Is it possible to learn French from home? Find out now!
Are you thinking about learning French? That is great news. Nothing is more exciting than learning something new for the first time. And nowadays, you can do it from the comfort of your home. Not sure if that’s the best option? Check our post about all the tips to learn a language from home and forget about your worries.
Despite that, in this post, we are going to try to go into more detail about the best ways to learn French online. We are going to focus on the more difficult parts of the language and then we will check the different ways in which to tackle education according to your level.
Is French hard to learn for English speakers?
French can seem a bit difficult at first. The pronunciation, the accents, the strange words… It can be a little intimidating. This overwhelming feeling is completely normal and it may seem impossible to fight. However, the answer is NO. The French language is not hard to learn. It’s not hard as long as you are using the right learning methods and you have the passion to keep going.
Moreover, we are talking about a language that is similar to English. Some things may differ but it’s the same alphabet, a lot of similar vocabulary, and they share part of their origin. But, in the end, it’s just another language. You will need time, effort, and commitment but that is always the sacrifice you need to make when accepting a challenge like this.
Here’s a list of the possible things that will create confusion:
One of the most important things to master is the French pronunciation. Usually, unless you can speak correctly, the native people will have a hard time understanding you. That, unfortunately, forces you to pay close attention to how to pronounce every word. And if you are an English speaker, well… it will take a bit of time.
Why? French has sounds that as English speakers we are not used to. Our pronunciation standard doesn’t apply, and we will have to learn a completely different set of rules. We have to take into account that in French we stress words differently, there are silent letters, nasal vowels, new sounds…
What can I do? The answer is easy: practice pronunciation. Book a private native French tutor if possible, and you can practice for as long as you want. They can correct your mistakes and give you tips on how to improve.
As English speakers, this is one of the most annoying things to learn. When learning French, we will have to get familiar with the different accent marks. And that is something we also need to take into account because the accent marks change drastically how we pronounce some words.
And what’s so hard about them? Well… we will have to learn five different accent marks: acute accent (É), circumflex (Â), grave accent (À) and dieresis or umlaut (Ë). And it may take some time to get used to them. Remember that they change the way the words are pronounced.
How can I learn them? There are books and guides out there specifically to help you learn them. Don’t only memorize the words, learn the rules. If you are having a hard time grasping the formula, try learning with a private tutor. They may be able to solve the doubts and help you learn them better.
As English speakers, we have a pretty good advantage when it comes to genders because we are quite neutral. However, if you want to learn French, Spanish, or German… Sooner or later you will have to face gendered words. Words are either masculine or feminine. And you need to remember which is which.
How do we know the difference? Unfortunately, there are no rules or a reasonable pattern. The words are either masculine or feminine. And there’s no other explanation. You will find words that have the feminine (la) or the masculine (le) article and you will have to memorize them with their gender for future uses.
How do I memorize them? In the beginning, don’t focus too much on the genders. Sure, memorize it, but remember that it’s really not that important at first. Once you get a grasp on the basics, it will be easier for you to identify the gender of the words. In the end, rather than memory, what you may need is practice.
This further complicates the pronunciation of some words. A liaison is when you pronounce differently the ending consonants of a word if a vowel or the letter “h” comes right after. The French language usually has a lot of words where the final consonant is mute. However, if the following word starts with a vowel, this consonants change.
Can you give an example? In French, the plural article (les) is pronounced without the s, which becomes a silent letter. However, when we add “les” to a word that starts with a vowel, such as “amis” (friends), this S is pronounced Z. Les amis is pronounced Lez ami. Also, the S in Amis is also silent.
What can I do to master the liaison? Once you understand the basics of how it works, it’s all about practice. As we’ve mentioned, the most important thing is to practice pronunciation. Book a couple of hours per week with a tutor and speak as long as you want. This is the best way to understand and master the hardest things about the French language.
These are maybe the most difficult parts of learning French. However, they are achievable and easy to understand if you have the right tools. They should not be a deterrent, but a challenge. And you know what they say about challenges… They are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes them meaningful.
How can you learn French from home?
If you follow these tips, you are probably more likely to learn French more efficiently. Why? Because hard work pays off. If you are committed to French, the only limits you have are the ones you put yourself. Remember to always keep a positive attitude and a good study habit through all the stages.
Tips for French beginner students
This is your first time with the French language, it’s okay if you don’t know where or how to start. The most important thing is that you’ve decided to take this huge step. If you don’t have a pressing deadline, the most important thing is that you take small steps and you give yourself time. There’s no rush so be sure that you understand everything.
- Create a study habit and a curriculum with the basics: it’s important to have some kind of structure if you are starting. This will help you organize the notes, the topics, and the grammar/vocabulary you learn. It can be helpful to get a textbook and work with it.
