In today’s global and interconnected world, learning another language can help you immensely in your career, relationships and travel. If you’re on the path to be a bilingual, it pays to know one of the most popular languages other than English – the language of love, French. When traveling to French speaking countries, you don’t need to rely on a French translation expert anymore, because you’re the expert!
Why Learn French in the first place?
There are many reasons to learn French, the most obvious one would be for when you visit French speaking cities such as Paris or Quebec. You can get around the city better when you speak the language. Another reason is that other than English, French is the official language of the UN, The International Olympic Committee and the International Red Cross, among others.
If you ever wanted to work for these organizations, learning French is a requirement. Plus, bilinguals get paid better! But, as with anything skill related, you have to pay a premium for French Lessons. It’s just the way it goes. Higher education has a price tag because the benefits are huge, and institutions know that people will pay, no matter what.
French for Free
Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly fine with paid French lessons, especially if you need it to advance your career or if you really want to learn the language well and speak like a true Frenchman. Investing on paid lessons, whether it’s online or live, is your best shot.
But it’s not the only way you can learn the language if you’re really hell bent on it. There are ways you can pick up basic French and learn how to use it properly without paying anything, especially if you’re set to visit France sooner than you imagined.
Learn French Online
There are literally dozens of websites that are offering basic French lessons for free, but most of them are really pretty basic, like knowing what “bonjour” and “merci” mean, how to correctly pronounce them and how to ask someone where the nearest toilet is.
You need to go beyond the basics and immerse yourself in the language. Two websites that are really good at teaching more than the basics in an interactive manner are Babbel and The French Tutorial. Babbel’s interface is really clean and easy to use, while The French Tutorial goes a little more in depth and even has lessons about the French alphabet.
Another good site is Duolingo, but I couldn’t get my session to work both on IE11 and Firefox. It could be a issue with my ad-blocker, because I have the app on my tablet and it works flawlessly. If you want to study French on the go, download the app on your phone or tablet. It’s pretty neat.
Hang out with native speakers
If you have friends or relatives who can speak the language fluently, go pay them a visit or endeavor to talk to them frequently. Free online French lessons and regularly hearing the language spoken to you can help you learn the language fast.
Make it a point to have conversations in French too, because you need to practice your pronunciation and intonation. Before heading off to see your long lost uncle or a friend who moved, be sure to let them know the deal first!
Spend time in a French speaking Region
This is a bit drastic, but the best way to really learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. The more people speaking the language, the better for you because you’ll get to practice each and every day. If you’re Canadian, you can obviously go to Quebec, but if you want to try living outside of North America, you can try living in countries that have French as their official language such as Belgium, Switzerland and Monaco.
Learning a second language needn’t be all books and lessons in a formal setting. You can learn French for free online, or the oldschool way by spending some time abroad, if that floats your boat. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck. Au revoir!