You can learn French fast, provided that you have the right materials in front of you. Language skills, especially between French and English, are very closely related, no matter what language you happen to be speaking. They all involve teaching your ears new ways to liar to you. You’re not going to pick these skills up very quickly by trying to learn from a phrasebook. In fact, that is one of the worst ways to try to learn a new language.
People who try to learn French fast from phrasebooks set themselves up for failure. For starters, you’ll be reading the words as if they were written in English. This is because reading is an instinctive activity. To prove this to yourself, look at a word and try not to read it. It’s impossible. Look at a foreign word and you’ll find yourself trying to read it with the letter pronunciations appropriate to your own language. In French, for example, “Je”, or “I”, would be read “Gee” by an English speaker. The pronunciation is closer to the letter “J” in English and, if you’re running around France referring to yourself as “gee”, you’re going to confuse a lot of French people.
It’s best to just listen and learn French if you want to pick up the language quickly. The biggest challenges you’ll face in a foreign country will not come from trying to read. In fact, reading is much easier, as you can take your time and translate every word individually. When people speak to you, they’re going to throw a lot of words your way, with an accent and with pronunciations that you won’t be familiar with if you’ve only studied books.
Make sure that, if you need to learn French fast, you pick up materials that force you to listen and understand. This is exactly the situation that you’ll be in when you meet French speakers and it’s good to be prepared. Using such materials helps you to develop an important skill: using the context of understood words to translate those you’ve never heard. If you can grasp this, you’ll be ready to tackle the challenges of navigating your way around the many nations of the world where French is the first and most important language spoken.
About the Author
Dr.Dennis Dunham has over 25 years in international education experience and is a co-creator of LanguageandLyrics.com, a website designed to help you learn French the right way. If you’ve tried every language product out there and haven’t made progress, visit LanguageandLyrics.com to see how learning French can be easy and fun.