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Hi, how can I learn to speak and write French? I'm an English student I can write and speak English but not very well. This course and the course before we read La France it was just voluntary unit and we are not going to learn French because our main course is English, but I'm interested in French how can I improve my French? I just know a little verb and words in French. thank you very much

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I was going to suggest Rosetta Stone, but others have beat me to it! So I suggest you visit a French-speaking country or region. The fastest way to learn a language is through immersion. It's expensive though, and so is Rosetta Stone. So why don't you check some French language learning tapes out of the library?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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write16,150 answers

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All the suggestions given are excellent.  Perhaps, one more suggestion:  Is it possible for you to audit a course at a local college that offers French?  Or, as suggested, find a tutor?

Rosetta Stone is, indeed, an effective program, although rather expensive.  However, some colleges have this program available in their resource centers.  The concept of repetition is the key.  What you can learn and hear repeated as on TV, etc. will be what you remember.  Always the high school students who took French remembered better what they had learned when I did not permit them to have a book at the beginning of the course.  (Once books were distributed, they lessened their listening, it seemed.)  Also, there are excellent companies such as Teacher's Discovery that offer inexpensive CDs, some with songs, for listening and repeating.  There are beginner's level inexpensive reading books, too.  From experience, it has been noted that students who actively read, improved not only their pronunciation, but also their comprehension skills.  Of course, there were writing activities conjoined to the reading.  But, just as reading improves vocabulary, sentence structure, and comprehension, so, too, does it in French.  In fact, you will improve your English vocabulary since over half the words in English derive from French. 

Do learn verbs as lynnebh is absolutely write about their being center to the language.  The large book stores in malls have a reference work entitled 500 Verbs that has complete conjugations as well as idioms for verbs.  Don't overlook your high schools that may have some old materials you can have.

Bonne chance!  I hope you enjoy your study of this lyrical and precise language.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that the previous posts were very effective.  I might also suggest individual tutoring.  I find that intensive understanding of language happens best when there is an intimate and small setting where the student can implement the learned language skills of acquisition in a practical forum with give and take in dialogue.  It should not be that difficult to find a tutor for French.  Some advertise and this could be one avenue.  I might also suggesting enquiring and posting the opportunity at a college campus, specifically in the Foreign Languages Department. College students who have engaged in study of the French language and are immersed in further indepth study of the language would be able to help you out in terms of gathering more understanding of the language and giving you a point of reference from which to start.

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lynnebh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Rosetta Stone is a good way to learn how to speak a language. They also have supplementary materials for writing and reading. It takes awhile to learn to speak, read and write a language well, however. In addition to Rosetta Stone, you should get tapes to listen to in your car, or download them into your ipod. It really helps to hear native speakers using the language in every-day usage. Also, if you have access to TV programs on satellite TV, I definitely recommend watching them as well.

Finally, as a person who speaks 3 languages, I can tell you that the key to learning a language is VERBS. If you can master the verbs in the language, you are about 75% there. The vocabulary and other grammar falls into place easily once you have mastered verbs. I highly recommend getting some verb workbooks. You can order them online. Do a little verb work every day. Memorize the verbs, how to conjugate them how they are used. Make sure you go at a good pace so that you do not get frustrated. Make sure you learn how to conjugate the verbs in all the tenses that are commonly used. Unless you are going on to a graduate level, you may not need to master "le passe simple" in French, as this is the literary past tense. You will need to know the subjunctive mood, however, which is much more important in French than it is in English (where we hardly acknowledge its existence). Also, pay particular attention to French irregular verbs.

Finally, I highly recommend you get a copy of a verb book such as 501 French Verbs (there is also a 2001 edition, but it doesn't have as many verbs in it -- it may be adequate for your purposes, however).

Read French magazines, buy some novels in French. I am still studying Spanish and I read all of the Harry Potter series of books in Spanish. It is easier to read kids' books in a foreign language than adult novels.

Good luck!

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psjenkins | Student

As I was trained to teach Spanish speaking students to speak English, I learned that it takes about 2 years for children to learn to speak a second language fluently. However, it takes an adult about 8 or 9 years to speak a second language fluently. After you have taken classes in how to speak French, find a friend who will only have a conversation to you in French. If not, going to a country where French is the national language will help tremendously. After taking classes, my friend went to Mexico and returned speaking Spanish fluently.

billybobberkey | Student

 Try Rosetta Stone , if you want to learn how to speak french or get a French to English dictionary. both would help you .