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10/22/2011 07:46:20 AM · #1
I'd like to learn to speak French fluently within 12 months, any advice on the best methods, resources, tutors (in Australia), language schools (in France)?
10/22/2011 07:47:56 AM · #2
I learned Japanese fluently in about 6 months, by living there.
10/22/2011 07:55:50 AM · #3
Originally posted by sinistral_leo:

I learned Japanese fluently in about 6 months, by living there.
Did you go to a language school? Can you write in your own words without spelling or grammar mistakes? Can you understand everything native speakers say? (it took me at least 6 years to understand all most English language accents)

Message edited by author 2011-10-22 07:56:11.
10/22/2011 07:55:57 AM · #4
You need to surround and immerse yourself with French language as much as possible.
Start with a language course, then make sure to watch French movies, find your local French club, advertise for a "language exchange" (for instance via your local Gumtree). Also hang around places such as www.paltalk.com which is bound to have a "French room".

The more intense and relentless you make this, the quicker you'll "get there".
10/22/2011 08:05:13 AM · #5
Originally posted by MargaretN:

Originally posted by sinistral_leo:

I learned Japanese fluently in about 6 months, by living there.
Did you go to a language school? Can you write in your own words without spelling or grammar mistakes? Can you understand everything native speakers say? (it took me at least 6 years to understand all most English language accents)


I didn't go to any school, just submerged myself into the culture. I can speak it and understand it, the writing/reading is a different story as it is all characters. When I became able to watch Japanese TV shows (where they speak very fast and don't slow down if you don't understand) I knew I was ready. By learning from being around the natives most say my accent is very close.

(you said you want to learn to speak french, you didn't say anything about writing/reading, although I would assume it would be easier since it has romanized letters, unlike Japanese/Chinese/Korean types)
10/22/2011 08:05:25 AM · #6
Originally posted by Beetle:

You need to surround and immerse yourself with French language as much as possible.
Start with a language course, then make sure to watch French movies, find your local French club, advertise for a "language exchange" (for instance via your local Gumtree). Also hang around places such as www.paltalk.com which is bound to have a "French room".

The more intense and relentless you make this, the quicker you'll "get there".

Thanks. My current plan is to:
- 3 hours a week (1 hour at a time) private lessons with a French tutor
- join the local "francophile" club and attend their regular outings
- do Alexa's French online course
- use //french.yabla.com/ for colloquial videos
- use www.livemocha.com for exchange with native speakers
- study grammar from books (500 Verbs and similar)
- go to France in September 2012 and take intensive course for 4 weeks at atelier9.com

10/22/2011 08:12:25 AM · #7
//www.livemocha.com

Basically it's a free version of a Rosetta Stone-type system. However you sign up, start learning, and network with individuals who speak the language you're learning. It's how I learned Italian. =)

There's also a paid option to hire tutors, but just sign up, see if you like it, and go from there.

Other things you can do is find a French news site and start reading that every morning. Also, watch French films on a regular basis, to help expose yourself to the accent. Try turning off subtitles once you've reached a more advanced level and start interpreting what people say.

I have a couple of Italian friends on my Facebook as well that I met through Live mocha, so I see it there every day. Sometimes, if I don't understand a phrase, I comment and ask what it means, and they're always happy to help me out. In return I've been teaching them English. =)

I am telling you, LIVE MOCHA is amazing.

Message edited by author 2011-10-22 08:16:57.
10/22/2011 08:17:11 AM · #8
I am curious as to why you wish to learn French.

Do you wish to visit France or some other french speaking environment. My reason for asking is that the spoken french can vary dramatically from one region to the next.

As suggested by others, total immersion does help a great deal when trying to learn another language, but I gather that this is not an option you currently have.

Do let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

Ray
10/22/2011 08:17:59 AM · #9

" use www.livemocha.com for exchange with native speakers"

Totally didn't see this. Good deal. =)
10/22/2011 09:00:14 AM · #10
Originally posted by RayEthier:

I am curious as to why you wish to learn French.

Do you wish to visit France or some other french speaking environment. My reason for asking is that the spoken french can vary dramatically from one region to the next.

As suggested by others, total immersion does help a great deal when trying to learn another language, but I gather that this is not an option you currently have.

