Useful language learning strategies online

This UTexas site, designed for professional language teachers, can provide valuable insights for highly motivated, independent language learners.

How to Learn a Foreign Language (UMichigan site)

Defining and Organizing Language Learning Strategies (National Capital Language Resource Center)

My most basic suggestions for learning French

Listen to French every day. Even 5 minutes of concentrated listening can help you improve your comprehension. Listening also helps you improve your intonation. 

Practice aloud. You need to hear and feel the words and structures of the language to be comfortable using them. 

Read aloud in French for 5-10 minutes a day. This improves intonation, pronunciation, confidence, along with comprehension.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. You may intellectually understand something, but to own it, you need to use it over and over and over again.

Practice real life situations. For example, if you're studying food vocabulary, open your fridge and name everything you see. Repeat the exercise using the applicable partitive article: de la salade, du lait, des bouteilles de vin... If you're studying past tenses, talk to yourself about what you did yesterday: Je me suis levé(e) tôt, j'ai fait du sport, je me suis douché(e), j'ai pris le petit-déjeuner... Il neigeait, il faisait froid, la voiture ne voulait pas démarrer, j'ai couru pour attraper le bus...

Associate vocabulary terms with objects and concepts, not with their English equivalents. Example: Instead of associating "rouge" with "red," associate "rouge" with a red object, like ripe strawberries. Instead of associating "J'ai chaud" with "I'm hot," imagine a context where you'd be hot, like a balcony flooded with summer sun at high noon: Aïe, aïe, aïe ! J'ai chaud ! 

Talk to yourself in French. Out loud!

Maintain focus on the primary objective: communication. That is, making yourself understood and understanding those with whom you're interacting. 

Choose effective language tools.

Study the culture as well as the language. They're inseparable.

Remember that language learning requires work. 

Study with a qualified instructor when possible.   


Reasonably priced books for independent study

I've developed my own teaching materials over the years, but have taught from many textbooks as well. Far too many are cost prohibitive, geared to university students, and not suitable for independent study. My private students, small group Community Ed adult students, and I all give a thumbs up to the following reference materials:

The Ultimate French Review and Practice

The Ultimate French Verb Review and Practice

(The 2 above books contain some small errors, yet are still very good tools for adult English learners of French.)

Bescherelle La conjugaison pour tous

English Grammar for Students of French

Black Cat - CIDEB graduated levels of readers 

Facile à lire

Lire et s'entraîner

                                  Toit de l'ancien four à Peyre, village troglodyte                                                                                                Les Plantiers, village cévenol

Georges Moustaki : "Sans la nommer" 



Gun sireadh gun iarraidh...Without seeking, without asking...on ne va nulle part.

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