French is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world and the only other language besides English spoken on all five continents. With over 220 million speakers, it’s regarded as a language that is useful not only for cuisine, fashion, and travel but also in a competitive, international job market where France has the fifth largest economy.
How you approach learning French depends on your objectives. Some language learners are just beginning their journey by picking up common words and phrases and trying to replicate the infamous French accent—mastering bonjour, merci, de rien, comment allez-vous, bonne journée, and je voudrais. Other language learners may be coming back to French after some exposure to the language in the academic world. Whatever your goals are for learning French, you should carefully consider a language-learning program built with you in mind. Rosetta Stone has experience in designing language learning programs that build confidence in speaking and understanding French. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate French speaker looking to brush up on basics or advance your fluency, Rosetta Stone can help. With an immersive approach that focuses on contextualizing learning, Rosetta Stone uses an award-winning mobile app to deliver bite-sized lessons that help you learn French anytime and anywhere.
When you begin to learn French, it may be tempting to wade into memorizing massive vocabulary lists, but this isn’t a very effective (or fun) way to learn French. Instead of focusing on cramming as many French words as you can, learn just a few of the most commonly used words or phrases and start dialing in your French pronunciation instead. After all, the goal of language learning is not vocabulary acquisition. It’s having the confidence to hold conversations in French.
There are some commonly used French words and conversational phrases that make up the backbone of the language and learning these will give you a solid foundation. And it’s not just the greetings like “Bonjour or s’il vous plaît” that you might need in everyday situations. It’s also good to learn the words that the French sprinkle throughout their sentences, like quoi, où, qui, quand, pourquoi, and comment. These words are similar to the English version of what, where, who, when, why and how and they’ll frequently appear in conversations.
To build towards fluency in French, you should begin your French lessons with the basics of common words and pronunciations and then scale naturally towards a more complex understanding of the language. That’s why Rosetta Stone’s French language-learning program has an immersive approach that introduces words alongside visual and audio cues that help you learn in the context of real-world conversations. The bite-sized lessons are grouped into units that highlight common French conversational phrases you’ll need for everyday situations, coupled with practical review that helps learners solidify their language skills.
One of the things the French language is famous for is its je ne sais quoi, an indefinable quality that makes the accent sound alluring and mysterious. However, what may seem an elusive part of the language’s appeal is just the nuances of French pronunciation. Some of the sounds in French can be tricky because they are decidedly more nasal than other languages, but practice makes perfect. That’s why it’s important to learn French pronunciation first.
While the French alphabet has the same letters as the English alphabet, some of the sounds are pronounced differently. For instance, one of the most familiar sounds in French, the letter “e,” is pronounced ‘euh’ and can be found in every corner of French conversations because it’s used in the same way English speakers use the sound “uh” as a pause or connector to another thought. However, unlike English, French provides helpful accent marks to guide your pronunciation. There are five different French accent marks: the cédille (Ç), the aigu (é), the circonflexe (â, ê, î, ô, û), the grave (à, è, ù), and the tréma (ë, ï, ü). These marks usually indicate that the sound of the letter is irregular, although the circonflexe is only used in French writing and doesn’t alter the pronunciation of the word.
Perfecting your pronunciation is the key to having conversations with confidence in French. Rosetta Stone encourages language learners to begin practicing making French sounds out loud from the very first lesson with a patented speech recognition engine called TruAccent. Embedded in every lesson, TruAccent compares your pronunciation to that of native French speaker and provides feedback, helping you hone in on understanding and being understood in French.
Surround yourself with French whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
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 .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.