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When you begin to learn the French language, you’ll likely be tempted to memorize huge lists of words. But that’s neither an effective nor fun way to learn the language. Instead of focusing on jamming in as many French words and phrases as you can, try and absorb just a few of the most commonly used terms and dial into polishing your French pronunciation instead. After all, the goal of learning the language is having the confidence to converse and understand spoken French with native French speakers. That usually means first getting a grip on hundreds of words, not thousands you’ll rarely use.
There are some commonly used French expressions that make up the bulk of the language, and learning these will give you a rock-solid foundation. And it’s not just the usual bonjour, merci, or s’il vous plaît that you might need in everyday situations. Those are essential, but it’s also good to learn the words that the French often sprinkle throughout their sentences, like quand, quoi, où, qui, rien, tellement, and comment.
To build towards fluency in French, you should start your French lessons with the basics of common words and pronunciations. Then you can scale naturally towards a much more complex understanding of the French language. That’s why Rosetta Stone’s French language program has an immersive approach that introduces both visual and audio cues that help you learn vocab in the context of true-to-life conversations. The bite-sized lessons are grouped into units that highlight common French conversational phrases you will need for everyday interactions, coupled with practical review that helps learners solidify their French language skills.
The way you approach learning the French language will most likely depend on your specific reasons for learning and using French. Many beginner language learners start the journey by acquiring common words and phrases and attempting to replicate the recognizable French accent that we hear in words like au revoir, baguette and amour. Other more advanced language learners may be returning to the effort after significant exposure to the French language in their academic careers. Whatever your specific reasons for learning the language, you will want to carefully consider choosing a language learning program built with your personal goals in mind.
One of the more notable aspects of the French language is its je ne sais quoi —a unique quality that makes the French accent sound very alluring and mysterious. That said, what may initially seem to be an elusive aspect of the language’s appeal is actually just the nuance of French pronunciation. Some particular French pronunciations can be challenging because they are much more nasal than pronunciations in other languages. But practice can and does make pronounciation perfect. That’s why it’s so important to first learn French pronunciation beginning with the distinctive sounds in the French alphabet.
You can quickly build your skills and confidence by beginning with some basic French words and short phrases. This approach will allow you to develop a bank of common French words, including:
Bonjour / Hello, Good morning
Au revoir / Goodbye
Oui / Yes
Non / No
Merci / Thank you
Merci beaucoup / Thank you very much
Fille / Girl
Garçon / Boy
Femme / Woman
Homme / Man
Amour / Love
Français / French
S’il vous plaît / Please
Bonsoir / Good evening
Bonne Nuit / Good night
Excusez-moi / Excuse me
De Rien / You’re welcome (casual, informal way)
Je vous en prie / You’re welcome (formal)
Temps / Time
Jour / Day
And here are more phrases and questions commonly used in French:
Je suis désolé(e) / I’m sorry
Comment vous appelez-vous ? /What is your name?
Parlez-vous anglais ? / Do you speak English?
Je m’appelle / My name is
Comment allez-vous ? / How are you doing?
Quelle heure est-il ? / What time is it?
Pouvez-vous m’aider ? / Can you help me?
Combien ça coûte ? / How much is this?
Je t’aime / I love you
Rosetta Stone has unparalleled experience in developing language learning programs that build skills, and confidence in speaking and understanding French. Whether you’re a beginning French language learner, or an intermediate speaker looking to refresh and enhance your French fluency, we’re here to help. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology focuses on contextualized learning that leads to conversational confidence. With our award-winning mobile app, available for both smartphones and tablets, you can track your progress across devices and browsers. This access, coupled with our impactful and digestible lessons we’ll get you started on your journey of learning French anytime and anywhere.
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Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
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