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Learning French From Scratch?


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Hi everyone!

 

I just have a quick question to ask all of you.

I was just wondering if its possible to learn French from scratch while still at University. I think that French is such an amazing language and aside from English, I already speak another language and I want to add French under my belt. 

The last time I was ever in a pretty serious French class was during Junior High when we were doing some very basic French and doing French bingo (ever had those in your school?).  ^_^

 

Anyways, I took a basic French class in High school but had to drop it because everyone in the class already knew how to speak and write French fluently and I simply felt inferior to everyone (most of them were French immersion students who have been speaking French since Kindergarten)... It also doesn't help the fact that I failed my very first French assignment in high school (if memory serves me right, I believe that I received 10% out of a 100%). I couldn't right a simple sentence, let alone a paper on a topic. And, according to my teacher, I will not succeed in her class if I continued to take it and I will just be a failure in her class...  :( It was quite mean of her to say that but I somewhat understood where she was coming from and I've already forgiven her for her action.

 

So here's the million dollar question, Would it be possible to learn French again from scratch?

I think that learning how to speak and maybe even write French could be beneficial in my future.

Can anyone please refer me to a website or maybe a good book to help me learn French again (aside from a French-dictionary which is quite dry)? Or does anyone have an app that they would recommend? 

 

Thank you all in advance and Have a great day!  :D

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You should try an app called duolingo, it's really great to get the basics of a language. Of course the best thing to learn a language is to surround yourself with it! Assimil and Teach Yourself are great books to learn a language on your own and much faster than you would have with regular courses. Then practice and practice, a few trips in la belle province could be beneficial, not in MTL nor Quebec City as you could get around with only english.. 

 

Or come with us the frenchies on this website's chat, we're always there. 

 

Bonne chance! 

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You should try an app called duolingo, it's really great to get the basics of a language. Of course the best thing to learn a language is to surround yourself with it! Assimil and Teach Yourself are great books to learn a language on your own and much faster than you would have with regular courses. Then practice and practice, a few trips in la belle province could be beneficial, not in MTL nor Quebec City as you could get around with only english.. 

 

Or come with us the frenchies on this website's chat, we're always there. 

 

Bonne chance! 

Bonjour!

 

Thank you for your app recommendation, I will look more into that! I will also look up your book recommendation.  ^_^

I think that being surrounded by French speaking people is a great idea, unfortunately there are rarely any French speaking students where I live... At least, I don't know much who does. I've visited the chat room on this site multiple times and they definitely do only speak French there (its almost like a secret language which is pretty cool). In fact, its quite hard to find someone who speaks English there but I think that it's a good place to start and just observe their conversation.

 

Merci beaucoup!  :)

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Learning ny language is possible. Learning it well will take years just like any language. I took German in undergrad, but due to time constraints wasn't able to practice it often. If you have the time then learn it. It looks good for resumes/applications and is useful in many parts of the country. The main programs I would recommend are Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.

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It's a great suggestion by rmorelan.  A lot of francophones have decent English, and didn't really take many classes but are constantly exposed to English social media, movies, television, etc...  I'd suggest trying to do this in French would be a good way to complement any formal learning.  

 

Part of the problem is one has to be pretty good in French to actually read a French newspaper say, even if there are words that aren't understood.  It's taken me a while (well over a year) to get to an ok place in French, despite having a slight formal base in French, but I still recognize a definitive functional weakness compared to English (I'm in a French environment).  

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Learning ny language is possible. Learning it well will take years just like any language. I took German in undergrad, but due to time constraints wasn't able to practice it often. If you have the time then learn it. It looks good for resumes/applications and is useful in many parts of the country. The main programs I would recommend are Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.

Ohh! I think I've heard of the Rosetta stone but never really looked into it. And, I do agree that it does look good for resumes/applications but I really just want to learn a new language as a hobby! :) Thank you for your input!

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It's a great suggestion by rmorelan.  A lot of francophones have decent English, and didn't really take many classes but are constantly exposed to English social media, movies, television, etc...  I'd suggest trying to do this in French would be a good way to complement any formal learning.  

 

Part of the problem is one has to be pretty good in French to actually read a French newspaper say, even if there are words that aren't understood.  It's taken me a while (well over a year) to get to an ok place in French, despite having a slight formal base in French, but I still recognize a definitive functional weakness compared to English (I'm in a French environment).  

Watching French movies is something that I've never really thought off before and I think that is a pretty good idea.

I'll add into this idea a little bit more by starting to read the French sections of food items and other products since there's the English and French sides,  :P

Thank you!

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*GASP!*  :eek:

Oh how I wish I knew about this before I entered University! I was looking around the website and it says that there are no age limit but I actually really really need to take summer classes so I wont be eligible, but that's okay.

Thank you very much though! I really appreciate it!  :D

 

ps: Have I mentioned how much I love the people on this site? Everyone is just so helpful and positive. I love it!  ^_^

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There definitely are some exchange programs in my University but unfortunately I don't think that I would be able to afford it. But it's okay, I'll just keep on grinding! Thank you!  :)

 

they are surprising inexpensive - the germany one I was dealing with had me paying tuition here and then just the living expenses there (which were similar to the ones in Canada). There was some money given with it to cover the flight. 

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Watching French movies is something that I've never really thought off before and I think that is a pretty good idea.

I'll add into this idea a little bit more by starting to read the French sections of food items and other products since there's the English and French sides,  :P

Thank you!