Do let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

Ray

Are you a French Canadian? :)

After a few years of talking about it we have decided to move to France somewhere in Acquitaine (up to 100km from Bordeaux), most likely in Dordogne but we don't know yet. We are taking it in steps and learning French is the first essential step, after that we will chose the specific town/village where we want to live. We are planning to spend a month driving around the area next year.

Before we make the final decision we want to be very well informed. We are going to look at every aspect of life in France in detail to make sure we are making all right choices.

This is the biggest project in our lives at the moment and we committing all time to it.

PS My photography is going to slow down for a while :/
10/22/2011 09:08:59 AM · #11
Originally posted by melodicgrace:

//www.livemocha.com

Basically it's a free version of a Rosetta Stone-type system. However you sign up, start learning, and network with individuals who speak the language you're learning. It's how I learned Italian. =)

There's also a paid option to hire tutors, but just sign up, see if you like it, and go from there.

Other things you can do is find a French news site and start reading that every morning. Also, watch French films on a regular basis, to help expose yourself to the accent. Try turning off subtitles once you've reached a more advanced level and start interpreting what people say.

I have a couple of Italian friends on my Facebook as well that I met through Live mocha, so I see it there every day. Sometimes, if I don't understand a phrase, I comment and ask what it means, and they're always happy to help me out. In return I've been teaching them English. =)

I am telling you, LIVE MOCHA is amazing.
Thanks. It sounds like a good choice :)
10/22/2011 09:15:00 AM · #12
Originally posted by MargaretN:

Best Ways to Learn French Fast?

Eat baguettes !
10/22/2011 09:32:08 AM · #13
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

Originally posted by MargaretN:

Best Ways to Learn French Fast?

Eat baguettes !
Can't get good ones in Melbourne!
10/22/2011 10:30:05 AM · #14
Get the basics, if you do three hours a week until you get here that will be enough.

Move here and don't mix with the Brits, this could be difficult in the Dordogne, prefer French speaking only friends and try and socialize a lot.

I've been here nearly twenty years and lots of the Anglo Saxon folk I know have a hard time speaking French, this is only because they mix mostly amongst them selves, don't get English TV.

Don't be shy, nobody's cares if you make a fool out of yourself, just speak as much as you can all of the time and you'll be fluent in no time.

It's better to go full blast in the beginning and have results than to get into bad habits and get nowhere.

Having a French wife does help a lot :)

10/22/2011 11:06:14 AM · #15
Remember that most movies can be watched in Spanish or French. I find watching with the subtitles on (in the language spoken) to be very helpful. Look for a petanque league near you, I play every Sunday and about half of the conversations are in French, though the language is often quite rude. And you might check out the Aliance Francaise in Melbourne.
10/22/2011 02:51:58 PM · #16
Originally posted by jagar:

Get the basics, if you do three hours a week until you get here that will be enough.

Move here and don't mix with the Brits, this could be difficult in the Dordogne, prefer French speaking only friends and try and socialize a lot.

I've been here nearly twenty years and lots of the Anglo Saxon folk I know have a hard time speaking French, this is only because they mix mostly amongst them selves, don't get English TV.

Don't be shy, nobody's cares if you make a fool out of yourself, just speak as much as you can all of the time and you'll be fluent in no time.

It's better to go full blast in the beginning and have results than to get into bad habits and get nowhere.

Having a French wife does help a lot :)
Thanks, John, I am planning to run away from anyone speaking English! ;)
10/22/2011 03:12:37 PM · #17
not french but i moved to germany for 2 years having never spoken a word and after 6 months was conversing and reading to a livable level and i worked for a US company so business language was english and all the german kids wanted to speak english to you to improve their english, most my german was learnt in the pub hehe but helpful. my girlfriend did a french degree and spent 6 months in Lille and is fluent, my sisters partner now lives in toulon playing rugby there so she spends every other weekend there and hers has come on massively, as others have said try to emerse yourself in it. when your in a shop or a situation in day to day life, in your head say it in french what yu are saying in english, to keep testing yourself. just need the arrogance and you'll be there hehe p.s the french are going to get a dicking tomorrow from new zealand

10/24/2011 04:03:54 AM · #18
Pimsleur audio book are great, and if you have a ~30+ minute drive to do every day they fill a great gap too.
10/24/2011 06:17:36 AM · #19
Damn straight you don't get proper baguettes elsewhere - puckah French bread is such that it's usually hard to get it home without having eaten a bit off the end.

