If you want to learn French at home, you have many options, depending on your own learning style and the purpose you have for learning French. If you want to learn to read and/or write in French, for instance, focusing on acquiring French vocabulary and learning basic grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. If you will be traveling abroad to France, learning proper French pronunciation and then understanding natural, conversational French will be much more important. If you want to have a solid grounding in the language, a more structured French course or self-teaching learn French books, similar in approach to classes taught in high school and university, will probably be your best approach.
Here are some of the most effective approaches for how to learn French at home, depending on what you want to accomplish with the language.
Learn to Read French at Home
- Begin with an online vocabulary game to teach you dozens of common French words in a short period of time.
- Teach yourself the fundamentals of the language with a self-teaching book – the Berlitz Self-Teacher for French is still one of the most highly regarded books to use.
- Once your vocabulary is good enough, start reading simple French children’s books, writing down every unfamiliar word and looking up its definition and adding it to your list. At the end of the book, make flashcards or quiz yourself on the new vocabulary until you have it complete memorized.
Learn to Write in French at Home
- A good knowledge of grammar is the foundation of writing in French, since you can look up any vocabulary word you don’t know. Rochester’s Easy French Step by Step is one of the best beginner’s guides to French grammar.
- Writing emails to a native French speaker and having them correct your mistakes as they respond will help you learn the common grammatical errors you make in written French. Interpals.net is one of them most popular international pen-pal sites, and there are thousands of French speakers on the site who want to correspond with an English-speaking person.
- If you can’t find a native speaker to contact, try finding a French forum on a topic that interests you, and just start making and replying to posts. You can make a comment in your signature inviting native French speakers to correct your writing.
Learn to Speak French at Home
- Speaking is arguably the most difficult part of learning a foreign language. You must know enough vocabulary and grammar to be coherent to others, and you must ask questions and formulate answers on the spot, without the time to look up words you don’t know. Make things a little easier by perfecting your French pronunciation and learning some common phrases that French speakers use.
- Learning to speak French without a live native speaker to talk to is difficult, so it’s best to talk to a native speaker online. Interpals.net connects people wanting to learning English with those who want to learn French, and you can video chat with them.
Learn French Oral Comprehension at Home
- Getting a set of learn French audio CDs or loading up some beginner’s French podcasts and audio lessons is probably the best way to learn oral comprehension, and accustom you to the pronunciation and flow of spoken French.
- After you’ve progressed beyond a beginner’s level, watching French movies or your favorite shows and movies (the vast majority of the popular ones will have been dubbed into French) should be a little more entertaining. Go back and re-listen to the parts you don’t understand, and don’t be embarrassed to watch shows aimed at young children when you’re starting out, as they often talk more slowly and with a simpler vocabulary.