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Learning French

Be active!

It's hard to learn a language passively. Think of the pictorial vocabulary guide as a quiz. After you've familiarized yourself with a category, start guessing the words. Think of the voice you hear when you place your cursor over an image as your personal tutor, confirming or correcting your guesses.


Reviewing is very important! Research has shown the best time to review material is a day, a week, a month and then three months after initial exposure. Here is a picture of my Oxford-Hachette dictionary.

Whenever I look up a word, I mark it with a colored strip. The color coding helps me know when it should be reviewed. Of course with languages, every time you speak, read or hear it, you are essentially reviewing it. So long you do this, you just need to focus on reviewing less commonly used vocabulary and grammar rules.


Oral Comprehension

One of the greatest challenges in developing speech recognition software is getting the software to detect when one word ends and the next one begins. The same is true for the brain - it must be taught to make out the French words and this doesn't take place overnight. On this site the interactive readings,are designed to improve oral comprehension. (In order to provide more readings, Language Guide needs more people to volunteer as sound integrators.)

As your French skills improve, eventually you will want to expose yourself to actual French media. There are numerous French public radio stations which broadcast on the Internet. Through satellite you can get TV5, which features French news and extraordinary documentaries, movies, and TV series. Initially when I got TV5, I understood very little despite my substantial knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. I focused intensively, doing my best to make out the syllables and words. Eventually I got good enough to know what word to look up in the dictionary (My knowledge of French vocabulary wasn't quite as good and I had hoped), and after years of watching French programs (in many cases absolutely riveting programs), my understanding became effortless.

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