Of Learning French
Whether you’re a beginner or at an intermediate level I’m sure you are always looking for ways to improve your skills. Whether that means utilizing websites, tools, and resources for independent, pair, or group learning. Here is a list of ideas that you may or may not have thought of when it comes to learning:
- Proficiency Tests – Find out how you rate when it comes to French. Also see how well you do on various French topics.
- Grammar Glossary – Can you remember the difference between an adjective and an adverb? don’t worry a lot of people can’t. Why not use a grammar glossary from the Internet which contains definitions of a vast array of terms.
- Standard Lessons – Lessons for you to practice your French pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. By far the most common: there are literally thousands of these to be found.
- Audio – Tempting to say French Audio tapes, but it would be more like audio files such as MP3s now. On the Internet there’s thousands upon thousands of sound files to practice to, music to listen to, and audio books to be entertained by. Best of all, they will help you learn French whilst being fun to listen to.
- Adult Learning – Kids may pick-up languages better than adults do since there brains are more malleable to knowledge, but that’s no reason to get discouraged. There are plenty of guidelines out there to aid you in learning French as an adult.
- Best Way To Learn – Everyone is different, and some people will try a variety of ways to learn until they find the best methods which suit them. Others will search for reviews and comparison sites and charts of the various options and discover which methods have proven to work well for most. Something to think about when deciding how you wish to approach the language.
- Not Being Discouraged – Set yourself goals and track your progress. This will help you to concentrate on the right things and to stay inspired by meeting those goals. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, when starting out you’re bound to make mistakes, but so long as you are trying you will invariably get there in the end.
- French Daily – The key to becoming fluent in any language, not just French, is practice. By practicing every day you’re training your brain to think in French, enabling it to become second nature. If possible you want to find ways of incorporating it in to your schedule, or even better, your daily life.
- Flashcards – These are a great way to learn vocabulary in a question and answer format. They are used everywhere as a means of drilling the knowledge into your head. A fantastic memorization tool.
- Listening – An important part of learning another language is interacting with other people using that language via speaking and listening. This is of course one of the downsides to independent study. Although, that being said you can still engage in the listening aspect using things such as online French comprehension listening activities.
- Diary – It would be useful to keep a diary or journal written in French. Not only to practice your French, but also so you can look back and see how much progress you’ve made in so little time. Other ideas are notebooks, web-quests, and scrapbooks.
- Games – Who doesn’t like games nowadays. There’s no rule to say you can’t have fun while you learn. There are a myriad of websites with online French games for all levels. You can use these to really put your French skills to the test playing games such as Concentration and Hangman in French.
- Verb Conjugator – A French verb conjugator maybe somewhat less fun than games, but it’s still a useful tool when it comes to remembering whether a verb is irregular or not. On the web you can find lists of conjugations for hundreds of French verbs.
- Dictionary – When you begin to find yourself needing to look-up words often, a dictionary is a must have tool. Whether you purchase one from a store, an online shop, or just use an online French dictionary website, it is going to turn out to be invaluable.
- Translators – There are now tools on the web such as Google Translator which can translate virtually any language into any other, and not just a word or a phrase, but whole documents, articles, and essays to name a few. These tools typically aren’t perfect when it comes to large amounts of text, but translators such as Googles are getting better all the time and can certainly be used for words or phrases such as from English to French, or French to English.
Ready To Learn!
So, if you’re ready to “teach yourself French” today! then Rocket French could be for you!
It’s quite easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of books, DVDs, and courses that are out there.
So, how are you supposed to choose?
Well you already know there’s lots of information and books out there, and that’s the problem – information overload!
Luckily enough! There are always a few that are up to the task and stand out from the rest. The one that stands out for me is Rocket French
If you’re looking for premium learn French software and high quality audio lessons, then you need look no further. Rocket French take pride in their product and their sales record speaks for itself.
If you’re at an advanced level and require advanced French lessons, then you’ll likely benefit from another product. Other products on the market of this quality may cost you upward of $400! This is another way in which Rocket French beats its competition.
If you are a complete beginner or at an intermediate level, then the Rocket French course is definitely for you!
Below is a list of the key feature that makes up Rocket French:
33 Audio Interactive French Lessons (Over 13 hours worth).
French Lessons (Downloadable).
Audio French Lessons (compatible with both MP3 an iPod).
Self Tests and Quizzes.
+ Much More…
By visiting this website; you’ve likely already make the decision to start learning French. Just making that decision and commitment is half the battle, and therefore you’re already half way to speaking French!