Useful Tips

Reader's Tip: Five Proven Ways to Learn French


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The number of sources used in this article: 5. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

It does not matter who you are, a beginner or someone who spent years studying French, it is important to maintain your language skills at a good level and look for ways to constantly improve them.

Even if you have only a basic level of knowledge of the French language, you can follow the steps described below to improve your knowledge of the language spoken in 57 countries and regions around the world.

1. Duolingo

The site was founded by the creators of CAPTCHA and RECAPTCHA, students of Carnegie Mellon University. By the way, each time you enter recaptcha, you help digitize thousands of old books. The main idea is that people at the same time learning languages, translate the Internet into different languages.

All material is divided into various categories.

In each category, there are exercises.

After you finish the exercises, they will give you translation of real material taken from the Internet. First, simple sentences, as you study more and more complex. By translating sentences, you strengthen your knowledge and help translate web pages. You can also look at the translations of other users.

Exercises include translations of text, speaking, listening. As such, there is no emphasis on grammar.

In addition to French, you can study - Spanish, German, English, Italian and Portuguese.

There are applications for the iPhone, in May this year they promise for Android.

By the way, I recently read that learning Spanish with Duolingo can be much more effective in comparison with colleges and the Rosetta Stone program. You can read it here. Perhaps this can be said not only about Spanish.

You can follow duolingo news at the office. twitter - @duolingo.

You can also watch the performances of the creator of duolingo on TED:

2. Michel Thomas Method

Michelle Thomas himself knows more than 10 languages ​​and is known for teaching Hollywood stars.

On the Internet you can buy or find Michelle’s audio lessons, besides French there are other languages.

Audio lessons are as follows: 2 students who do not know French come to him. It turns out that you become the 3rd student. Michelle talks with students and so they learn the language. He explains the difference between English and French, first talks about new words, then asks to translate from English to French.

The main difference and the rule of the Michel method is no need to try to memorize words, phrases, etc.

I don’t know how to explain, but after the first lesson, on an intuitive level, you yourself begin to guess how it will be in the language you are learning.

I personally really like this method.

To replenish my vocabulary, I use the memrise website.

On the site you can find a lot of different courses, you can even learn the Morse code. I study - Hacking French.

Learning new words, you "grow flowers." Plant seeds, water, etc.

The main feature is that you create memes for unfamiliar words and associate with the English language. I did not create memes myself, I use the creations of other users.

Grow flowers like this: at the beginning, remember the meaning of the words, then repeat it repeatedly. Click on the correct answer, write the translation yourself, listening to the phrase, select the correct answer from the list. This ends the first part.

After 4-5 hours, you will receive an email notification that you need to repeat the process. Repeat the above, if you make a mistake in the translation, the word goes to repeat. So that's about it.

4. News in slow french

Thanks to Twitter, just recently I found a link to another great resource.

A very cool site for learners of French is They have a grammar for beginners and News in slow french for intermediate

Only 30 acts, in each act there is a conversation between the teacher and the student. At the very beginning, the conversation is mainly in English, using a few French words. Further more. They promise that in the end all the conversations will be only in French.

After the opening speech, another conversation, there is already an emphasis on grammar. Then pronunciation, expressions and so on. Well, in the end, you can take the test.

I have been using it for the third day and am very pleased.

5. Podcasts

If you have an iPod / iPhone / iPad, then in iTunes you can find different podcasts for learning languages. There is even a special section for French. I listen - French for beginngers.

And finally ... To learn the language you need to study every day, put it into a habit. I try to spend 20-30 minutes. Since all of the above is difficult to master for 30 minutes, I combine them. I listen to audio lessons on the road, and at home or duolingo, or memrise, or, more recently? News in slow french.

From my own experience of learning English (thanks to SDU Summer Language School), I know that I need to plunge into the language completely. Watch videos, movies and TV shows with subtitles, then without. Listen to music with lyrics, audio books. Books for beginners, magazines, newspapers, ...

For example, now I am almost all foreign TV series, I watch films in English. Already a habit. You do not have to wait for a particular series to be translatedtw.

Almost a month later, I defend my diploma, so at the moment it is not always possible to systematically learn the language. I think in the summer it will be possible to do this more seriously.

P.S. I wanted to learn French as a child, probably the work of Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo prompted me to this, and when reading Russian classics I often met phrases in this beautiful language. Since childhood, wanted, but prompted me to start this @freetonik post.

If you have experience, tips for learning French or a new language in general, share in the comments. I will only be glad.

How to improve your French pronunciation

French is loved for its sound. There are people who learn French just because “the language is beautiful”. Today we will tell you how to make your French beautiful.

We have two news: good and bad. Let's start with the bad: in French there are many reading rules that need to be learned. Looking at some French words, the question arises: why so many letters? There is a legend that in the old days people who copied books received money for each character, and added these rules in order to get more. There are also many sounds that do not exist in Russian. Among them - burry P and nasal sounds. If you are a little burr and in addition you still have a cold and speak in the nose, then you are lucky, but if not, you will have to work hard!

