Note: you might also like to see Learn to Speak French on the main site, which is more detailed than the chatter below!
During the winter my French speaking skills seem to go into a bit of a decline, then pick up again during the spring and summer as I get out and about with French people a bit more. Too much time spent gawping at the computer does little to help!
I often get asked about the best ways to learn French, either by people who have just moved here or by people visiting for a holiday who want to be able to chatter away – or even better, eavesdrop on the people sat at the next table in the cafe. So I’ve been doing some research.
I learned a lot of grammar and vocabulary from books, which works well – until it is time to actually speak French! I also, a few years ago, worked through the Michael Thomas tapes – these are a popular way of learning French, but for me they changed from ‘very simple’ to ‘wow that’s a bit hard to follow’ rather quickly and I never finished the course.
Nowadays the ‘modern’ approach is to use tricks, games and word associations to help you learn a new language, and this can work well. An example of this kind of system can be found at Learn to Speak French in 20 Minutes a Day – works a treat as long as you remember to do it every day (well, OK, most days). No weakening, stick at from now until your visit, and you’ll be speaking like a native!
A second option is the course at ‘Learn French in 8 Weeks‘. A bit more costly than the one above, but hey, what price a second language – think how impressed your friends and family will be when you are chatting with the waiter in the restaurant! A well prepared and thought out interactive course designed to make language learning as easy as possible, some games thrown in, and more fun than an episode of Desperate Housewives!
Both these courses are paid not free (sorry!) but offer an unconditional money back guarantee so hopefully you can’t go wrong. If you do try either of these courses please let me know how well they worked for you – and if you know any others that work well let me know about that as well.
Now I’m off to send a postcard – I got an email from a kindergarten in ‘Big Sandy, MT, USA’ (I don’t know which state MT is!) saying they are trying to get postcards from every continent in the world, so I thought I’d better represent Europe! Now do you think they will be able to read French…