It’s a common narrative. You take a few years of structured French coursework and learn the fundamentals of French. Then life happens and you forget almost everything you had learned. You find yourself, years later, wanting to or needing to relearn French.
Does this describe you?
But where do you begin learning French again and how exactly can you get back into the French language quickly?
Here’s how to learn French all over again. First we’ll talk about beginners and then we’ll cover more advanced learners.
How to learn French all over again (for beginners)
If you had little experience with French OR you honestly forgot a ton of material then the best way to start learning French is by brushing over the basics.
– refresh the subject pronouns I/you/he/she/we/they
– be familiar with the most used French verbs such as to be, to have, to want, to do, to go (all conjugations)
– memorize a few conjugation patterns for regular verbs
– know the articles (le/la/les/un/une/des/etc…)
– memorize the past tense conjugations
– memorize the simple future in French
– build vocabulary (watch videos with subtitles, read articles)
When I say memorize, it doesn’t mean stare at a large list until you’re bored. Make flashcards, quiz yourself, or find an online game which tests the concept you’re learning. Make French learning fun, not painful.
I always recommend using DuoLingo as an easy way to get yourself back into learning French.
The points provided above give you a solid foundation to make up simple phrases. You can breeze through all of them in an afternoon or it may take you a week, but the end goal is the same. You will be back up to speed with French. If there’s a step you already feel comfortable with, don’t skip it just yet. Building confidence in the language is essential, so make sure you’re 100% sure you know the material before moving on. This article goes more in-depth if you need more information.
Where to go next? Read the next section.
Learn French all over again (for advanced learners)
My friend Anthony was on a six month hiatus from French. He took French in high school and college but took a break from French to learn Spanish. When Anthony came and visited me in France he found his groove after a week of talking to French natives. It only took one week!
The best way to relearn French as an advanced learner is to get back out there and start speaking it. But, assuming you’re far away from France, what can you do?
Get your daily news from French news websites. Watch videos in French and fill up your music playlists with French songs. In another window you can have an online dictionary handy, such as WordReference. You just need to commit 30 minutes a day.
Advanced learners should learn and revise their French more through context and less through rote memorization.
Ultimately, I recommend chatting with French people. Engage in conversations and try to make a few friends. Everybody has a different scenario and there are far too many to cover here. I do mention how to do this in my book, Fluent in French Now.
Why do you need to relearn French?
A big question to keep in mind is “Why do you need to learn French?”
Is there a past desire to reconnect to the French language? Or maybe you want to plan your vacation around the best wine in the world. Visiting France is a good reason to learn French, but does that motivate you enough?
Tell me in the comments below.
But without solid motivation and drive, your efforts may be futile. So try to use FrenchCrazy and our other resources to stay on track with up to date French learning materials. You could also try Frantastique for a month.
Good luck with everything,