Tips for learning French as an adult

mars 10, 2024

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Tips for learning French as an adult

Ahhh! French. The melodious language of love, creativity and enlightenment.

Have you ever pictured yourself learning French to open the gateways to new adventures in France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and even African and Asian countries? Dreaming about learning French as an asset to propel your career?

No matter why you want to learn the 2nd most widely learned foreign language after English and the 5th most spoken language in the world, learning French as an adult can be easy and fun. Understandably, French differs from English in that the former is derived from Latin, whereas the latter has its roots in the Germanic languages. However, it is important to remember that you won’t be starting from scratch: French and English share a common alphabet and both languages have a lot in common from a lexical standpoint.

So how does an adult begin to learn French? Find out our top 5 tips for learning French as an adult.

1. Determine why you want to learn French

As you embark on a journey to learn any new language, first ask yourself why you want to learn French. Are you planning on travelling extensively in French-speaking countries? Are you considering applying for a job that requires French? The answers to these questions will guide you in choosing the type of French lessons for adults and other approaches to learning French as an adult.

2. Know your learning style

Not everyone learns the same way—and that is okay! There are lots of ways to learning a language. Some people learn better in classroom settings. Others like the sink-or-swim method by totally immersing themselves in a country whereby they cannot necessarily revert back to their mother tongues. Do you prefer studying French grammar or striking up conversations—or a bit of both? Knowing your learning style will allow you to evaluate adult French classes that are right for you.

3. Start with the basics

The best way to start learning French as an adult is to start off with the basics. Enroll in beginner French lessons for adults, whether in-person or online. One caveat: be wary of schools or online services that make sweeping promises that you will become fully bilingual in French in three months. Learning a language is a journey that cannot be rushed. Some people learn faster than others. In addition, if you are going on a trip to Québec City, for example, the level of French you need will not be the same than if you need French for a new job; you cannot circumvent the process to attain the level required for your profession.

4. Invest in a French-speaking hobbies

Learning French as an adult shouldn’t be relegated just to the classroom. Buy some beginner’s books and exercises in French. Start listening to French-speaking podcasts or online radio stations, browse French websites that are aligned with your interests. Shop online on the French websites of the brands and companies you love. Research to see if you can find a local French club to have conversations with like-minded students. With so many streaming services available today, you can even watch your favourite TV shows in French (with or without English subtitles), original French foreign films, or even a movie you have watched ad nauseum in English that has been translated into French. You will be amazed at the many—and often affordable—opportunities adults have to learn French.

5. Go abroad!

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to learn French as an adult is to visit a country that speaks French. Of course, the longer you can stay, the better! There are a wide variety of options for French immersion for adults. Many specialized schools in French locations have comprehensive immersion programs that combine in-classroom learning, workshops, field trips, stays with French-speaking families, volunteer work and more. Total immersion is indeed the fastest way to learn French as an adult. Moreover, it allows you to truly experience the French language and the country’s distinct French culture in ways that traditional French lessons for adults cannot offer.

As you can see, learning French as an adult can be a highly rewarding and exciting part of your life plan. French for adults will immerse you into a myriad of cultural universes that will expand your horizons, foster new friendships and enrich your life for years to come.

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