Ah, Paris … What are the first associations you have? The Eiffel Tower, coffee, croissants, art, romance, music, love, and lots of other pleasant moments. Everywhere you catch a sound of the beautiful French language, involuntarily craving to join the flow of this sweet talk. And it does not matter whether you speak French or not. According to experts, whatever method of learning a language you use, the most efficient way is immersion in the language environment. Despite the fact that you will be literally surrounded by this beautiful language, even at home don’t give yourself a rest. If possible, listen to French music, read, watch movies. Thus, here you’ll find out how to speak French for beginners while being on a trip to Paris.
1. Start with the basics
To begin with, choose the required set of phrases and expressions that will be helpful on a journey. It can be a small list consisting of three columns or a manual with simple phrases, for example: Je m’apрelle… (my name is…), Qu’est-ce que c’est? (What is it?), Je me suis perdu (I’m lost). In the first column, write the phrases in French, in the second pronunciation, in the third phrase translation. And of course, don’t forget about practice. Have a walk along the street, speak with people, therefore these phrases will quickly become your French basics.
2. Language classes
Most universities organize intensive courses of French language and culture. These courses are usually free; you only need to register in advance. In Paris there is a large selection of language courses, you only need to do a little research. Just come and say: “I want to learn to speak French”. This is a good option because you will be in the language environment all the time and will be able to communicate and practice all the time. As a rule, conversation is the best way to learn new words, grammatical constructions, and phonetics.
3. Mode of life
Every day, wherever you are you will be surrounded by French. At home, in a shop, on the street, in a restaurant, in a museum – feel free to talk to people, watch a movie/soap opera, read magazines, listen to the music, write names of furniture on stickers and paste, try to think out loud in French. Thus, you quickly get used to the sound, timbre, intonation of this language.
4. Books and comics
Be sure to visit the bookstore in Paris. Buy books for kids and comics. Communication is certainly good, but written French is also important. Children’s books don’t require to extraordinary mental efforts, which means that you can read them without dictionaries, memorizing words much faster. As for comic books, it’s easier for a person to remember something when he sees it. It means that it will be easier for you to understand what is being said, looking at pictures and then returning to the plot. This way of learning the language is perfect for beginners.
Take into account that making mistakes is important because you are learning from them. The fate of the whole world does not depend on your pronunciation, therefore don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Fear of saying “something wrong and inappropriate” is the problem of everyone, not just yours. Making mistakes, you will understand what you need to learn better, what to focus on. Thus, learning the language will be your pleasure. If you don’t know where you made mistakes, then there will be no point in learning the language. You need to be able to take criticism in your address and reach a conclusion. To practice with a native speaker is simply necessary.
This has already been mentioned before, but it is impossible to learn a new language without communication. You should be able to use theoretical knowledge in practice. Of course, you can’t always talk to people on the streets, try to get acquainted with them in the style of the 21st century. Communicate with the help of social networks. Find friends of interest and keep in correspondence. Online communication also promotes to improving your writing skills. Ask for help and be persistent. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask again. Ask your companion to explain the meaning of a word you don’t understand in other words.
7. English, English, and again English
Take advantage of your English knowledge. The fact is that all the Romance languages are similar to each other. First, there are a lot of words that either completely repeat themselves or are similar in part. The main difference is pronunciation. Similarly, the situation is with Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and other languages. In order to comprehend the pronunciation nuances alone, it will be enough to buy a dictionary.
Before you communicate with the French, you need to have at least a dictionary or guide. Learn 30 words a day, and you will be happy! This advice will allow for 90 days to learn almost 80% of the language. Don’t believe it but it’s true because you can learn the most popular and most commonly used words. If for some reason you can’t learn 30 words a day, then open a dictionary, choose one word, find out how it is written, speak it out loud and try to make sentences with it or use it in a speech. Make sure that you continue to practice the words that you have used previously. The top ten most common French words are: être (to be), avoir (to have), je (i), de (from, from, to, in, c), ne (not), pas (no, step), Le (the definite article of the masculine gender), la (the definite article of the feminine gender), tu (you), vous (you).
9. Empty words
No, this is not nonsense, but a crucial skill that you must master. Agree, before you answer something, sometimes we need time for reflection, but the answer should be given immediately. What are we doing at this moment? Of course, we’re taking time. And we do it without standing silently and lowering our eyes, but we say something from the category: “Well” or “I don’t know,” “Maybe,” “Probably,” in general, all those words that help us to buy time or fill pause. For French speech, it is also important and if someday you need to tell about yourself, and you forget the word, then boldly remember these words: “alors,” “en fait” and others.
Even if you are in Paris, you certainly will not betray your favorite occupation, because your hobby can contribute to learning French. For example, if you love cooking and want to prepare some French dish for dinner, then certainly do it, resorting to French words. Better yet, if you switch to a video of a famous French chef, who will tell you how to prepare a delicious dish. If you wish to go in for sports, there are thousands of sports clubs in France – from running to rugby. Join a team of like-minded people with whom you will have something to discuss. Thus, you combine business with pleasure.
Unfortunately, no matter how many words you know, without grammar, it does not make any sense. There are many rumors about French grammar that it seems almost impossible to learn it. Of course, these are just myths. In fact, if you ask the Frenchman about how many tenses in French, he won’t be able to answer. Here, as elsewhere, there are standard tenses: the present, the future, and the past are inclinations, just those exceptions peculiar only to Moliere’s language.
There are many ways to understand the structure of French grammar better. Try to translate texts with the dictionary, read three or four pages a day, listen and translate French songs.
I hope that all these pieces of advice will be useful for you. By following these steps, you will be able to answer the question: “How do you speak French?”, then you’ll say “Je suis encore à apprendre, mais je peux parler un peu.” In general, the main thing is to do everything systematically and not forget to learn. Try to write an essay, for example, about yourself. At the initial stage of an essay about yourself, don’t forget about comprehensive training and practice. Firstly, you improve your writing skills. And secondly, by writing a couple of dozen similar works, you can easily tell something about yourself. In this case, you will be able to succeed only if you feel motivation. If you encourage yourself with a summer trip to Paris, then you will learn French at a conversational level. Whether you are a student, a businessman or a tourist, French in Paris will come in handy.
Good luck to you!
Robert Everett is a talented linguist, writes articles on historical topics, as well as incredibly interesting posts for EduBirdy. He wrote a thesis on linguistics. Also, Robert writes articles for online magazine “History Today.” His colleagues say about him: “Robert will solve any historical mystery.” As a student, Robert wrote articles for a university newspaper about journeys. He knows five languages besides English: Italian, French, Turkish, Spanish and German. He knows five languages besides English: Italian, French, Turkish, Spanish and German. His motto in life is: “Live every day to the fullest – in moderation.”