Why should you learn French?
Just imagine sitting on the banks of the Seine as your special someone whispers sweet nothings in the world's most romantic language into your ear. Speaking French won't guarantee that your life will turn into a romantic comedy, but it will certainly make your holiday in France all the more enjoyable! Besides the practical advantages of getting around in French, it will also open a new window to French culture and add that je ne sais quoi to your experience.
Let's not overlook the fact that French is spoken in territories around the world, and it's an important language at some of the world's most important organisations, from the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders to FIFA and the International Red Cross. Adding French to your résumé will undoubtedly open new doors to your career.
Learn to speak French
If you already speak English, you have a head start as 45% of English words originally came from French. However, French is notorious for its unusual pronunciation rules, which means it's crucial to make listening and speaking a core part of your learning process.
There are also a few grammatical aspects to get used to. All French nouns have a gender, either feminine or masculine, which affects how you use adjectives and articles (le, la) as well. And verb forms change endings depending on the subject of the sentence. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds, and you'll quickly get the hang of it.
Finding the French course for you
French is a relatively popular language to learn, and as such it's usually easy to find French courses or lessons. Traditional in-person courses can be a great way to learn French if the schedule and location work for you. Make sure to do your research beforehand as the quality of the courses can vary greatly.
If you're more of a self-starter, you'll find plenty of self-learning books and courses. Most people need a bit more support, and online courses are often a good fit. You can complete the lessons when it works for you, and platforms like Babbel provide useful features, like speech recognition to give feedback on your pronunciation (crucial for French!) or the possibility to join live, online classes led by native speaking teachers with Babbel Live.
5 best tips to learn French quickly
One of the keys to learning a new language is incorporating it into your daily routine, instead of marathon study sessions.
Spend a little bit of time every day practising French. Just 15 minutes a day goes a long way to making progress quickly.
Add a French podcast to your routine. Find a podcast specifically for learning French, or a podcast on a topic you're interested in. Even if you don't understand much to start with, you'll be training your ear to deciphering spoken French.
Watch films or TV series in French with French subtitles. You can of course also use English subtitles, but with French subtitles you'll really challenge yourself to understand the language. And if you rewatch one of your favourites, you won't have to worry about missing some of the plot!
Listen to French music. Look up French artists in a genre you enjoy, and read the lyrics while you're listening to their music. Before you know it, you'll be singing along in French!
Speak French with a language partner. There's nothing quite like speaking to someone else to put your language skills to the test. Find a French speaker who's learning your language so that you both can learn something new.