8 things you can do everyday to improve your French
Posted by Josh on 4th Nov 2022 in the blog in the learning french category
Learning French doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term process that requires commitment and regular practice, and while you can speed the process along by devoting more of your time to studying the language, if you truly want to remember what you learn and to keep the momentum going, your best bet is to study a little bit every day.
Which means that whether you find yourself with too much time on your hands or you're busy as a bee, all you really need is a routine that spares fifteen minutes or so every day in which to study your French. Sounds easy, no? Of course, doing the same thing every day might not sound very exciting. Luckily, there are countless ways you can practise your French on a daily basis, and mixing up your methods is vital if you want to ensure you improve in as many different areas as possible, from vocabulary to grammar, speaking to listening, and everything in between.
With that in mind, why not try these eight different things you can do every day to improve your French!
Reading is essential for improving your comprehension and spelling skills, and if you want to be truly fluent you’ll need to get in the habit of doing it every day. Take a moment to think how often you read in your first language — and we don’t just mean books. Signposts, leaflets, instruction manuals, emails, texts and blogs like this one all count as reading, so if sitting down to read Flaubert isn't your cup of tea, you still have plenty of options!
We recommend choosing something adapted to your level, but don't be afraid to try something a little more challenging, as you'll be more likely to learn something new.
2. Listening to French music
Whatever your tastes may be, France is home to some of the best music in the world, which makes listening to French music one of the most enjoyable ways to learn the language. Of course, as much as you may enjoy Claude Debussy and Camille Saint-Saëns, you’ll probably want to choose songs that have lyrics in them. But once you've listened to a few of these, you'll not only have improved your aural comprehension — you'll have also given yourself a crash course in one of the key areas of French culture.
3. Listening to French radio or podcasts
There's no two ways about it — you'll never be able to speak French unless you listen to other people speaking it. Unfortunately for Francophiles who don't live in a French-speaking country, it isn't as simple as eavesdropping on your neighbours.
The good news is that podcasts and radio shows in French are more easily available now than ever before, wherever you may be in the world. Websites such as Radio.net and Streema allow you to tune into a number of French radio stations, while the Podcast apps on iOS and Android host countless podcasts in the French language on subjects as diverse as history and house-keeping. If you find these a bit too tricky to follow, then you'll be happy to hear that there are plenty of podcasts designed specifically to teach you French, including Alexa's own podcast.
4. Speaking to a friend (in French)
If there's one drawback to listening to podcasts or the radio, it's that you can't talk back. (Well, you can, but they probably won't hear you...)
Speaking to a friend — or colleague or relative — in French is a fantastic way to put both your listening and speaking skills to the test, and to improve your confidence. The more you talk, the more intuitive you'll find it, and you'll find the words coming quicker every time you start a conversation. Your interlocutor doesn't need to be a native speaker either, they can also be a learner just like you, which means you can both help each other. It's a win win!
5. Watching French films or shows
TV is another great way to improve your French skills passively and have a bit of fun at the same time. Thanks to the increase in streaming services, it’s easier than ever to watch great shows like Lupin or 10% (Call My Agent) or films like Amelie or Les Intouchables from the comfort of your home. If you struggle at first, try watching with subtitles on in your first language, then switch to French when you’re more comfortable and ready to immerse yourself properly. Before you know it, you’ll be able to watch your favourite French TV without any subtitles, just like a native speaker.
If passive learning isn't your thing, why not try out flashcards? Using flashcards is a tried and tested way to memorise pretty much anything, and you'll probably see them mentioned a lot in the language-learning world, as they're one of the most convenient ways to test your short and long-term memory.
They're also super easy to use. Let's say you want to test your knowledge of French colours, for example. You could write 'blue', 'green', 'yellow', 'red' and 'white' on each card, then on the other side of each card write the French equivalent. After shuffling the cards, you can easily test yourself by taking one, reading the colour and seeing whether you can think of the French word for that particular colour. You can put the card aside if you get it right, or make a note if it's taken you a little longer to think of the word than perhaps it should. They are endlessly customisable, and virtual flashcards such as Anki also allow you to include images, download packs created by other users, and generally save a lot of space that might be taken up with physical flashcards.
Alongside vocabulary, you can use them to test yourself on grammar, conjugations, expressions and so much more.
7. Thinking in French
If you really want to understand French like a native, you’ll have to think like they do…which means thinking in French!
This is a great habit to get into on a daily basis, as the more you do it the quicker and more easily you’ll be able to think — and therefore speak, write and hear — in French. Even if you don't automatically think in words in your first language, it's a good habit to get into; your thoughts can be anything from 'I wonder what's for dinner' to 'I should take the bins out'. Try formulating your thoughts in simple sentences at first, jotting down any words or aspects of grammar that you struggle with. As the days go by, you’ll find it easier, and before long you’ll be thinking in French without realising it!
8. Learning French with Alexa
If you're already subscribed to Alexa's Complete French Course, then there's no better way to learn French. You could try tackling a lesson each day, for instance, or each week if you want to combine it with other learning methods. Of course, the course tracks your progress, and you don't need to complete a whole lesson all at once. And if you're not a subscriber, Alexa has plenty of other content for you to study. Did you know she posts content on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube nearly every day? Which means that even if you're just scrolling through your feed while tucked under the duvet, you can turn a lazy habit into a fun and productive French lesson!
Alexa offers a variety of YouTube membership subscriptions which give you access to video guides, private members-only chatrooms and much more. If you're struggling with motivation, there's no better way to get back on track!
Check out some of our other blog posts!
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