How to learn French in 3 months?
French is an official language in 29 countries including France, provinces of Canada, parts of Belgium, dozen African nations, five European countries, Vanuatu, several French overseas territories in Oceania, and many more countries. It is the only language other than English to be spoken on all five continents. In fact, among its 275 million speakers, more than 96 million live in Africa, yet it also represents the 2nd most widely spoken native language and foreign language in Europe
Spoken by 19.71% of the European Union’s population, French is the third most widely spoken language in the EU, after English and German and the second most taught foreign language in the EU. All institutions of the EU use French as a working language along with English and German
A few native French speakers would want you to believe that French is not an easy language but it is ‘difficile’!
Learning the first language in itself is a little tougher than learning subsequent languages for a very simple reason. While you learn the first language you are also figuring out the best and the shortest way possible to learn and master a language. All the experience, tips and tricks that you accumulate from the first language help you avoid mistakes, dead ends, bad learning techniques enabling you to learn the second language third, fourth, fifth languages much easier.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You must have realistic expectations from your learning, especially keeping in mind the time duration and number of hours that you can invest every day. Before I explain to you what all you can achieve realistically in 3 months, I want you to know that you certainly cannot master a language in 3 months.
With that in mind let me guide you on what you CAN do, how you should PLAN to slowly steadily advance towards your learning keeping up the momentum.
Let's see how to achieve the best possible of French Language in 3 months!
In the first month week by week introduce yourself slowly to new topics:
Introduce your brain to words in the French language by listening to French podcasts such as
FrenchPod101, Coffee Break French, audiobooks, French music playlist on Spotify or YouTube, listening to French radio such as TuneIn, watching French movies with English subtitles and English movies with French subtitles, to get a fair idea of the language. Listening to all such resources will also help you train to listen to French words and pronunciations. To ensure you can take out at least 5 to 10 minutes to listen to the French language could be news could be radio anything that you can do while on your way back home or while walking your dog or at any other convenient time, spare at hand.
Once you train your ears to listen to French words, phrases, speech, accent, dialects we recommend you start maintaining a journal or a diary. In the next part of learning, we will be learning to accumulate/gather all such words and phrases, which are simple enough and used in day to day conversations. Other than that, update your vocabulary lists with fillers, conversation connectors, idioms and slang so that you can hold small conversations going forward. A great resource to help you learn your phrases is Omniglot.com.
Remember, the phrases you collect now don’t have to be grammatically perfect. The idea is to be able to start getting confident to say basic things about yourself, such as “Je Ross. Je Australian.” Sure, it’s far from perfect. But you get the point. And so will your first conversation partner.
By the second week you should practice speaking the phrases that you have collected in your vocabulary book verifying the pronunciations with Omniglot.com and Forvo.com to get better. And as you practice you see how different the French pronunciation is from English. It also has its challenges such as getting the R just right or figuring out which letters are silent. But don’t fret or get anxious over it. Speak aloud, record yourself and play the recordings until you get the pronunciation correct. Keep adding new phrases to your vocabulary book the moment you able to perfect the old ones. Prepare for a small conversations such as Hi, I am Ross. And you? I am from Australia. Where do you live? Etc
Now that you’re able to hold small conversations(irrespective of the grammar correctness), I recommend you could log in to online language exchange of conversation exchange programs such as MeetUp, CouchSurfing, Italki, and many more that are available online. In this manner, you will be able to improve your French by listening to the native French speaker and getting corrected at the moment you make a mistake via feedback. You could also find a French teacher on Italki, although it is slightly on the expensive side. You can also take advantage of the free French lessons offered by few teachers online.
Take slow but steady steps!
Sign up for a free ‘Speak in a Week’ course to get confident about holding your first conversation with the native speaker.
After your first French conversation, I beckon you to prepare yourself for the third week. I encourage you to schedule a minimum of 3 French conversations a week so that you soon get into the rhythm of speaking French besides slowly start picking up nuances of the language.
Speaking will anyways enable you to remember what you are talking and to help train your brain we recommend you use flashcard apps such as Memrise, Anki. Anki’s SRS algorithm will automatically have you spend more time practising the phrases you’re less familiar with, and less time on the ones you know well. Practise your flashcards for at least fifteen minutes per day. I also recommend you start reading something more complex than than the simple phrases and words you learnt so far. The sooner you master the basics of reading, the sooner you’ll be able to use French literature as a study tool.
Start reading French. I suggest you start from Languageguide.org’s beginning readings page. You can click on any link to view a short French excerpt that starts a recording so you can listen to a native speaker read the text as you follow along. The site allows you to hover your mouse over the punctuation marks at the end of any sentence to see its English translation.
Week three is a good time to evaluate what’s worked for you in learning French, and what hasn’t worked so well. That is, if you’ve kept up your practice. Chances are you’ve had some days when you felt super motivated, and some days when you were tired, bored or had other engagements. This week is a great time to put things in their places and create a study schedule that works best for you.
Remember it is really very effective to study every day of the week even as little as 10 mins, rather doing all your study in one or two days. Because of a few simple reasons, it helps you firm up your study routine and you don’t have to spend extra time trying to figure out where you left it last!
Throughout this week, keep reading, keep scheduling conversations, and keep building your Anki deck. Introduce yourself to Clozemaster, Drops, Mosalingua, Duolingo to take further advantage in learning. No matter what else might get in the way of your studying, you can always find a few spare moments to check in your Anki deck.
The fourth week is all about maintaining the schedule you set for yourself, and see how it works. Tweak your schedule, if it been little too heavy considering the time that you have at hand, so that it works for you. In the last week of the first month I recommend you keep practicing and adding yo your Anki deck, resume listening to a French podcast or radio show, French playlists and conversations with native speakers this week. You will also find your listening to have improved significantly and you would be able identify spoken words better. So why not try some of the great YouTube videos to train yourself such as FrenchPod101, French with Alexa, Comme Une Française TV, Français Authentique etc or news articles prescribed by CEFR on TV5 Monde!
Review yourself, your progress, your learning to see how far you’ve come in just a few weeks, even if you weren’t able to study as much as you wanted. You’ll be amazed by your progress and find it hard to believe that at one time, you could barely pronounce Bonjour. As long as you studied consistently and didn’t give up, you won’t be looking back!
Review your learning for the ongoing two months, and analyze which way of study was least helpful, to move on to a better study method, that worked better for you. Remember, how you study has a lesser role to play than how often and consistently you study. Keep learning and speaking French everyday to get fluent in the language, sooner than you expect! Three months is quite a short time for anyone to learn any language leave alone French, which is tougher than most Romance languages, so I recommend you to spend a minimum of 45 minutes a day along with 4 hours on a weekend.