To listen and learn French, you have to be in the right frame of mind. Of course, most people assume that this means being ready to sit down for hours, reading phrasebooks and practicing pronunciations. This isn’t really the case. Language is too important and, in truth, too interesting to be made into a boring subject with the wrong materials. If you want to listen and learn French, you need to start with the right materials. Unfortunately, the market is flooded with what are exactly the wrong materials for this effort.
Phrasebooks and recorded language programs-which are mostly just phrasebooks on CD-will not do the trick. You’ll find that you’ll develop a pattern where you remember what you learned in each chapter but forget it by the end of the next. The key is to start from the most basic levels, and that doesn’t mean memorizing how to say things like “Hello. How are you?” from rote exercises. The first part of language learning is learning to listen with an unbiased ear and to absorb what’s being said. Comprehension will come in time, as you become more familiar with the sound of French.
If you want to learn French fast, consider using materials that don’t translate everything for you. Materials that translate every word do a lot to make language learning boring. Primarily, they remove the challenge of trying to understand what’s being said and the thrill of realizing that you learned a new word or phrase simply by hearing it. This is very important. If you want to listen and learn French, you have to set up ways to reward yourself, and using the skills you learn as foundations for learning other skills is a primary part of that.
When you want to listen and learn French, the best thing to do is to relax and let yourself be entertained by the materials. Of course, this means that you need entertaining materials! There are materials that combine musical theater with education in a way that makes language a challenge and a wonderful diversion. Consider using these. Throw away the phrasebook, put a good CD in your computer and sit back and relax. In time, you’ll come to be involved with the characters in the production you’re listening to and you’ll be ready to learn, even if it feels like you’re just having fun.
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.