Improve Your French Today with These Activities!
When you start your language learning journey, it’s normal to feel frustrated. There is so much to learn and memorize, and it can feel totally impossible. However, there is hope! When you begin to learn French, there are a few things you can do to make sure those new words, phrases, and conjugations stick. Here are four things you can do to get those new skills to stick in your brain, and to launch yourself to success in your French language journey!
When we start learning a language, our brain is engaged in many new ways. Our ears are making sense of new sounds, our mouths are learning to move in totally new ways, and we have to learn to use new language processes in our brain. Things that were easy and natural for us are suddenly things we have to think through slowly. One way to increase our memorization of these new words and conjugations is to make ourselves do writing drills!
While this might feel like you’re going back to 8th grade language class, the reality is when you practice writing drills, you’re engaging your brain in two new ways. As your brain tells your hand what to write, your memory of those words engages more, and then when you read back what you’ve written, you have yet another opportunity to get those new phrases or conjugations to stick in your brain.
Treat yourself like you are your own French teacher and assign yourself to write the new conjugations you’ve learned five times each, for example. As you engage yourself in the physical activity of writing, you will naturally give yourself more opportunity to memorize these new words.
Use it or lose it
It’s a well-known fact that children acquire languages much more quickly than adults do. There are physiological reasons of this to be certain, but one factor that can’t be ignored is adults’ desire to avoid embarrassment. When learning a new language, we can let the embarrassment factor stop us from ever achieving the level of French language that we hope for.
Your French tutor will give you the opportunity to hear and practice French in a safe and private environment. Your job as the student is to find other opportunities to flex your new language muscles and use your new French language skills in real-world environments.
Finding a language exchange group will give you the chance to take your new language skills from the classroom to casual conversation. You might find someone in your city who is a native French speaker that desires to improve their English skills – this is a great opportunity to put your new words and phrases into practice and start getting more comfortable speaking French in the real world.
Talk to yourself
Not feeling ready to brave the real world with your new French language skills? Start smaller by talking to yourself! We know what you’re thinking – you don’t want your partner, roommate, or kids to think you have gone off the deep end. But the truth is, until you start to get your brain – and your mouth – accustomed to these new sounds and phrases, your progress will be inhibited.
When we observe babies learning their first language, they start with objects they can name. Cup. Bottle. Dog. Ball. Your French language learning journey is not much different! If you are a true beginner you can start by walking around your home naming objects you’ve learned. Couch. Kitchen. Spoon. Saying these words out loud allows your mouth and your ears to continue sealing the memorization of the new vocabulary you’re acquiring.
As you increase your French language skills, you can try out phrases, even walking around the city. “The car is red.” “The train is late.” “It is 7:15.” By challenging yourself to describe the world around you, you’ll get that much more familiar with the words, phrases, and sounds that will soon come easily to you!
Get on a plane
Ready to take the next leap in your language learning? Perhaps it’s time to book a plane ticket! Nothing will move your French language skills ahead at light speed like immersion in a French-speaking community.
While it might be an intimidating thought to immerse yourself in a French-speaking place with no safety net, the reality is that it’s the best thing for your language learning! You can take the skills your French tutor has taught you and put them to practice in the real world, communicating with locals and learning through your mistakes.
You might think that the people who will encounter your new French skills would be impatient with you, but the reality is that most people are happy to see others learning their language, and will often be very kind and patient with language learners. You might surprise yourself with what you learn not only about French but about humanity. And who knows – you might make some new friends!
If you’re ready to put your language skills to the test, we recommend visiting a French-speaking place that isn’t a large city where many people will speak English. The smaller the town, the more likely you’ll be stuck speaking only French – which will be great for your language skills!
Learning French is a lifelong journey full of mistakes and successes. When starting out, the amount of new information to process and new words to memorize can feel totally overwhelming. It’s normal to feel like you will never get it, or that you want to quit. But when you combine an experience with a great French tutor, with a few skills you can practice on your own, you can accomplish your dream of becoming fluent in French, and can open up a world of opportunities!