On each of the five continents, upwards of 300 million people can speak French. Behind English, French is the second language that people prefer to learn. It is the fifth-highest, most commonly used language on Earth. With English, French has been the only language studied in every nation. In addition, France has the largest global network of cultural institutions, which provide French-language instruction to about a million students.
Some essential factors influence and shape the learner’s proficiency in learning French. Some of the reasons are listed below:
- Intelligence can be considered a factor: Second Language Acquisition experts connect a language learner’s Intelligence level to their capacity to acquire a foreign language. Learners who execute IQ activities intelligently have a better success rate in acquiring the French language. Even students with a precarious or underdeveloped education experience can become fluent in French or any other second language. All they require is an excellent opportunity and the right platform.
- The aptitude of the learner: Even if the learner has an excellent academic record, they might not always be successful in learning French. Aptitude is vital in determining whether the person can proficiently and efficiently learn the language.
- Style and lesson plan of the learner: It is undeniable that active learning is among the essential elements influencing learning French. Lesson plans are typically classed as sensory, optical, or aural. Activities like extended writing and practicing the French language and reading texts that are in French that students can perform on their own are highly advantageous for individual learners.
- The learner’s personality: According to a study, those with an outgoing attitude will learn a second language significantly faster. Apprehensive or introverted learners make slower progress, particularly in developing their vocabulary. Extroverted learners will go out of their comfort zones to communicate in the desired language with speakers of that language. It allows them to identify the areas and aspects which can be improved.
- Attitude towards French culture and community: It has been discovered that language learners’ attitudes regarding their targeted language and linguistic group are among the most critical factors in learning French. It significantly impacts learners’ motivation to study their target language. A learner with a positive outlook toward the French community and language will be more aligned with learning opportunities.
- Selecting the right online platform to study French: Choosing the right online platform, website, or application is crucial. The learner has to do prior research before delving into the course that the online platforms offer. Reviewing other users’ experiences and progress can be helpful too. The correct course will allow the learner to learn French in the shortest yet most efficient way possible.
Time Taken to learn French from Scratch
Although there is not a fixed amount of time one can spend learning French, the language is classified as a category 1 language by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). As with most English speakers, learning French involves 20 – 25 weeks, which amounts to 500 – 600 hours. French is among the fastest and most efficient (and quickest) languages to learn.
How Long Does It Take To Learn French For English Speakers?
There are many languages that are closer to French, such as Spanish, English, and Italian. If your native language is one of them, then you can easily learn French and start speaking it fluently within three to four months. If English is not your first language, but you’ve learned English and can speak it fluently, then it will take you almost the same time to learn French as the native speakers.
But you need to be aware of false cognates, and these words may seem similar in speaking and writing, have completely different meanings and can cause so much confusion while learning. Once you get the hang of it, then you can easily differentiate between French and English languages. English and French have similar alphabets, so it can make it easy for you to remember them.
Ways to learn French fast online
Here is an easy way to learn french fast there.
1. Watch French films on OTT Platforms
Watching and engaging in French films, TV shows, and news broadcasts can be extremely helpful. It allows you to be familiar with the accents, intonations, and pronunciations. You can also add newer idioms and expressions to your vocabulary.
2. Listening to French Songs
Tuning into French songs is also an effective way to learn the intonations and tones practices in the French-speaking communities. It is also a leisurely way to practice. You can enjoy the music, pick up words, and learn about them.
Plug in your earphones to listen to French podcasts. Following every sentence at the beginning may be challenging, but with practice, you will soon start to recognize and pick up words and phrases.
4. Find Online Courses that Provide Exercises
Selecting the right online course(s) will allow you to learn French faster and systematically. Dedicate yourself to daily exercises and maintain a log of your progress so that you can measure it after a certain period.
5. Find Language Exchange Applications
You can interact with people who may be looking to practice with you. Apps or platforms like Tandem, Omegle, and HelloTalk allow you to establish oral interactions with outsiders.
