I am currently in Paris, I’m doing a short study abroad program with my University, we’re doing classes here in France, so it’s really exciting and I’m taking French classes of course, so I just wanted to make a quick video to let you know the five methods or I guess five techniques, five practices that I’m using this month to learn French.
I really believe that if you’re gonna learn a language you can’t just expect the teacher to do all the work for you. You have to take the initiative upon yourself to learn the language and so that’s what I’m doing and I have five main methods or five techniques that I’m using to attack the French language from a bunch of different angles. And I feel like it’s a really good comprehensive way of learning.
1 – Living in a French speaking country
The first technique that I’m using to learn French is just simply living in France. Being in France, making friends with French people, speaking to the employees in the store in French, and strangers in the metro. And even when I’m with my English friends trying to speak, or my english-speaking friends trying to speak French with them, and reading signs and advertisements in French, of course being in France just helps. When you’re learning French you’ll see different signs and you’ll see, you’ll listen to people say different things that you’ve never heard before. And then it kind of sticks in your memory because you have a time and a place and a location and a story behind the first time you heard these words. So it’s really useful.
2 – French classes
The second thing of course is French classes. I’m taking three French classes over the course of one month. So it’s a lot of work, a lot of studying and it’s useful, and people have different opinions about the utility of taking language classes. And of course that’s not everything, taking classes is if you think you’re gonna learn a language just by thinking that class you’re wrong. You have to put effort into it, you have to take it upon yourself to learn the language, you can’t just learn the language in a class. But they are useful, and for me it’s particularly useful in pinpointing some of the years of weakness that I have. Because when you’re learning a language by yourself a lot of times you can tell they that you have weaknesses and that you don’t fully comprehend how to use a certain grammatical feature or something like that. But you won’t always know how to recognize your areas of weakness. Being in class really helps with that because you have an expert. There at your disposal, someone who already knows the language that you can ask very specific questions, and you can talk back and forth with each other and you can give them examples of what you think is right, or how you think you’re using the language correctly or incorrectly. And they can give you feedback about the way that you’re actually personally learning it. And be mental ideas that you have of the way the language is supposed to be in your brain. You can kind of bounce it off of them and see if you have that correct. So classes are really useful.
3 – LinQ app
Three which is, I’m using app called LinQ and this is an app that’s created by a Canadian polyglot Kaufman and I have read and I’ve heard a lot about this app before I’ve watched quite a few YouTube videos by Steve. I’ve heard different reports of it so I just thought I’m gonna give this a trial, I’m gonna try using LinQ for one month while I’m here in France and essentially link is I don’t even know how you’d describe. It’s like a podcast mixed with kind of like a blog in your foreign language and they do a month. There’s a bunch of audio files and a bunch of articles that you can read and listen to in your target language. And you’re able to listen to the audio of the Articles that you’re actually reading and the most important thing about LinQ is that you can always click on any word that you’re not familiar with and it’ll give you a definition right there, and it remembers the words that you’re really strong at and the words that you need help remembering. It seems like a really good app, like I said I’ve never tried it before, this is kind of an experiment. I’m gonna give it a one month trial period and see how it goes. Now I’ve been using links so far for about a week and it seems really really good. Like I’m gonna give it a full month to kind of see how well it works for me, but just so far my initial gut reaction about this app is that it’s like maybe the best language learning app I have come in contact with. It seems really helpful and I’ll do a longer full review on this app. And it’s a website too. I’ll do a whole video on this app when the month is over. After I’ve had more time to process my feelings about it because at first I really really really liked Duolingo as well and then I kind of started to see some of the flaws in that system, and of course LinQ has flaws too. It’s not a perfect app, and it has its uses and then has other things that it’s not as good at, and even Steve admits that and a lot of his videos. But just so far from what I’ve seen and the experience that I’ve had with this app, with is just really really positive. And I think it’s helped me a lot.
