WHY BOTHER TO LEARN FRENCH?
The pleasure of a visit to France is improved dramatically if you can speak at least some French. Apart from the many benefits that 'normal' communication brings, you will find that the French people are very pleased to meet visitors who have made an effort, at least to master some of the basics.
If you can hold a basic conversation in French, that will help you a great deal, and it is reasonably easy to learn enough French that you can manage quite well in everyday conversation. There are several ways to go about learning French, and if at all possible you should start a few weeks before your visit. And if you are not planning to visit but would still like to learn? Start now!
The longer you allow yourself, the easier it is. 20 minutes of work and study per day is much easier to manage than an intensive crash-course.
LANGUAGE LEARNING TECHNIQUES
Before you look at the options below for learning French, you should think about what makes it so hard to learn a language in the first place.
For some information on this, we recommend you visit a useful site that talks about WHY it is hard to learn a foreign language and, more importantly, what you can do to make it easy. Although the site is selling a product - a guide to how best to learn a language - the site itself contains a great deal of free information to get you started. You might just want to buy the guide! see it at Ultimate Language Secrets.
In a similar vein, and with lots of references from satisfied customers, is Breakthrough Language Learning.
GETTING STARTED - BOOKS
There are a lot of 'learn French' textbooks available, for all levels and abilities. Some have accompanying tapes or CDs. There is a potential problem - it is difficult to remain motivated and interested when you are faced with a book, but nevertheless books remain an important part of language learning.
If you are in the UK you can access Amazon UK French language books below.
THE MODERN APPROACH
The ‘modern’ approach to learning French (or any other language) is to use tricks, games and word associations to help you learn, and this works very well. If you struggled with languages at school you will love this method! No dusty textbooks and no teacher giving you a hard time. There is, not surprisingly, a large range of quality and prices for the language software.
THE BEST POSSIBLE LANGUAGE COURSE?
For the ultimate French learning experience you want the ultimate course. That is almost certainly the course from Auralog, which covers all aspects of learning French effectively and in great detail. The course has 850 hours of learning materials and 40 different activities to keep you involved and interested, and has a renowned method of using computer speech recognition technology to ensure the courses are as effective as possible.
Various levels of course are available - beginner, intermediate and advanced, and you save money if you buy several products together. We can happily recommend this product!
Anyway, you can find out more by visiting their website - be sure to watch the 'Rolling Demo' which explains the process. Visit the site HERE: AURALOG
BUDGET END SOFTWARE
There are several low cost systems for learning French - some work very well if you remember to do it every day (well, OK, most days). Stick at from now until your visit, and you’ll be speaking like a native! The way the courses are set-up makes it fun rather than a chore, so you might find you want to do a little extra each day - but don't go mad, slow and steady is the goal. The courses are bought online and downloaded so you could be doing it in just a few minutes from now - one of the most popular is this one: learn French in 20 minutes a day!
THAT'S NOT ENOUGH...I WANT TO LIVE AND BREATHE FRENCH!
The second aspect to your French learning is trying to actually listen to French when possible, even when you aren't actively studying.
At first you will understand very little, but it's a great sense of achievement when you first understand a sentence or phrase. Nowadays there are various opportunities to hear French - your television might have a French language channel, for example, or you will probably have DVDs that can be listened to in various languages, including French. This second method works well if you already know the film in English, because you know what to expect.
Whatever course or approach you take, if you stick at it regularly in just a few short weeks you will make dramatic progress. The important thing is to get started!