We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Learning French

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
195 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
Learning French

What ways do you recommend to learn the French language? I was in French class for maybe 2 days before I switched back to Spanish. But, I did have about 10 years of Spanish (I still do not consider myself proficient though).

I have heard good things about Rosetta Stone- is it worth the money?

rue de Grenelle
Level Contributor
94 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Learning French

Take a month and do an intensive class in France (or nearer in Canada). 20hrs per week for 4 weeks will get you a good grounding in the basics; three months of that will have you comfortable in the language.

Washington DC
Level Contributor
12 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Learning French

You can get a crash course on the computer by going to the BBC's web site - http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/ click on learn French and take the lessons. I did this in November, coupled with reading a few library books and was proficient enough to get around Paris just fine.

Great Barrington...
Level Contributor
4,259 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Learning French

I purchased Rosetta Stone and returned it. I didn't like it.

Illinois
Level Contributor
982 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Learning French

I found this site helpful: www.slowtrav.com/france/language/index.asp

Open each section and it gives you the word/phrase in English, in French, and then spelled phoenetically. If you go to the bottom of the page you can load the sounds so you can play and repeat them saying it. I had loaded the Bertliz French lessons onto my computer and iPod, but found this more helpful.

Having a dictionary in your pocket while there is always helpful too!

aw7
Chicago
Level Contributor
194 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Learning French

I see you're in Chicago....like me. I take classes at Alliance Francaise and absolutely love them!!!

They have a new session starting next week.

http://www.af-chicago.org/app/homepage.asp.

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
195 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Learning French

Thanks for all of the great responses! I wish that I had the time to go to France and do an intensive class, but I don't.

Aw7- I saw the website for the Alliance classes and they look great! I can't do this session because I will be in finals at the end of the semester, but I am going to look at the summer classes. We're planning to go in mid August, so I should be able to get through a summer class (hopefully). They're a little expensive, but you think they're worth it?

Clearwater, FL
Level Contributor
151 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Learning French

I went to my local library and checked out a 3 disk set "Learn French in your Car or Anywhere". I have burned it to my iPod and I listen to it in the car and I have learned a lot of basic words that will be helpful there. Plus, I plan to take it on the plan for a refresher course on my way to Paris.

aw7
Chicago
Level Contributor
194 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Learning French

nulawlady.....I was concerned how I would be able to afford the classes. They're actually better priced than other places though. And now after seeing how much I've progressed in just a few months, I feel like they are actually a good value. I've learned a lot and they are so much fun.

I also like the fact that they have events promoting the culture and have a library with dvds that you can check out. If you think you will be studying with them for more than one semester, I would recommend becoming an AF member.

atlanta
Level Contributor
1,016 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Learning French

Well, I just HAD to respond to your post. I have been working on learning french for 3 years now and I am 40 years old...proving you are never too old. I took high school french for one year, but had almost forgotten it all when I fell in love with Paris a few years ago. I made a couple french penpals that I wanted to keep in touch with and quickly planned another trip, so that is what sparked my interest to learn french again.

WELL.....since then...here are my experiences and comments, as briefly as I can make them:

1. I met some French penpals via www.mylanguageexchange.com and began writing them and also using MSN to chat with them. This was a great help, but it only seemed to impove my written french of course

2. I purchased Rosetta Stone....I did not really like the system much, but at the time I was a beginner. I found it would be best in conjunction with another program that tought grammar. The main problem is that it did not explain grammar at all and did not give you exact english translations. You had pictures and then the french you heard would match the pictures. Unless you have a firm grounding in grammar, there is a lot you just don't understand. I used the program online for 3 months. I will say that some of it did stick with me as far as recalling vocabulary, so there is something to the method in that regard.

3. I purchased several books and also a few CD programs. These did help me to some extent. But, keep in mind repetition is the key. So, using several methods at one time is good. I would not recommend books and tapes as a sole method to learn any language past the beginning stages.

4. I hired a private tutor at $45 hour for weekly sessions for 6 weeks. I was a beginner at this time, but it did seem to help me prepare for upcoming intensive training in France. The advantage of a private tutor is that I could work on my specific problem areas.

5.. I took one month of intensive classed at Alliance Française in Paris October 2006. This was an amazing experience. But, at the time I was reading/writing much better than I could hear/speak. So, I tested into the intermediate program and quickly realized I needed to be put back into the latter phase of beginner french. The classes are a complete immersion meaning no english is spoken. The only real problem I had was when I did not understand something. I would ask a question, in french of course, and then often when I would receive my explanation, in french, well, I did not understand it !!! So, there is definately something lost in translation. When I left Paris, I felt I had improved somewhat my level of french. But, most importantly I felt comfortable using my french. I also had a better ear for hearing french.

6. I enrollled at Alliance Français in Atlanta GA, winter session 06/07. I found that in the U.S, while the system is similar to the AF in Paris, the teachers do speak some english with you unless you are in the upper intermediate-advanced classes. Especially when trying to explain something. This is an advantage to taking in the US where all the students speak english fluently. So, I highly recommend AF in the united states !!!!!!!

My number one piece of advice is DON'T BECOME DISCOURAGED. It is very difficult to learn a new language, and many will agree that French is pretty difficult. I often felt times when I did not think I was improving fast enough OR that I was even getting worse !! The plateaus are normal. They will alternate with periods of time when you see that you are retaining at a faster pace than usual. It is a slow progression !! I am finally an intermediate....and only at the beginning of an intermediate phase at Alliance Français after 3 years of study !! I expect it will take me another 3 years to become proficient or advanced unless I live an extended amount of time in France !!! I plan another two weeks soon in Paris to study !! I am not giving up !!!!

Je vous souhaite bonne chance !!

UK
Level Contributor
3,268 posts
160 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Learning French

The easiest way to get speaking French is by doing the Michel Thomas CD course. Complete it, get a small French-English dictionary and you will certainly manage to express yourself in French.

I have also found the Living Language Ultimate French course to be a very comprehensive way of understanding and speaking the language.