Where can I learn to speak French outside of school?
French is a Romance language estimated to have about 76 million native speakers; about 235 million daily, fluent speakers and another 77–110 million secondary speakers who speak it as a second language to varying degrees of proficiency, mainly in Africa, besides another 300 million people worldwide that are “able to speak the language”. French is the sole working language (e.g. at the Court of Justice of the European Union), the 18th most natively spoken language in the world, 6th most spoken language by total number of speakers and the second or third most studied language worldwide (with about 120 million current learners).
This therefore adds French to the list of most sought after languages!
However, the classroom study system rarely works effectively, as students aren’t given enough attention to develop their spoken language skills. School exams are focused heavily on examining reading and writing skills, when of the four, speaking and listening are probably the most important! Moreover, you just can not learn to speak French at school, because the focus is to learn grammar rules, and nothing much beyond that. So, if you’re somebody who is looking to improve their spoken French, then for certain, you are likely to look outside of the school to gain a better grasp of the spoken French language.
Let's now see how you can gain French language knowledge out of school!
There are plenty of resources (which, in my opinion, are better than school classes) that you can use to improve upon your knowledge of French:
1. One-to-one French classes at a local language school. Whilst these can be costly, I found these to be the most effective way of learning the basics of French as you have a dedicated teacher.
2. Learn a language for free using online apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise, Anki, Awabe, Multibhashi etc These apps are very convenient, as you can study from them whenever you wish and use it whenever you have spare time. The apps also keep you glued to the subject by ways of interesting quizzes.
3. Going the immersion way! Alternatively you could choose to spend some time in France or a francophone country! This is highly recommended once you have an idea of the basics of a language. You may feel out of your depth at first, but it is a really good way of rapidly improving your French.
4. Sign up for exchange programs
5. Find an external company who can help you find a French host family to stay with during the holidays.
6. Explore multiple resources! Surveys and reviews have shown that most people learn a new language through consistent usage of the language in any manner around them. It could be in the form of reading comic books, playing video games, reading story books, listening to podcasts, listening to Spotify playlist, listening to audiobooks, watching movies and so on and so forth. It’s an entertaining way of learning not only about the language but also their culture.
7. Curate a list of movies for yourself with a little google research. Listen to French movies with English subtitles and English movies with French subtitles, so you could learn it both ways and get a hang of the actual spoken language. Watch your favorite French television shows with English subtitles and vice-versa!
8. Find conversation partners for yourself through language exchange programs online – they will keep you motivated by challenging you every day even when you are not motivated. There are plenty of language exchange programs that you can enroll online in the event you don’t have a French native speaker around you in your neighborhood or community. To be able to master your spoken language you could explore language exchange programs such as, Conversation Exchange, HelloTalk, Meetup, Italki or social platforms such as Quora, Lang-8, Facebook groups, WhatsApp chat and man more. These exchange programs offer you helpful features such as texting, voice notes, calls in addition to finding you a native French speaker to hold conversations with!
9. Alternatively, seek sparring partners. Sparring partners are people who want to learn your native language and speak the language I want to master.
10. YouTube is your good friend. I personally recommend exploring a number of available channels, including but not limited to: Learn French with Alexa and Learn French with VINCENT.
11. Borrow books from a nearby library written in French (even children’s books to start with) or meant for learning the language. Read short stories/children stories in French. Asterix for example, has been translated in a million languages and might help: http://www.asterix-obelix.nl/.
FRENCH – MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOKEN LANGUAGE. If there is a language which draws a unanimous worldwide consent regarding its beauty, it is French. According to several informal online surveys, there seems to be a general infatuation for spoken French all over the world. French has been described as smooth, flowing, elegant and aesthetically pleasing.
So what’s stopping you? Go-ahead and start learning from today!