Learning Article : Advice For 6 Common Mistakes French Learners Make

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Some mistakes can considerably slow down the learning process. Here is some advice for avoiding 6 common mistakes and learning more efficiently.

Jun 17, 2014 12:00 AM
Comments · 11

Having learnt French for many many years, I can identify very well with many of the points you made here.  I studied French at both school and university but I can say with confidence that I made the biggest progress after leaving university (and school).  Based on this experience, I have arrived at a few general conclusions.


Firstly, formal classes at school/university are most certainly not a necessary component to succesful language learning.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that formal lessons could be disadvantageous to some because of the "fixed" rate at which the language is taught (I think this is especially true for keener/more able students).  I also very much agree with point no 2 of this article about taking a selective approach to vocab building; in classes you have to learn a lot of useless vocabularly in order to pass the exam. No offence to pedantics, but I also feel that the hours spent in class learning about minute details such as the extra "e" and "s" at the end of words, could have been much better spent learning focussing on expression and usage! 


I also really agree with what is said about making language learning fun.  My experience at school certainly wasn't, and I think it was because there was a gross deficit of "authentic" French as it is actually used.  When I started to learn by myself with the use of videos, movies etc, I was far better able to grasp how the language is used to express ideas (eg apparently Fr<em>ancophones don't</em> say: "<em>Qu'êtes-vous en train de faire?</em>").  So by having ample exposure to authentic French, I greatly improved my ability to express myself.  It also had the effect of <em>cementing</em> grammar, and word genders thus saving me the hours I obviously would have spent relearning them!




June 18, 2014

You are completely right. One of the main reason learning language at school is rarelly effective is that teachers don't motivate students (or students are not motivated enough depending on the point of view). 

Basically, traditional language education focuses too much on details, when learning general rules and the most useful words first would give much better results in my opinion.

June 19, 2014

Excellent article.. very insightful, and written in easy to understand language. Short and sweet.

October 14, 2014

Havent started learning French yet, but agree with you completely, because it works with any languages. Thats exactly how i first started literally putting my English in practice, after learning English for 5 years with tons of vocabulary yet couldnt come up with one sentence that can express my thoughts about really simple things.

December 18, 2014

Don't be afraid to make mistakes and speak French.


I was a volunteer at our county jail working with Hispanic prisoners. One Venezuelan woman had been in the U.S. for 7 years and didn’t speak a word of English. She said she was afraid people would laugh at her if she made mistakes so she would never practice. She was being abused by other prisoners and couldn’t ask the guard for help.

Make mistakes in practicing French. The more the better.

October 2, 2015
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