And here is the good news: firstly, there are very few exceptions to these rules, everything is logical, and you won’t have to look into the dictionary how this or that word is read. The second good news: the emphasis always falls on the last syllable. It makes life easier.

1) The first thing to remember is that all French sounds are pronounced intensively and clearly. A characteristic feature of French articulation is the tension of all the facial muscles during speaking. Do not relax! Students of foreign language after phonetic classes complain that their jaw hurts, and this is normal, you just need to get used to it. Turn off the sound of any movie that speaks French, and you will notice that their lips are tense during a conversation. There is a version that this is the reason why the French and French kiss so well :) So, we stress the vowels without stunning the consonants at the end. For example, ParaD (distinct D at the end, not T, as in Russian), beach, garage, etc.

2) What everyone associates the French language with is a burry grassed sound [r]. To make this sound, remember how you gargle. The mechanism is absolutely the same. You can growl so little, practice. Speak (or sing) for Edith Piaf:

Non! Rien de rien. Non! Je ne regrette rien.
Just do not forget to make this sound a little shorter :)
Practice here

3) Another characteristic feature of French is the nasal vowels. There are only four of them: [ã], [õ], [ɛ̃] and [œ̃]. The last sound, by the way, in modern French is increasingly replaced by a simpler [ɛ̃], but we will practice it anyway. To learn to speak "in the nose", you need ... rush! Start saying “mmmm” for a long, long time, and then in the process, without stopping mooing, open your mouth. The nose should be slightly blocked. This is the "nasal base" of our sounds. Now in front of her we just add the corresponding vowel. First try saying Mmmmmo, mmmmm, mmmm, mmmmwithout ceasing to moo while pronouncing a vowel. Practice:

[õ] - Si ton tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton sera tondu par ton tonton. Now listen to the speaker

[ã] - Le mur murant Paris rend Paris murmurant. Repeat many times.

[ɛ̃] - Cinq chiens chassent six chats. Repeat!

[œ̃] - Un à un les Huns se faufilèrent dans Munster. Repeat

4) The sound [œ] is another stumbling block (although not as complicated as the previous ones). To understand how it is pronounced, stand in front of the mirror and say in Russian: "Honey." Now lift your upper lip so that your upper teeth are visible. Practice:
Un vieux chasseur sobre plein de santé.

5) The sound [ø] is his narrow brother. It sounds almost the same as the previous one, but it is pronounced in a completely different way. Fold your lips as if you were going to hang down and say [e]. This sound is found only at the end of words.

6) The French sound [l] is always pronounced softly, a little harder than the Russian “eh”. If in doubt, how to pronounce it correctly, it is better to do it softer than harder:
Que lit lili sous ce lila là? Lili lit l'iliade

7) Consonants in French are never softened, as in Russian (well, except for l), but they are not similar to English. Many learn French in a second language and very often pronounce p, t, k (and even b, d) with aspiration, in the English manner. Forget about it! To check if you are sinning with an English aspiration, take a narrow strip of paper, hold it 10-15 cm to your lips and say: La pipe au papa du pape pie pue (or another phrase with sounds that are in doubt). The paper should remain virtually stationary.

8) Do not confuse the sounds [y] and [u]. The first is transmitted in the letter with the letter “u” and is similar to the sound in Russian “bye!”, Only the lips are compressed even more tightly, and the sound itself is much narrower.

The second one is transmitted in letters “ou” and will look more like the sound of a “Tu-tu” steam locomotive, but for it the lips are more protruding forward and more tensed.

Feel the difference: La roue sur la rue roule, la rue sous la roue reste

9) The sounds [ɥ] and [w] are fluent brief analogues of [y] and [u], respectively. They appear in front of the vowels and are articulated in exactly the same way, only very, very fast. We train:

10) Another pair of brothers who should not be confused is the sounds [ɔ] and [o]. Not only are they not similar to each other, they are also different both from the Russian “o”.

To make a sound [ɔ], first breathe on the mirror to wipe it. In the process, your lips will take exactly the position you need.

The second sound, [o] (not to be confused with Russian!), Is pronounced as follows: fold your lips with a tube, as if you are going to hang down (yes, as for [ø]) and, without changing the position of your lips, say the sound [ɔ] ( do not get confused!). As a result, you should get a very closed sound, as if the cutesy aunt laughs “ho-ho-ho”, covering her tight lips with her hand. This is one of the most difficult sounds, but practice works wonders :)

11) The sounds [ʃ] and [ʒ] after the previous ones will seem very light :) The sound [ʃ] is pronounced like the Russian "u", but only more briefly. And the sound [ʒ] is a softened Russian “w” (as in the “rains” pronounced in the Moscow style), only again shorter.

Practice a little more:

[ʃ] - Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse.

[ʒ] - Juste juge jugez Gilles jeune et jaloux.