Whenever I train people who have just arrived in France my ﬁrst question is always, "Do you speak French?”" because knowing the language, even if not ﬂuently, is really the key to feeling comfortable in France. When you know the language you can ﬁnd out about where you are by reading local newspapers and other information. You can ask for things… and understand the answers! More importantly, language is a way to see with the eyes of others. When we start to understand the language, we start to understand the ways of thinking. In the words of Federico Fellini "Language is a different vision of life".
Whatever stage you’re at, think about what you want to achieve and set reasonable goals. Knowing your level can also be helpful. There are some free on-line tests to evaluate your level in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. When you know your level, you can set clear goals for your progress.
Once you have set your language learning goals, you can think about method. When it comes to method choose one or several methods that you like and that you can ﬁt into your daily routine. Regular practice is very important. Even if you only spend ten minutes learning French, do it regularly. Mixing methods is also good as this allows you to work on different skills.
If you like reading why not try some books in French that are adapted to your level. You can ﬁnd these in the “français langue étrangère” section of bookshops or on the internet, for example at www.lire-en-francais-facile.com. You can also ﬁnd bilingual books; one page in French, with the opposite page in English.
If you like apps there are some, like Duolingo, that can be fun. Some are free and others you have to pay for.
There are plenty of resources for learning French to be found on- line such as:
- http://apprendre. tv5monde.com/en here you can ﬁnd various types of exercises with the answers,
- http://savoirs.rﬁ.fr/ en/apprendre-Enseigner here you can ﬁnd resources according to topic or content,
- http://phonetique.free. fr/indexgb.htm to work on pronunciation.
If you prefer learning French in a more sociable way, why not go along to some Franglish events (www.montpellier.franglish.eu/fr/ echange-linguistique-montpellier)? This is a kind of language-based speed-dating event in a local bar in Montpellier where you can “connect to locals while practicing your French”. There are also other associations in the area (see list p26) as well as schools. To choose a good school, check that it has the quality label www.qualiteﬂe.fr.
Whatever you do, practice, practice practice! Don’t be afraid to dare to try out your new phrases. When you see that they work, you’ll feel more conﬁdent and motivated to continue!