4 – Extensive reading
The next technique that I have been using. Technique number four is extensive reading. And I just bought this book just the first day that I was in Paris. I don’t know what it’s called in English, Guardians of Ga’Hoole I assume. Because I don’t think that word is translated but it’s like a young adult novel about a family of owls. I haven’t gotten that far into the book yet but I thought a young adult novel would be probably just about the right level for me since I’m not a native speaker of French and I’ve been able to read it pretty well. Like I’ve mentioned in previous videos before that extensive reading just reading a lot and reading for fun without stopping to really study and nitpick about grammar and all that stuff but just reading for understanding. There are some linguists and second language acquisition specialists that believe that this may be the best method for learning a foreign language. I don’t know if I would go that far to say that myself but there are linguists who believe that. So you’re aware and so I’ve been reading this ever just about every night for twenty minutes – thirty minutes or something. I would like to read more but I’ve just been really busy with classes and stuff. So hopefully I can kind of up my reading time a little bit as the month goes on. Hdopefully I can read this whole book within the month. And if there’s time left then I’ll buy another one This is a young adults book, so it’s not super kind of tight, it’s not super intense but I have found that there’s a good number of words and stuff in here that do kind of throw me off and I want to stop and look them up. But I try not to do that. I did a little bit for the first few pages of a book, just to kind of get the feel of the setting and what was going on in the story. But I try really hard just to read through without stopping and worrying about single words here and there, and it’s just another supplement to the other things that I’ve been doing.
5 – Notebook
The last and final, the fifth technique that I’ve been using to learn French this month. I just started this a few days ago. I carry this notebook around with me everywhere I go, and every time, not every time but whenever I see a new word in French that I really want to remember. You’ll do every once in a while, you’ll just come across a word that sticks out to you and you think that’s a really useful word that I’ll need to know. Or sometimes I’ll run into a situation where I want to say something and I don’t know the word in French, then I’ll write it down in here even if I don’t have a translator. Handy, I’ll just write the word down in this notebook and then later I’ll translate it or if I’m in a situation where I run into a word and by context it’s clear what the word means. Or I have someone to translate right there then I’ll write the word itself and the translation in this little notebook. And my goal is to get ten words every day and I didn’t really succeed this day. That was Wednesday the fourth but my goal is to get ten words per day, and each page is one day. And then at the end of the day I have the stack of papers here and I make little flashcards for myself, and before bed every night actually before reading my book every night, I take like 15 minutes to go over the flashcards from that day. Well, first I have to make the flashcards from that day as well as the flashcards from the last few days. I started this a few days ago, but I have a good maybe 30 flashcards right now and what I do is I write the English word on one side and then on the opposite side I write the French translation, and an example sentence. The important thing is that the example sentence doesn’t come from my brain, it’s not just a sentence I made up, I get example sentences from the internet, from language. Whatever dictionary you like to use, and that’s important because you don’t always know how to use a word in your target language even if you know what the word means. It’s just the strange thing where sometimes you’ll know what a word means but you’re using it wrong or there’s some shade of nuance. That’s just different between the two words, and so you really want to use example sentences that you know for sure are accurate to the way that the language is actually spoken. So, I just use little example synthesis on my flashcards to give me a little bit of context and to give me an example of how to use the word itself. And so that’s really useful you know, I like this method of learning vocabulary because all the vocabulary words are things that I’ve come up with myself are the things that I have found useful, or I’ve personally run into throughout the date. It’s not like some prefabricated vocabulary card deck that someone else made that they think will be useful. Every vocabulary word in this flashcard deck has a story for me. There was some situation during my day where I ran into this word, or I ran into a situation where I needed to know that word and that’s gonna stick in your memory better than just looking at some random flashcard that someone else made.
So, those are my five techniques that I’m using this month for learning French. We’ll see how it all goes. The most of these are techniques that I’ve used before, except for LinQ of course. But I’m really expecting to learn a lot of French this month. It’s thirty days that I’m just dedicating just to language learning. I’m also taking one culture and civilization class while I’m here, which as interesting from a historical perspective but other than that that’s my only commitment. My culture and civilization class is language related, so everything I’m doing this month is just dedicated to learning French and perfecting my French so I’m really excited. I think it’s gonna be a very beneficial month for me and I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on the techniques. How my French is progressing, and what you guys can do to emulate the rapid progress that I’m gonna be making this month. So, thanks for watching the video and we’ll see you guys later.