- Work with flashcards for vocabulary: one of the most effective ways to memorize basic vocabulary is through flashcards. You can write down only the most difficult words and then quiz yourself from time to time. This is a great method of study if you are about to take a test.
- Learn the basics of the French pronunciation: as we’ve mentioned before, it’s important to learn the right pronunciation from the beginning. Take your time getting used to the letters, and the spelling. Focus on learning each sound and don’t be afraid to try speaking from time to time.
- Try online games and resources: learning doesn’t need to be boring at all. It can be fun and entertaining. Nowadays, the internet gives you an endless sea of possibilities. Check cool language games or exercises to test your knowledge. If you are just starting, this can be a great way of keeping you motivated.
- Get a private online tutor for French lessons: when you are starting, an online French teacher can be a great tool. You have a chance to practice not only linguistic skills, but also your speaking, listening, and writing skills. Give it a try and see if that’s the method for you.
Tips for French intermediate students
Now that you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to dig a little deeper and start taking things more seriously. Try to focus on practicing the hardest skills and practice. You don’t have to make big changes, it’s more important to have the right attitude and have the energy to further your knowledge.
- Book a native online tutor: it’s time to kick it up a notch and start taking speaking a little more seriously. How? Take speaking classes from a French native. They will force you to speak correctly and will be able to teach you slang or street vocabulary. It’s the fastest and most effective way to improve your speaking skills.
- Start watching and listening to French content: this doesn’t mean that you need to consume audiovisual content solely in French. Start small, and use subtitles if you feel more comfortable. This is just a way of training your ear and getting you familiarized with the language in different contexts and situations.
- Leave your comfort zone and try new things: the best way to put your knowledge to the test is through challenges. See if your city has language activities such as pub quizzes in French, linguistic tandems, or small gatherings to practice. Explore what is brewing outside your comfort zone.
- Meet other French students and share experiences or problems: you are not alone in this. There are others like you, struggling to understand the French language. Our tip is that you find other students and try sharing your experiences. You may be having problems with a certain topic, and they can help you find the right way to solve it. They can make the learning experience less stressful and lonely.
Tips for French advanced students
You already know how to use the language in different contexts and you can speak quite fluently. What now? Well, you have one last milestone. It’s time to check if you have the right requirements to sit an official language exam. This is one of the options if you want to further your career, academically and professionally speaking. Check if you are ready to master the language once and for all:
- Take a test to check your French level: whether you are planning on getting a diploma or not, it’s important to know where you at. If you don’t know yet, you can discover it now through Classgap’s online French test. It takes less than 10 minutes and you’ll get your results immediately.
- Start asking for tips and information about official exams: at this point, it’s normal to start checking your options when it comes to getting certified. Check the different options available and look up what you need. Usually, teachers know a lot about them and can give you useful tips about how to approach each of them.
- Build your study plan on the requirements to pass those exams: once you’ve decided what you’re going to do, create a study plan focused on passing the official exam. Make sure you have samples of the different parts of the test As long as you work hard and practice, there’s nothing to worry about.
- Practice speaking with native people: your speaking skills might need some polishing. Doesn’t matter if it’s your French native tutor, a native friend, or a distant cousin… Practice as much as you can. The more you speak, the more confident you will be when the time comes and you are tested.
- Watch, read, and listen to French films, TV shows, books, and podcasts: it’s time to fully commit to the French culture. If you really want to master the language, dive fearlessly into it through these art forms. See what interests you and check what can this culture offer you. Pro-tip: French cinema is a must if you don’t know where to start.
How long does it take to learn French?
It depends on a lot of things: hours you are ready to invest, learning method, your attitude and motivation… However, with the right attitude, a solid study plan, and a private online tutor, you can grasp the basics in a few months. And with a little more practice, you can even reach an intermediate level in a couple of years.
It all comes down to what your goals are and what’s your plan to achieve them. Having said that, the only way to achieve tangible results is through an online French tutor. Not only is a teacher a great tool, but they are also a source of information and motivation. They can give your resources and tips on how to keep advancing. They can guide you through the ups and downs of language learning, and they prevent you from getting isolated.
Where can I find the best French tutors? Classgap is the platform you are looking for. With a wide range of tutors, you have the opportunity to check for the best candidate according to experience, levels, hobbies, personal information, or other users’ ratings. Once someone has caught your eye, you can book a free 20-minute interview to ask all the questions you have and see if it’s the right choice.
I have the perfect French tutor, now what? Furthermore, Classgap has a complete virtual classroom equipped with Google Docs, presentations, shared screen, different view perspectives, and other amazing tools crafted only for your learning. If you want to know more, start a French lesson now.