The Best Way To Learn French: How To Become Fluent In Any Language Within 6 Months

This 18 minute video is a TED presentation by language learning expert Chris Lonsdale. He describes 5 principles and 7 actions that are necessary in order to speed up learning as it applies to languages. He also dispells 2 myths that people encounter on their journey to fluency and immersion. After each action he suggests we recommend free and premium sponsored tools you can us to improve your ability to learn a new language.

2 Most Popular Myths Associated With Learning A New Language:

  1. That you need talent
  2. That the only way to learn properly is to be immersed in another country (not a practical or affordable option for most)

5 Principles Necessary To Learn A New Language:

  1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you. The basis of this first principle is to understand the interconnection of four key components: attention, meaning, relevance and memory. If it's related to your personal goals then you're going to pay attention to it, if it's relevant you're going to remember it.
  2. The second tool for learning a language is to use your language as a tool to communicate right from day one. We learn fastest when the tools we use are relevant to us.
  3. When you first understand the message, then you will acquire the language unconsciously. Comprehension is key and language learning is not about accumulating lots of knowledge.
  4. Speaking takes muscle which takes physiological training: You've got forty-three muscles in your face, you have to coordinate those in a way that you make sounds that other people will understand.
  5. Psycho-physiological state: If you're sad, angry, worried, upset, you're not going to learn. Period. If you're happy, relaxed, in an Alpha brain state, curious, you're going to learn really quickly. Those who struggle with language learning are too often trying to get things absolutely perfect. If you're comfortable with getting some and just paying attention to what you do understand, you're going to be fine, you'll be relaxed and you'll be learning quickly.

7 Actions For Learning French Quickly

  • Action 1: Listen A Lot Put yourself in a context where you're hearing tons and tons of a language and it doesn't matter if you understand it or not. You're listening to the rhythms, you're listening to things that repeat, you're listening to things that stand out.
    Recommended Free Tools: FrenchPod 101: Youtube
    Recommended Premium Tool: Fluent U
  • Action 2: Get The Meaning Before The Words From body language you can understand a lot of communication, therefore, you're understanding, you're acquiring through comprehensible input. And you can also benefit from using patterns that you already know.
  • Action 3. Start Mixing The Words: You probably have never thought of this but if you've got ten verbs, ten nouns and ten adjectives you can say one thousand different things. Start mixing, get creative, have fun with it, it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work. With every language there is high frequency content. In English, 1000 words covers 85% of anything you're ever going to say in daily communication.
  • Action 4. Start with a toolbox of basic words and pronouns…now glue them together. Week 1: In your new language you say things like: "how do you say that?" Week 2: Learn simple pronouns, simple nouns, simple verbs, and simple adjectives, Week 3: Focus on glue words. "Although," "but," "therefore," these are logical transformers that tie bits of a language together, allowing you to make more complex meaning.
  • Action 5. Find A Language Parent When a child is learning to speaking, it will be using simple words, simple combinations and sometimes strange pronunciation. Other people from outside the family don't understand it. But the parents do. And so the child has a safe environment and in turn gains confidence. The parents talk to the children with body language and with simple language they know the child understands. So we have a comprehensible input environment that's safe. So you find yourself a language parent who will communicate with you essentially as an equal. There are four rules of a language parent (spouses do not make good language parents). First of all, they will work hard to understand what you mean even when you're way off beat. Secondly, they will never correct your mistakes. Thirdly they will leave you feedback of their understanding of what you are saying so you can respond appropriately and lastly they will use words that you know.
    Free Tools: LiveMocha
  • Action 6: Copy The Face: if you can look at a native speaker and just observe how they use their face, let your unconscious mind absorb the rules, then you're going to be able to pick it up
  • Action 7. Direct Connect: What you need to do is realize that everything you know is an image inside your mind, it's feelings, if you talk about fire you can smell the smoke you can hear the crackling, you can see the flames. Make the connection between the new sounds you are hearing to those images that you already have.

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As a Bilingual city many employment opportunities in Ottawa, especially those with the Federal Government require you to be bilingual. Taking a course in french is one of the best ways to become fluent in both official languages.


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