How much time do I need to spend to learn French?
France, officially the French Republic, French France or République Française, is a country in northwestern Europe. Historically and culturally it is amongst the most important nations in the Western world. France has also played a highly significant role in international affairs, with former colonies in every corner of the globe. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and the Pyrenees, France has long provided a geographic, economic, and linguistic bridge joining northern and southern Europe. It is Europe’s most important agricultural producer and one of the world’s leading industrial powers.
French learning brings with it immense personal and professional benefits irrespective of your age or skill level! French is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, and there are over 220 million French speakers across the globe, according to the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Considering the many cultural contributions that France has given us in Arts -Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Seurat, Degas, Gauguin, Caillebotte, Rodin, Pissarro, Signac, arguably van Gogh, Music -Ravel, Debussy, Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Berlioz, Stravinsky, arguably Chopin, 41 Heritage sites that are preserved under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), philosophy, literature, architecture, political ideas, historical wonders, cuisines, fashion, films, croissants and champagne etc French culture was historically shaped by Celtic, Roman, and Germanic cultures. And France has made an effort to preserve the cultures of its smaller communities.
French motto “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” reflects the values of French society. Equality and unity are important to the French. The French also value style and sophistication, and they take pride in the beauty and artistry of their country.
It’s no surprise why many people want to learn French. In fact, learning to speak French is the most meaningful way you can settle yourself in one of the most fascinating cultures on earth. But how long does it take to learn French – and what are some ways to speed up the process?
How Long Does it Take to Learn French?
When you’re thinking of learning a new language such as French, it’s quite normal to have many questions and concerns with respect to how long it will take to learn the nuances, dialect, idioms, slangs to be able to speak like a native speaker.
If you’re serious about learning French and you’d like to consider your options, here’s what you should know: everyone’s experience is different. How quickly you learn French is dependent upon many personal and external factors, including how much time of time you can commit each day, what types of methods you’re using to learn, do you have adequate support and resources, do you have a trainer to help you improve your French skills, do you have a conversational speaker to practice your skills with, have you learnt any language before, etc
FSI – Foreign Service Institute, USA has classified languages according to difficulty levels for English language speakers. French falls into Category 1. In other words, it is considered one of the easiest languages to learn because it is “closely related” to English. And according to the FSI, it would take an English-speaker approximately 23-24 weeks or 575-600 hours of study to become proficient in the French language. English speakers must keep themselves aware of the existing false cognates that will help them differentiate between the two languages more efficiently. Alternatively knowing any of the Romance languages can actually give you an edge in learning French because these languages share similar grammatical structures and vocabulary words called cognates. Each subsequent language learnt, makes you a pro to know the method of learning on your own. You are able to identify your learning! Another factor that will help you learn faster is if you’ve learnt any bit of French in school, or you are aware of basic French in other words you have a bit of foundation to build on. You may also have an easier time learning French if you have access to a community of French-speaking people. Practising with Conversation Partners is an important part of the learning process, and having French speakers near you gives you more opportunities to actually use your French skills. Learning French is also easier if started at a young age because Kids pick up information without apprehension and internalize it better. Again, for those who wish to master spoken or business French or learn only the basics, the road is much easier. One important piece of advise – unless you approach learning any new thing with complete heart and soul, efforts, dedicated time, motivation, excitement, chalked-out schedule and commitment you will never make any progress. The same goes for learning a language or learning French. You need to have an intent and need to learn else you will not get any far. Use that as a source of strength when you are disheartened over something. Stop yourself! Collect yourself all over again and restart as fresh with a positive mind. Talk to yourself and believe you do not have am option to fail. YOU HAVE TO DO IT!
Fluency Goals Explained
To define your fluency goals and develop realistic expectations. It’s also a great way to set realistic goals and determine an achievable plan for reaching them.
A goal is to learn to speak French at an advanced level in just one month by studying only two hours per week, which is not a realistic expectation. However, if you plan to achieve an advanced level by studying and practising french for multiple hours a day, over the course of three months, that might actually be doable. If you are not sure how to study the integral aspects of the language, start by learning the rules.
Fluency in French is a need-based personal opinion. Language proficiency or linguistic proficiency is the ability of an individual to speak or perform in a language. For some being able to hold an understandable basic conversation with their business clients or friends could mean fluency, for others, however, it could mean being able to manoeuvre their way around while travelling, or an advanced skill level that allows you to engage in meaningful conversations, and for the others fluency could we actually talk like a native French speaker. Whatever be your personal parameter or need, it is important to note that there are different levels of fluency available!
CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The Council of Europe develops CEFR as part of a project called the “Language Learning for European Citizenship.” CEFR standards are used to measure the proficiency of individuals in various languages (German, French, English or Spanish.) spoken in European. The CEFR is not only used in academic settings but also used by several employers.CEFR split language learners into three main types – A, B, C and then additionally divide each category into two categories like A1, A2, and B1, B2
Beginner (A1) is essential “tourist French”
Beginners who can understand and use basic phrases and familiar expressions. Can slowly interact with French speakers in a simple way
Advanced Beginner (A2) is pretty much where college “Reading French for Graduate Students”
The advanced beginner can also understand basic and day-to-day phrases and expressions and engage in the direct exchange of communication with others, and provide simple details.
