French

2020-02-24 17:00

I started casually learning French in the summer of 2019. I became more dedicated to practice in January of 2020. The write up below covers a few tools and resources I like for learning, advice I would have given myself when starting, and a mixed set of notes I've taken down during my studies.

On Reading

For reading, I either get French books out of the library or I use an e-reader that can translate French > English by tapping on a word. This is very useful, although it can slow you down if you just want to practice trying to read uninterrupted, reading in your head in your target language.

On Vocabulary

Anki is a software program for helping with spaced repetition. It's most commonly described as a digital flashcard system. It's quite useful for learning new words and sentences. I generally use pre-created decks which can be found on AnkiWeb . I have had more luck learning from the decks that offer full sentences; it helps construct a context and is a good challenge when it comes time to translate from your native language to your target language.

Using an Assimil book ("New French with Ease") has been useful. These books are expensive to buy, but I got a copy from my library with the audio files and a digital version of the book.

On Listening

For listening, I've enjoyed listening mostly to podcasts and occasionally youtube. After a few months, the Inner French podcast was on regular rotation for me. The topics are interesting and it is motivating when you realize that you are starting to understand more than you miss!

If I was to advise myself in starting from scratch again, I would note that jumping between resources at the start is normal; you just want to find the fastest way to learn, and avoid the hard work that you inevitably have to do. Then, you find resources that work for you, and you stick with them, until they no longer work for you. Then you move on and repeat the process. I would also tell myself to start actually practicing with people / finding tutors online sooner (even though it is intimidating.)