Learning French

I’ve come across a fair number of people who genuinely want to learn to speak French. They usually start by taking a French course at their local community college. If you are one of the French learners living an English community, let me tell you that although this is a good start, I’m afraid it is not enough. Why do I say it is not enough? Well, it’s because outside of your two hours per week, you will almost never speak to anyone in French. Now, you can ask, “How then can so many immigrants who have never spoken English before moving to Canada learn to speak English so fast?” To this, I will answer that once these same people set foot outside their home, the language they will hear for almost 99.99% of the time will be English and wherever they go they will need to speak English if they want to be understood. This is very important for under these conditions, people not fluent in English are forced to make an effort to communicate in English. This is not your case. As long as you don’t go to a place where French is the only spoken language, you will never be forced to communicate in French. 

So, having described the problem, let’s see what you can do to improve your chances of becoming a fluent French speaker. You can start by listening to a French radio (on the internet) or watch a French television show for say two hours every week and gradually increase the number of hours you spend listening to French language. TV5 is a wonderful television station for this purpose. It offers a mixture of both French and French Canadian shows. Doing this, you quickly learn that you should not pronounce le as la. And once you’ve  made good progress in your course you can start reading some French books or articles.

Good luck!

2 Responses to Learning French

  1. Eddy Young says:

    So true. It’s like me trying to learn mandarin.


  2. Patrick Ng says:

    I did not know you were learning Mandarin 🙂 For some reason, Cantonese seems to be the dominant dialect in Canada, whether in Vancouver or in Toronto or even in Kitchener. I can recognize some of the words, because I heard them while growing up. It’s unfortunate that I don’t speak Cantonese. For example, I cannot order some of the more delicious dishes in a restaurant because very often they are not on the menu.

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