You can learn a great deal in the relatively long time you have before going to France, but be prepared for the very normal experience of not understanding a word of what you hear/overhear of French conversation. 'Ils mangent leurs mots' (they eat their words) meaning that the sounds barely make it out into the air, at least in what you would think of as a coherent form.

Asterix is good, and Lucky Luke. You can move on up to Blueberry as well - Tintin, of course. Comic strips are good language learning literature because you don't have the frustration of being unable to follow the story.

When you use a foreign language, your IQ drops catastrophically and you are unable to project yourself in anything like the way that, in English, you're probably not even aware that you are doing. To some extent, nearly all the learning happens when you are immersed in the language environment. Being unafraid to make a fool of yourself is hurdle #1. It does help to learn a whole lot in advance, obviously. Go to it.
10/24/2011 08:06:12 AM · #20
I just came back from living in France for a year. I started with no french and after about a year in a French school I could speak/write/understand. I'd say the key was getting all the basics (verb conjugations, basic vocabulary, etc.) solid. It's a lot of work, but afterwards everything is easier. Also, I agree with everyone else. Watch French movies/books and immerse yourself as much possible. Good Luck
10/24/2011 08:20:32 AM · #21
Originally posted by jagar:

Get the basics, if you do three hours a week until you get here that will be enough.

Move here and don't mix with the Brits, this could be difficult in the Dordogne, prefer French speaking only friends and try and socialize a lot.

I've been here nearly twenty years and lots of the Anglo Saxon folk I know have a hard time speaking French, this is only because they mix mostly amongst them selves, don't get English TV.

Don't be shy, nobody's cares if you make a fool out of yourself, just speak as much as you can all of the time and you'll be fluent in no time.

It's better to go full blast in the beginning and have results than to get into bad habits and get nowhere.

Having a French wife does help a lot :)


+1

I studied English and Spanish at university, but nothing is more useful than being in a place where everybody speak that language. That's why my spoken Spanish is better than my spoken English (not only because Spanish and Italian are similar) - I've been in Seville 5 months and directed several plays in Spanish. Well, if you love theater you could try at acting in French (it's an unusual advice, but it helped me very much). I studied French before university and didn't choose it there. I can read it very good and still can speak it, but not fluently.
10/24/2011 08:23:34 AM · #22
Sound like you've already found an intensive French course, but there's another one with a very good reputation in Nova Scotia Canada.

French Immersion
10/24/2011 10:03:03 AM · #23
1. Go to France
2. Throw a rock through a window, while a cop is watching.

You'll be speaking French before you know it...

Room and board will be free as well. Your opportunity to sample local French quisine is part of the package.
10/24/2011 10:43:49 AM · #24
My French is getting a bit rusty these days, but I used a French podcast "Learn French by Podcast" and listened to them on my commute. If you have Netflix, they have a huge selection of French films. (Yes, you can watch US films in French, but the translations are not always the best, the films are generally very good and you'll pick up more cultural and idiomatic references watching actual French films.) I found a local French "conversation" group...basically, a group of adults who got together once a week to speak French, eat a bit, drink some wine and have fun learning French.

Then, when you get there, don't be afraid to use your French, even if you wind up doing a lot of gestures and pointing and don't always use the correct conjugation as long as you communicate with the person you're talking to. It will get easier. I found the French generally appreciate an honest effort and will go out of their way to help someone. "Excusez-moi de vous déranger, mais j'ai un problème. Pouvez-vous m'aider?" will get you a long way with strangers.
10/24/2011 11:17:52 AM · #25
Originally posted by ambaker:

1. Go to France
2. Throw a rock through a window, while a cop is watching.

You'll be speaking French before you know it...

Room and board will be free as well. Your opportunity to sample local French quisine is part of the package.

Yes, I can see French prisons running 3 Michelin stars' dining establishments for inmates ;)
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