This week, I thought I’d give my best tips and tricks for advanced learners of French. So often (and I’m guilty of this too), when blogs give tips for French learners, they’re talking about absolute Beginners. However, in my work as a tutor, I have taught French for people of all ages and abilities (and, as you never really stop learning a language, I would class myself as still a learner), so I thought I would share my top tips and tricks for French for advanced learners.
1. Find new and exciting ways to practice your listening skills
Once you’ve moved past Extra! and listening exercises designed for learners, branch out and try some material designed for native speakers. If you find something that is linked to your other interests, you’ll engage with it far more than if you choose something for the sake of improving your language skills. If you love films, check out this blog on ten French films to watch during lockdown. If you like YouTube, check out Cyprien’s short comedy sketches. If you like podcasts, you could try Vieille Branche or L’Esprit public. If you struggle to keep up with the rapid-fire of native French, try turning on subtitles (in French! This will really help both your comprehension and learning) or downloading a transcript of the podcast.
2. Read something interesting
If you like reading the news in the morning, try picking a couple of articles in French to keep your language learning going. If you love detective novels, pick up one in French! Even if it takes you half an hour to read a page, you’ll be learning new vocabulary and becoming really familiar with the past historic.
3. Keep up the vocab practise
As I said in my ‘how to learn a language’ blogpost, learning new vocabulary is one of my least favourite parts of learning a new language. However, it is a necessary evil and still important even as a more advanced learner. Find a way that works for you – make a flashcard set on Anki, get old fashioned and make a list or find a programme on memrise.com.
4. Find a speaking partner
It’s a bit clichéd, but very true that if you don’t use a language, you lose it. So make time each week to practice your speaking skills with a friend who speaks the language. If you don’t know a native speaker, try looking for one on conversationexchange.com, Tandem or HelloTalk. If you want something a bit more structured, consider hiring a tutor. They’ll be able to set the right pitch and tone for you and focus on the skills you really want to focus on.
5. Use social media
Try following influencers who speak your target language or even post in the language yourself for practice!
6. Keep a language journal
To practice your writing skills, try journaling for ten minutes every day in your target language. Write down your thoughts, feelings, what you’ve done that day, etc. If you don’t mind sharing, you could ask a friend or tutor to look over it, or try to correct it yourself.
7. Consider taking a course
There are lots of courses out there and, given the circumstances during this lockdown, there are more and more courses opening up everyday online. If you have a bit of money and time to spare, consider investing in one.
8. Invest in some good resources
You probably already have a French-English dictionary, but I would also recommend:
- A monolingual French dictionary
- Using French Vocabulary by Duffy
- Advanced French Grammar by L’Hullier
- Mot à Mot
If you’re interested in learning French, I am able to tutor pupils of all ages and abilities. Feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7740031695 for a free quote. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of my classes are currently conducted online (usually on Skype, although I can use Microsoft Teams or Zoom, as you prefer).