 

There's also radio to consider (e.g. internet), and any official federal government publication or release will have both English and French versions.  If there's anything in governmental policy that interests you, this could also be a good place to start.    

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Really can't recommend Explore enough. You get paid to go to Québec and learn about Canada's Francophonie. Learning a language is all about immersion, so if you want to get good at it fast, don't just focus on the academic side of it. For something like french, you are going to have to drill verb conjugation and the like (so having a good and modern grammar text is key). But you'll be surprised with how much exposure to french you can have in most of Canada. Sign up for francophone volunteer activities, engage with a big part of the African community, watch québécois movies or TV shows, learn your country's history from their perspective, and you'll be speaking la langue de Molière in no time

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I've tried *unsuccessfully* a couple of times to learn French after high school failed me (our teacher gave us 'take home exams' and instructed us to use Google translate to complete that and all homework).

 

I've tried dualingo but it just doesn't work for me, I've also tried buying a massive 'French for Dummies' book and got nowhere. I'm currently considering Rosetta Stone but not quite sure how well it would work. I live in a bilingual community, so there are numerous opportunities to practice, but it can be paralyzing to just start speaking French when you are not sure. 

 

There are a number of colleges that offer French as a Second Language evening classes and some that offer them online as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing to consider, I took Spanish this year at Uni because I wanted to learn a second language, and it was way harder to achive a igood grade in than any of my other courses - it's memorization for a lot of it initially, and that takes a lot of time.

 

speaking as someone that keep going with German - it doesn't get any easier I found in later courses. You wind up writing essays in a second language which for many people would be two areas that may not be strong suits. 

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Spanish is a lot closer to French than German is to English.  I can't say I ever reached a level of writing essays in either of those two languages - but I don't know if anything competes with French grammar rules.  Spanish is somewhat phonetic and German seems logical, but French is just full of exceptions.  Practically speaking, there are actually software tools to correct French grammar.  

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Spanish has been considered one of the easiest languages for an anglophone to learn. French is really no different in its exceptions than any language, really. Italian and Portuguese have just as many, if not more exceptions. Portuguese and Corsican have more tenses and phonemes. Portuguese and Galician have very nasal sounds like mão (Man - hand), cão (can - dog).

Let's not even mention Romanian, which has the Latin messiness plus Slavic tendencies, or Polish, one of the hardest languages to learn, period.

Also, Japanese has simple phonemes but incredible complexity related to its degrees of formality and use of old vs new vocabulary in familiar or professional situations.

Generally, learning French as an anglophone is bad phonetically, at least initially. Don't forget, however, that as there was a lot of reading between England and france, both developed a certain tendency for emprunt, or borrowing vocabulary and ways of saying things from one another. This means that you will have many familiar words in both languages although they are sometimes faux amis (similar or equal words with distinct meanings).

My qualm with French as a lusophone from birth is that historically, it's more modern grammar was less an organic decision and more a way to impress and make the language stand out. This was when France perhaps ruled more widely than Britain. Don't quote me on this, but I think it was Louis IX who decided to unify the language more (because it use to be langue d'oc, langue d'oïl, and in-betweeners). Some language investigators of the time presumably attributed the unnatural and restrained qualities of the new, regulamented french, to its downfall as world language, being replaced slowly but surely by the chameleon English.

Source: my life-long study of most Latin languages and a French literature minor.

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speaking as someone that keep going with German - it doesn't get any easier I found in later courses. You wind up writing essays in a second language which for many people would be two areas that may not be strong suits. 

 

Not trying to take over this thread, but I've been trying to learn German on my own and I was wondering if you had any online resources to suggest? :) I've mostly been using Mango Languages and Duolingo, and watching Extr@ auf Deutsch on YouTube. It's a wonderful language but I feel I'm progressing slower than I would like.

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  • 1 month later...

It is entirely possible, my French teacher in elementary school actually only started seriously learning French in university, and she's pretty fluent. 

It's mostly a matter of forcing yourself to speak French, I've found. Grammar's important (I still have my Bescherelle), and so is vocab, but you ultimately want to be able to express yourself in French, so work on communication as much as you can. I remember reading an article about why adults find it harder to learn a new language than children, and beyond a difference in plasticity, it's partly because children don't care about looking silly if they use the wrong word or tense, they just want to be able to communicate, whereas adults worry about being perfect. 

Oh, as for suggestions, I think they've pretty much covered it above (was going to say Duolingo and Explore), but you can also look into Hello Talk. It's an app that connects you to native speakers that also want to learn another language, with the idea being that you'll correct each other while chatting (eg you help them with English, they help you with French). I've never really used it myself since I'm surrounded by francophones, but the friend who recommended it to me said it was pretty helpful. 

Best of luck! 

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17 minutes ago, meddnerd said:

get an old french textbook to start you off. they should be cheap if not free. then take stickies and place them around your house and on them, write the french equivalent to the English word. EXAMPLE: book= livre

it might be tough to stick with a routine based on a textbook.., even though learning grammar is important.  I'd try even reading Tintin or Lucky Luke before starting a textbook, but depends on the individual..

also - it's an interesting suggestion, but gender is important in French and it's important to keep track - i.e. un livre (for book) vs une livre (for pound - unit of money or weight).  Plus I'm not sure that would really develop as much of a vocabulary as compared with earlier suggestions.

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