Is two years enough time to learn functional French?
French is an official language in 29 countries spread over several continents, the majority of which are part of the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), a group of 84 countries that share the official use or teaching of French. French is also one of the United Nations’ six official languages. In France, it is the first language. One-fifth of Europeans who speak other languages natively will also speak French as a second language. French is also the world’s 18th most spoken language, the 6th most spoken language by an overall number of speakers, and the second or third most learned language. French was spread to new lands in the Americas, Africa, and Asia as a part of French and Belgian colonisation beginning in the 16th century. The majority of second-language speakers are from Francophone Africa, specifically Gabon, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritius, Senegal, and Ivory Coast. It is also known as the language of love and is one of the five main Romance languages.
Let's now see what we can do in these two years to accelerate our learning and make the best use of time
Two years should be a good enough time to learn French well enough to get around in a French-speaking country. However, to be fluent you will have to work dedicatedly on learning French the right way.
There are three keys to learning French and really any language…
If you set yourself realistic, measurable, short and long term goals, plan your 2 years and study regularly, two years is more than sufficient time to learn any language. While the correct methodology will empower you in 6 months to a reasonable learning ability, not taking the correct measures might take you way more than 2 years, or it might even take forever.
You would need to spend time learning it every day. Earmark at least 5 hours a week to begin with gradually raising it to 10 and so on and so forth. Studying consistently! Learning on weekends will do no good as compared to learning every day. Identify the real need, the driving reason, your motivation or your passion to learn the language. Only a real passion, with lots of hard work, will be able to help you achieve your target goal. If you won’t be learning it every day, two or more years, nothing will be enough. Regularity is important. You can take an intensive course in the first month, get to a decent level, and then forget everything during the next 23 months if you don’t come back to the language!
Immerse yourself in the French environment wherever you are. Create a small French corner at home. Put up important pics with their French names. Label all objects at home with the respective French words so that you do not have to translate from your native language into French and you can identify those objects with their respective French names. Find yourself a conversation partner somebody in and around your neighbourhood, who can talk to you in French and help you improve your French. If however, you are unable to find one I recommend you volunteer for French community services to find a French speaker who could help you or go shopping in a French store, that would force to read labels of in French, besides talking to the staff in French and who knows you may be able to get a French speaker who is willing to help you improve your French from the customers! If none of these work then I suggest you go online to sites such as conversationpartners, languagepartners, Hello Talk, Italki to find a conversation partner for yourself, who can help you improve your spoken language and correct you. Listen to French music only, write a daily journal or diary in French gathering all those words which are used in most common conversations every day. Listening is ALWAYS key, you could opt for reliable online audio resources such as audiobooks, French podcasts, News in slow French, French radio and many more.
Join online courses such as Pimsleur to make a head start!
Start the first half of the year listening to the language in as many audio forms that you can lay your hands on, speaking the language, laying greater emphasis on proper speech and accent, and the rest half in identifying the alphabets and the accent marks. French is hard to speak properly and you need to put plenty of time into training your mouth to make the sounds, so join a conversation group or two. Start the next half of the year intensively studying grammar.
Further sharpen your learning with apps such as Duolingo, Google translate, etcetera. For tracking your progress you can use an app similar to ‘toggl’ to track your time on different tasks. Duolingo has a “streak of activity” feature that helps with this, and you can use sites that hold you accountable.
Learning a new foreign language, such as French, would undoubtedly improve your career prospects and wage potential. France has earned the most Nobel Prizes for literature than any other country in the world. It has some of Europe’s top universities, making it an appealing country for further studies. However, basic knowledge of French is expected for admission to the majority of public universities. France is now one of the world’s most popular international tourist destinations, with over 100 million visitors per year to see world-famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Lovre Museum, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, the Palace of Versailles, and famous sports stadiums. Many significant publications in the arts and social sciences have come from France.
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