6. Social Media
Social media platforms are free and easy to track. The French community has a significant presence on several platforms. Find groups and online communities that allow you to integrate and assimilate the French language.
Steps to learning French on your own
As mentioned above, any individual can self-teach themselves newer languages. As far as French is concerned, it is considered one of the more accessible languages to learn. Following are some critical steps:
- Actively watching and listening to French content: would allow you to enjoy the learning process and make constructive progress.
- Keep a close eye out for high-frequency phrases: As you follow along with the French captions, keep an eye out for repetitive phrases and words. When you see a French word upwards of 3 times, it may be a widely spoken term that is crucial for knowing whatever you see. Make a note of this phrase and regularly employ it.
- Immerse yourself completely: Find the best online platforms that bridge the gaps between the content/subject matter and the learner.
- Self-made tasks and exercises: You can also develop your writing tasks. It would not only be more enjoyable for you to pick your favorite activity subject, but it will also ensure that the discussion is more relevant to your training objectives.
- Play fun games and exercises online: Popular apps and platforms such as Duolingo, Frenchgames.net, and digital dialects provide you with simple yet fun tasks that you can practice and enjoy on your own.
- Difficulties in learning French: As with most languages, learning French can require a lot of dedication and hard work. There are also some commonly faced problems that non-French speakers face:
- Linguistic confusions: Look out for specific phrases or words in French that sound similar to English words. However, they may carry different meanings. Like librairie and library, Éventuellement and Eventually, Assister vs. Assist, etc.
- Gender: Nouns in French are divided into masculine and feminine categories. Words ending with the consonant “-e” generally belong to the feminine category, and nouns ending with sounds like “-ste,” “-tre,” “-u,” “-ou,” “-our,” etc. are conventionally masculine.
- Pronunciation: It is a significant part of speaking French. Finding the right tutor or platform is essential to correctly nasal and guttural sounds.
- Conjunction: Verb conjunctions have different forms in French. For example, the English verb “go” or “goes” can be expressed with Je vais, nous allons, ils/elles vont, etc.
Tips to learn French faster
- Engage with the language daily
Make sure you study and practice French for at least 20-30 minutes daily to get quicker results and make rapid progress.
- Do not be afraid of mistakes
Do not let mistakes or inaccuracies deter you from speaking. Instead, accept the mistakes you make, as they can serve as opportunities for you to recognize, rectify, and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
- Read French books
To learn efficiently, you can choose to read French books. You can also pick up French newspapers, journals, and magazines that facilitate your language learning skills
- Incorporate practical exercises with theoretical ones
Studying from a book or text of any online platform will only advance you to some capacity. A faster way to learn French would be going out and interacting with other people.
- Have conversations with yourself
It is not strange to talk to yourself. You can choose to speak French with yourself when you are alone or in your privacy. The more you speak, the better you get.
- Consistency is key
Working hard is essential while learning French. However, working and practicing regularly and consistently is equally important.
Various apps and platforms allow you to speak and learn French. Do not restrict yourself to standard or physical boundaries. Hundreds of applications are being programmed yearly to teach French at your home’s leisure. Apps such as Babel, Duolingo, Brainscape, Busuu, and Frenchpod101, are mostly free and easy to use. You can learn the language from these platforms, provided you are invested and devoted to the task.
Although gendered nouns, numerous verb types, and intonation all be minor problems, obtaining this language is more straightforward than in other languages.
French is not hard to learn, provided the learner keeps practising and chooses the suitable medium to study.
French has the most overlapping words with English than any other language; in fact, it has been attributed with influencing a sizable portion of English — 8,000 terms to be precise.
It can take you upto 23 weeks or 580 hours for English speakers to learn French. But you need to dedicate your time to become fluent. However, if you can dedicate one hour daily to learning French, then you will be able to learn it within one year.
Many language learning apps are available for French, including FluentU, Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, italki, Memrise, Rocket Languages, etc.
To get acquainted with French properly, you need to learn at least 300 common words in French. But once your vocabulary reaches 600 words, you will know most of French and become fluent in it.