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FAQs: How to Learn French

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning French

Whether you’re looking for a new, linguistic challenge or you want to partake in the fascinating culture of France, French is a wonderful language to learn. This beautiful, diverse language is not only spoken in France, but also in Canada, parts of Africa, and many more locations worldwide. Keep reading to find answers to some frequently asked questions when starting online French classes. We’ll share how long the language takes to learn, how often you’ll need to practice, and more!

Is French hard to learn?

French is not a difficult language to learn, especially for English-speakers. As with any language though, there are a few tricky concepts to pick up. With French, some learners find that the differences in its written form and pronunciation, along with its many detailed verb tenses, are a challenge. But the French language is actually very logical, and its written form follows patterns that can be learned and easily recognized. French also has a lot in common with the English language. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, French became the language of English royalty for several generations. As a result, French influenced the development of English, so the two languages share many of the same roots and grammatical structures. Learn more about learning French here.

How long does it take to learn French?

The amount of time it will take you to learn French depends on your desired level of proficiency, as well as the amount of time you’re able to invest in learning. Many students can carry on simple conversations on everyday topics in a matter of months after taking French lessons online. If you’re hoping to reach an advanced level of French, then you’ll probably need to study for several years to develop a comfortable range of vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. Intensive study or immersion can also help speed up the acquisition process. Students who are more casual about their learning will usually take more time to become fluent. Learn more about how long it will take to learn French here.

Do you have to be a certain age to learn French?

Students of any age can learn French online. It’s never too soon or too late to start! It’s important to understand though, that students of different ages often learn in different ways. Younger students may not think in terms of grammar the same way that older students do. They can recognize rules, but they might not articulate or express them in the same way. Older students may have more trouble remembering as they learn new things, but they have more experience with logic and patterns that younger students have not acquired yet.

How much does it cost to learn French?

The cost to learn a language depends on a number of factors, including the teacher and region, the frequency and length of lessons, and the quantity and type of supplementary learning opportunities taken. If you’re taking courses at a local community college to learn French, costs usually start at around $300 per semester. Class sizes can be large, however, and you might not receive as much individual attention as you would from a private tutor. At TakeLessons you can take both private French lessons and online group lessons, which are more affordable alternatives. Private lessons allow you to focus on your goals and receive personal guidance from a teacher, while group classes enable you to practice all you’re learning with other French students. Most private French lessons range from about $15 to $40 for a half-hour lesson, depending on the instructor and whether the lessons are online or in-person. If you sign up for group classes at TakeLessons, your first month is free and the cost is $19.95 per month after that. Join one of our classes today to try out an instructor, start learning French, and meet other like-minded learners at the same time!

What is the best way to learn French?

The best way to learn French all depends on the student. Different students have different goals and learning styles. Some are more focused on speaking, while others are focused on reading and writing. Some students have very little time to master the language, while others are able to study over a longer period of time. In any case, opportunities for language exposure, practice, and language development are key. This means someone should be there to help guide you – preferably a teacher and French-speaking peers, whether that’s fellow students or native French-speaking friends. At TakeLessons, we believe the best way to learn French is by frequently taking group classes and lessons. You’ll get the most out of having the personalized instruction and attention of an experienced language teacher. A qualified French teacher will be able to create a plan specifically tailored to your unique learning style. And group classes are an excellent way to apply all you’re learning and put it into practice with others. Whether to learn online or in person is also an important decision. In-person classes can allow for more focus, especially for younger learners. When older students learn French online, they enjoy the flexibility and convenience.

More French Resources

The Benefits of Learning French

There are many benefits of learning a foreign language like French. Those who speak a second language are often more mentally versatile and active. Researchers believe learning another language also helps prevent or delay signs of dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Since French is so widely spoken internationally, learning the language opens up many doors to professional opportunities. Being bilingual is a plus on any resume! There are also dozens of internships and study abroad programs if you’d like to expand your education in France.

Lastly, knowing French gives you access to the large and diverse French-speaking community around the world. From France to Quebec to West Africa and several of the Caribbean islands, if you enjoy traveling and making new friends or connections, learning French will serve you well.

Proven Ways to Practice Your French

Practice your French as often as you can! Setting aside at least 30-60 minutes each day to focus on studying French will help ensure the best results. Foreign language learning is difficult to do through cramming all at once.

