Learning a Language; an item on many of our bucket lists, it’s an endeavour requiring a lot of dedication and effort. Born in Australia, and with an Italian mother and Spanish father, I thought it fitting to learn French, of course!
In love with all things French; the culture, the wine, the lifestyle, the history (and a fluent speaking French-born boyfriend) I set off to learn the language of love. Overwhelmed with the various options available to switch my good morning to Bonjour, I decided to try them all.
If you’re like me and unable to hop on a plane and move to your country of choice for six months to fully immerse yourself, below are my tested options that will help you get on track to learning another language real quick
Gumtree is full of backpackers and short-term visitors looking to make an extra dollar or two. I searched ‘French Tutor’ and a list of hundreds came up. We met once a week at the local library and learnt basic phrases, counting and vocab. I would steer away from a tutor as a first option to engage with as usual, they don’t have much experience teaching and their explanation of reflexive verbs isn’t the greatest!
This is the best introduction to your language of choice. The interactive app navigates you through the basics of the language starting with greetings all the way to food, verb tenses as well as fun phrases you can adopt on your next trip abroad. It’s also a great supplement to keep up to date and engage with language on a daily basis. Best of all, it’s free!
There are hundreds of podcasts available to learn another language. I subscribed to News in Slow French; although I can only pick up a solid one word per five minutes, it’s the perfect way to get familiar with pronunciation and accent. Great for the commute to and from work.
I’m lucky enough to work near French cafe, Gourmandise de Paris. Every day I go in and push my knowledge of the language and am now able to greet the barista and ask for my coffee in French (sometimes!) Forcing yourself to immerse in the language and get over the embarrassment is a great way to test your knowledge. If you get the tense or gender of the item wrong, they’ll have a little laugh but will generally know what you’re asking for.
In my attempt to expand how I learn the language, I came across @Frenchwords. A great Instagram account that will teach you a new French word or phrase a day, and I’m not talking about the generic “Bonjour Je m’appelle…” Other great accounts to follow are @lavielocale and @doitin_paris. Not learning French, no problem! Just search for the language you want.
I’m currently enrolled in B level at the Alliance Francaise, a French school based in Clarence St in the Sydney CBD. I do four hours a week in a class of approx 15 students. Completely run in French you’re totally immersed in the language for the duration of the class, even the cafe and library staff speak French so you’ve got every opportunity to practice.
Before enrolling I thought I could handle the two, two-hour classes a week after work, but I have to admit, it’s pretty tough and I’m lucky my teacher is super enthusiastic so it’s easy to find your second wind.
Out of all the above, I have learned the most from these classes and despite them being très cher, my French has improved more in 10 weeks, than any other method I’ve tried.
Learning another language is one of the hardest things I’ve decided to tackle but also very rewarding. Just remember it’s a slow process that won’t happen overnight (the ‘Learn French in 24 hours subliminal YouTube videos don’t work!)
Au revoir et bonne chance!