A Guide to: French Lessons


Many people often wish they could speak a second language, but most don’t take any action to make their wish a reality. French is one of the more popular second languages for people to learn and there is a range of ways for you to do so. In this guide we assess the options out there and offer tips and advice on how to keep costs down.

Start with what you need to know
For example if you’re planning to holiday in France learning a bit of travel French might be a good place to start, e.g. airport phrases or asking for directions. Once you’ve learned the basics for this or any other purpose you can start to develop your vocabulary relating to your knowledge and experiences – your job, your hobbies etc.

Buy a French Dictionary
This will be a cheap and worthwhile investment; there are also online dictionaries and even apps for your phone that can be referenced at a moment’s notice. Referencing a dictionary or app in mid-conversation will increase your chances of remembering phrases or sentences later on as you’re using them in a real life situation.

Use Technology to your advantage
There are plenty of websites offering free French lessons. The BBC has a range of resources to help you along; iTunes has free radio stations and podcasts in French – some for beginners. There is also a wealth of resources available on YouTube for those just starting out.

Classes may not always be best
If you’re considering learning French you may think the best thing to do is take a class, however, this isn’t necessarily the best approach. There are a couple of problems with learning this way; a class tends to move at the pace of its slowest student so you could pick up the basics really quickly and be keen to develop and move on while others are still struggling to get to grips. This could see your time, effort and money going to waste.

Intensity and repetition are key
By studying intensely, e.g. two hours a day for two weeks is better than studying for an hour a day for a month. This is because learning any language requires a great deal of repetition and great commitment so it’s better to allocate a time in your schedule and give it 100% of your focus. Practicing in your head in another way to aid your learning; think in French and construct sentences and fake conversations or simply run a mock scenario for a conversation your about to have.

Consider a tutor
While this is probably the most expensive learning option available it can be the most effective way as well. But if you can afford to do so finding a reputable tutor – searching online for previous reviews will help you sift the good from the bad – and spending time sitting with them for a few hours a day offers the intensity and repetition that will help you learn quickly.

Make it enjoyable
If you’re determined to stick at it and make learning French your priority then find a way to make it fun, if you do you’re much more likely to develop. Find people you enjoy talking to, go to an event where you can practice speaking while partaking in an activity or talk about personal topics you care about.