6 New Year’s Resolutions you can make to improve your French

Posted by Josh on 29th Dec 2022 in the blog in the category

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New Year's Eve is when many people look back on the year they've just had and think of ways to improve their lifestyle going forwards. Among the most popular resolutions — such as going to the gym or being more thoughtful — is learning a new language. But what if you're already learning a language?

Whoever you are, whatever stage of your language learning journey you may be at, there are always ways to improve your learning method and to be more effective with your time. If you're stuck wondering what to make your New Year's resolution this year, why not try one — or all — of these resolutions to improve your French?

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1. Add 15 minutes to your study time

This is a nice and simple resolution to make, because it doesn’t require doing anything different from what you already do — but it will mean you’ll learn a whole lot more in the coming year. For instance, if you already spend half an hour every night studying French, by stretching your study time to forty-five minutes you'll have clocked in more than 90 extra hours by next New Year's!

This is a surprisingly effective technique, since 15 minutes on their own isn't a huge amount. Often when we finish studying, we have the capacity to carry on a little longer, so getting yourself into routine is great for discipline.

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2. Read a book in French

This one might sound like a tall task, especially for those who aren’t big readers, but think of it this way: you have a whole year to do it!

It doesn't have to be a long or very advanced book, although you should adjust the difficulty of the language to whichever level you're at. For instance, those at beginner level may want to start with a book like Le Petit Prince, whereas advanced learners might prefer something by Albert Camus or Honoré de Balzac.

Reading is a great way to improve your French because not only does it acquaint you with a wide range of grammar and vocabulary — it's a great way to inform and entertain yourself too (depending on the book). And, for those who don't read very often, why not think of it as two New Year's resolutions in one?

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3. Finish the complete French course

Did you know you can purchase a subscription for the Complete French Course that lasts exactly one year? This is the best way to hold yourself to account to complete your goal before the year's end.

The course covers everything you need to know to speak French fluently, complete with 40 comprehensive modules, a perfect blend of audio, visual and textual exercises and content, and access to regular live lessons. And if you don't finish it by the end of the year, there's always the option to renew your subscription.

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4. Start a new French podcast

By which we mean start listening to one, although if you think you have the skills and resources to set one up, by all means go ahead!

It may be that you already have a regular podcast you tune into — but there are so many quality podcasts out there that it's never a bad thing to try out another. If you listen to a lot of practice conversations, for instance, why not try out one which covers aspects of the language in closer detail? Or, if you're feeling ready, why not make the leap to a podcast intended for a French-speaking audience on a subject you love?

Podcasts are some of the best ways to improve your listening skills — and therefore speaking skills — while immersing yourself in the language. It's the reason why we set up our own podcast, where we discuss topics as diverse as French slang and béchamel sauce.

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5. Browse the Internet in French

Even if you spend an hour studying French every day, the best way to learn the language is to be immersed in it 24/7.

Now, you may not spend twenty-four hours of the day on the Internet, but your screentime is likely a lot higher than you'd think. Even if most of the time you spend online is simply killing time, there is a simple way to make those hours productive — browse the web in French.

You can install browser extensions such as Toucan or Google Translate which will translate sections of webpages for you into French, as well as many other languages. You can also configure many popular websites such as Wikipedia into French. This is a great way to get used to reading and typing in French, and is easily one of the fastest routes to fluency.

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6. Increase your word bank by 1,000 words

Studies suggest you need to know around 5,000 words to be fluent in French, although native speakers often know around 20,000.

That's a lot of words! Learners tend to find vocabulary daunting because of the sheer amount of words that need to be studied and memorised. But achieving a strong vocabulary is a process, and as long as you stick to your targets, you will see clear improvements.

By studying three new words a day, you will see your vocabulary bank increase by more than 1,000 words by the end of the year. If you feel that's too little, then raising it to ten words a day would extend your vocabulary by 3,000 words. Make sure to prioritise common words, apply them to different contexts when you practise them, and revisit words from previous days, weeks and months to solidify them in your memory.

Once you've got the hang of it, this simple trick will become part of your routine and give you a solid foundation for your other learning goals.

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