Immerse Yourself in French

For me, immersion is the only way to really learn a foreign language. And that means going to a place where everyone speaks the language you want to learn and living there. When you have to speak the language in order to buy food and arrange transportation, you learn pretty quick. Therefore, I’d recommend foreign travel to anyone who is serious about learning a new language.

Besides that, classes are the next best thing, and the smaller the class size, the fewer students per teacher, the better. You’ve really got to pay attention. The teacher has to make you work: listening, speaking, responding. It’s not easy.

You should also get some CDs or DVDs and other electronic media materials that are aimed at the learned. For example, in studying French I’ve found the “French in Action” series from PBS to be very useful. The Champs-Elysées audio magazine is another good product. I also like the Rosetta Stone computer programs.

Even if you only understand 10% of the words when you listen to these, you should keep going. Your ear will begin to get used to the accent and the sound of the language. You should also rent French movies on DVD (Netflix has a good selection). Watch with subtitles, but listen to the dialogue. Download French language songs from internet radio stations. Listen to the French channels on satellite radio and cable/satellite television.

The more time you spend listening to your target language, the better off you will be. It takes several hundred hours, maybe a few thousand, of study to become a proficient. The best advice is “Don’t give up.”

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