‘It’s too difficult’
‘Everyone else speaks English so why do I need to learn French’
‘I’m not a language person’
These are some of the numerous, yet very comprehensible excuses you often hear from people who have tried to learn French. A deeper probe will reveal to you that the teaching methods and lessons exposed to them didn’t quite do the trick. The outcome; yet another justification of the notion ‘French is difficult’.
Having gone through a system that was somewhat rigid during the early parts of my ‘trajet’ (journey) in learning French, these excuses make complete sense. This is because I experienced them myself. However, along the line, I picked up a few conseils (tips) I would like to share with you:
1. Always study French with audios/audiovisuals.
Whatever you expose your ears or eyes to gets stored in the brain. So it’s always advisable to use audios and videos when learning French. The more you play the video or audio, the clearer the words get. It’s always advisable to try repeating the phrases you hear; this will help enhance your pronunciation. The challenge here might be selecting the right video. For example, a French movie won’t be a good fit for a beginner. The better option will be short videos.
2. Use easily relatable examples.
French is a fun language to learn and one way of really making sure you enjoy yourself is by relating your examples to your world. We all have our various interests; sports, fashion, music, movies, etc. Let’s say you’re into sports and you’re studying grammar (le passé composé- the past tense),a practical example like this would do.
– Usain Bolt a gagné la médaille d’or.
– Usain Bolt won gold.
Trust me, you will definitely remember a sentence describing something you are interested in.
3. Have the right mindset.
Having the right mindset before learning French is very essential. If you have it imprinted somewhere in your mind that you’re most likely not to understand what the tutor teaches you even before your first lesson, you will definitely not understand anything that will be taught.
4. Switch up the language on your gadgets.
Change the language on your laptop, iPod, iPad, tablets and every other gadget you have to French. Why? It helps you familiarize with everyday French words. This can be really tough for a beginner but the outcome is totally worth the challenge.
5. Beware of cognates.
They’re so many words in French which are spelt almost(if not the same) as those in English. These are known as cognates. Anglophones are most likely to encounter problems pronouncing these words since their brains have been exposed to a different way of pronouncing them. Let’s look at some examples;
• chance is pronounced as shance in French
• Information is pronounced as informa–si-on
• President is pronounced as pray- si-don
The list of cognates is an incredibly long one and we will look at that in the second part of this post.
Don’t forget, practice makes perfect! Don’t give up!
To be continued…..
By Sena Amankwa