An intermediate speaker, is able to complete sentences based on experiences and preferences, travel with ease, manage simple navigation and communication when necessary.
Advanced speakers of French can understand abstract and concrete topics, including those in complex and specialized fields, and can interact with fluent and native speakers in an easy, spontaneous way
As suggested by the name of this level, the expert French speaker has essentially mastered the language. They can express themselves in a wide variety of nuanced ways, and they can read and consider detailed texts, can use language in a more flexible way, depending on social or professional contexts, and above all, can understand almost everything they see and hear.
How to speed up matters
Learning a romance language for the first time will require a strong intent, will, resolution, a lot of effort and some homework such as past tense and subject-verb agreement. If you commit to this early and often, you can quickly ramp up to the level of someone who already knows a romance language.
Ways to Learn French Faster
Now learning French, you would have explored how to there are a number of ways to achieve success in Learning French.
To learn a new skill, the first thing you need is to set a realistic goal for yourself- define what you want and how early you need it, then it needs a compelling intent, unshakeable determination and willingness to go beyond the ordinary to accomplish your goals, coupled with determination, commitment and smart efforts channelised straight to the target goal.
Now, after arming yourself with the above, you need to proactively judge all options available to you and select one that aligns your personal learning style with the right mix of speed and efficiency along with accuracy and fun. You could choose from online classes to online games, flashcards, audiobooks, podcasts, suitable playlists on Spotify, French movies on Netflix with English subtitles and English movies with French subtitles, joining a literary club, volunteer for French community events, open houses, community projects, apps such as Memrise, Multibhashi, Lingvist, Duolingo, to study or italki, Couchsurfing meetup or any language exchange group to find conversation partners to practice spoken French with, workbooks, activities to pull pleasure textbook reading or online or offline courses taught why are the trainers all while choosing the right techniques to reach your goal.
Learning French Online
Taking an online course to learn French is the best option, especially if you’re someone who craves to learn with a structured syllabus and punctual regime. You could select from a full or partial immersion program or the one offering study certificate with the CEFR level mentioned.
Games for Learning French
Language learning games are a great way to stay entertained. For example, cloze tests are an activity where a participant is given a sentence or passage in a foreign language, with certain words removed. Then, the learner has to determine which words are missing. Cloze tests are either simple or complex depending on skill level, and they help with grammar, language comprehension and cultural knowledge.
If you’re a complete beginner, Duolingo is a good way to explore French. The levels they put you on could be deceptive as they inflate them to encourage you to learn, so you might also want to check out Memrise to help learn basic phrases and vocab, Multibhashi to teach you the tricks of learning great French, or Lingvist for some fun extra practice.
Practice perfects the job!
Practising French Conversation
Another way you can speed up your French learning is by practising French conversation. French Together offers a number of tips for finding French conversation partners who are equal to or more advanced than you. Tools like Meetup and Couchsurfing can also help you seek out a like-minded French learner. If you’re struggling to find someone in your neighbourhood, you might want to consider hosting your own conversation French event. Or, you can turn to an international language exchange group to find virtual conversation partners from across the world
Practising French Writing Skills with The Great Translation Game
The Great Translation Game is a unique way to practice writing in French. You simply select or upload any French text that you like, read through it in French with automatically provided English translations, and then work through it again translating from the English back into French. It gives you immediate feedback on your translations, which helps you recognize and correct common errors in your French writing. And since you’re using native-level content of your own choice, you can be sure that the feedback is always spot on. This kind of writing practice with the material you are genuinely interested in is a cornerstone of a good French learning strategy.
How Long Does it Take to get a French Accent?
In all honesty, a non-native French speaker will never be able to develop the native fluency, that every French learner keeps running after! Your goal should be to enhance your speaking abilities and get fluent, to a level where you are understood clearly, without a scope of misunderstanding, by the native French speakers! One of the best ways to do so is by indulging in French movies and music, which can enhance your French listening skills and make challenging accents and dialects more familiar.
If you’re lucky enough to live in France or another French-speaking country, French fluency may be easier to achieve in a shorter amount of time. Some people say that beginners can become fluent in one year, but that of course depends on your experiences abroad. If you’re driven, excited and hungry to master French, you’ll be fluent before you know it.
Your objective decides how fast you will be able to learn the language! If you are going to pursue the language giving it adequate time with complete dedication diligently then you certainly will have a shorter path to learning. The best motivation for a person to learn anything comes when they want to do it for themselves!
So, If you go to Alliance Francaise and decide to study 8 hours a week (Intensive) (and you give in your best efforts! and keep clearing each level without repeating any, the duration of various levels are
A1+A2: 1 year
B1: 1 year
B2: 1 year
C1: 6 – 9 Months
If you wish to appear for C2 or study for it, the classes happen in Pune. I’ve never seen DALF C2 happening in Delhi and not heard about the classes.
Bonne chance et bon courage!