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Ab Initio How on earth do I learn French?

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Guest Mo Rahman

Hey,

So, its now been 1 year of what could loosely be called learning French. In my end of year mock in June, I got a 2 in French (the only subject I didn't pass). I clearly need some help :S Since I'm taking my exams in May 2012, I have about 8 months to get from what I am now to French pro. So, my first question is this: could I realistically raise my 2 to a 5/6 in the time I have?

I think it's just down to a lack of motivation. I'm doing the work in class but that's it. No extra stuff. My teacher's given me the task of learning 5 new words a day (something I have yet to start) but I really don't know how much that's going to help and its honestly boring. I think I could work on my writing skills by just practising and 'drilling' tenses as my teacher calls it. Its the oral I'm worried about.

So right now, I need your help! If any of you have any general tips of learning French or even specifics for both writing and oral, I would really appreciate it if you would share.

Thanks

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Yes, if you work hard enough you can raise your grade from a 2 to a 5 or 6! You just have to practice speaking a lot. Have you ever tried talking in French to a pet or toy or inanimate object? I know it sounds really silly, but it's actually a decent way to practice. You can talk to your pet as much as you want about whatever you want, and it won't judge you or make fun of your mistakes! :P Obviously you'll recognize the mistake, but you don't have to worry about having to think up a response. You can also practice with other people as well. Do you know anyone that's in your French class or speaks French that you can practice with? Just have a conversation with them. And if you want (I did this when I used to take German lessons) you can find French bands or artists that you like and sing along with the lyrics. It will help you learn to pronounce things, and you'll learn some new vocabulary in the process.

Even though I take Spanish and not French, the way you learn is the same. And good luck in French :)

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I second the idea of talking to pets or objects. I talk to my dog and fish in French, and it seems to really help.

Also, I often speak in half French and half English. If I'm with French-speakers, then I'd say stuff like 'Hello. Comment ca va? (Reply here) Vraiment? Cette-ce mauvais/bon!' and continue in that respect.

Another good thing, I recommend is Edith Piaf. I listen to her stuff, and get the words printed infront of me. I find it helps listen to the pronounciation, and it's amazing how much of it is understandable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBoTRF2aK4s

Bonne chance mon ami!

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Well if there are learning guides or books you could borrow, go for it. Listen to it often. Try to speak it with your classmates whenever you are able. If you have someone that really likes you and is good at french, talk with them a lot and get them to correct you.

Do exercises, pay attention in class and do your homework! Join programs involved with the language, and use it as often as you can. That's all there is to it. Mastering a language cannot happen over a day or two, you must expose yourself to it in all means possible so you have the best chance in learning more.

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I have found it really helpful to have another friend in my french class who is around the same fluency as me to talk to in french. We have other classes together and our converations help us to get better at comprehension and memory while also getting to make fun of our non-french speaking friends whenever. Also, if we learn a new word or phrase we teach each other, which is helpful because our teacher isn't that great.

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Yo Mo,

I'm from Belgium,where French is the second language (after Flemish),but I am studying the IB at Sixth form in Cambridge now. In my opinion, 5 words isn't a lot,in French standard class ( I do HL though) our homework always includes up to 10-15 words we have to memorise and test ourselves on in class,we are given a specific subject or theme and are instructed to look up X number of words associated with these subjects/themes. This really helps cause you look up and translate the words yourself instead of having a book just telling you how it is, I found that it helped me memorise the words much easier. And for the pronunciation,don't try to hard,if you're passionate about having a good pronunciation, practice as much as you can. It's a bit like beatboxing, in the beginning it sounds really ****,but the more you do it the better you get at it and the better you get at the harder stuff!

Peace out bruvva.

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