It’s much better to learn through constant and frequent repetition, so try to exercise your skills as much as you can during free moments throughout the day. This will reinforce your learning even more.

As we mentioned above, practicing French daily is crucial to your success, but what exactly is the most efficient way to practice French? Here are a few great ideas.

  • Have French-only conversations - Ask around to find friends who speak French, or reach out to other students who are learning French. If you can, enlist one or two with whom you’re only allowed to speak French to at regularly scheduled times.
  • Dive into the culture - Watch French films or read French books to immerse yourself even more in the language. The French have quite a few good films including Amelie, La Gloire de Mon Pere, La Vie en Rose, Les Cent Pas, Jean de Florette, and many more. Some good reads are the popular children's comics Tintin and Asterix et Obelix.
  • Meet French speakers - Find out if there is an Alliance Francaise in your area (an organization that promotes French language and culture, with branches worldwide). If there is a branch near you, go to an event to meet new French speakers. You can also check out for French-related events in your area.
  • Travel - Visiting a French-speaking country, or better yet, living in one, is another excellent way to practice your French among native speakers. Although the most obvious French-speaking country is France, there are quite a few other countries that also speak French, including Belgium, Switzerland, and Haiti.
  • Go online - If you’re having trouble finding people to practice your French with in person, look online. At TakeLessons, our online group classes are a great way to practice your conversation skills with others. A number of other websites also offer penpal, chat, or video options.
  • Keep a journal - Practice your French writing skills in a journal or diary. Every evening, write down everything you can about what happened during your day - in French only. If you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and write, try setting aside just a few minutes and challenge yourself to see how much you can jot down.
  • Quiz yourself - When you learn colors, quiz yourself by naming the French colors for everything you see. Do the same when you learn numbers. Keep a set of flashcards with current and past lesson notes (vocabulary, verbs, etc.) in your pocket or purse. Whip them out when you have a minute or two for a quick pop quiz.

Learn more about how to master French here.

The Best Apps for French Lessons Online

Since French is such a common language, there are dozens of apps to help you learn. While these apps are an excellent tool for language practice, we recommend using them in addition to taking French group classes or lessons.

Nothing can substitute for the one-on-one guidance and correction an experienced teacher can provide. With that in mind, here are a few of the most commonly recommended apps for practicing your French skills.

TakeLessons on iTunes and on Android is our very own app for you to instantly get connected with French teachers, whether you’re looking for private lessons or French group classes.

Online French conversation resources

There are many websites that offer opportunities for French language conversations and exchanges. Here are a few of the websites where you can talk to other French speakers.

  • Italki allows you to find “language partners” that you can practice your French skills with for free.
  • The Conversation Exchange matches you up with native speakers in your area, so you can meet up locally if you want to practice speaking French in person.
  • WeSpeke is a social network that allows you to create a profile and then search for French practice partners online.
  • Check out Facebook for French-speaking groups near your city or region. For example, Reseau Francais a San Francisco or, Les Francais de San Diego.

Getting Prepared to Learn French

Students who choose to learn French online should be prepared with a notebook and a pencil or pen. If you plan to take private lessons, your teacher may require you to purchase a textbook. You may also need a binder to organize notes, handouts, worksheets, and exercises.

Additional materials needed will depend on your method of learning. You may need a computer or smart phone if you plan to take lessons online, watch French videos, or listen to French radio shows.

French Speaking Countries

There are surprisingly many more countries other than France where French is spoken. These countries include:

  1. France

  2. Belgium

  3. Switzerland

  4. Luxembourg

  5. Monaco

  6. Algeria

  7. Guinea

  8. Senegal

  9. Cameroon

  10. Chad

  11. Burundi

  12. Mali

  13. Morocco

  14. Niger

  15. Comoros

  16. Reunion

  17. Seychelles

  18. Madagascar

  19. Rwanda

  20. Togo

  21. Tunisia

  22. Mauritius

  23. Burkina-Faso

  24. Democratic Republic of the Congo

  25. Central African Republic

  26. Canada

  27. Haiti

  28. Guadeloupe

  29. Martinique

  30. French Guinea

  31. Vanuatu

  32. New Caledonia.