Are you thinking of a holiday to France or a French speaking country. Or are you thinking of a sun drenched retirement there? Or do you want or need to do business in French? Or are you studying French at school or college and finding it hard going (I know I did!).
The fact is that in addition to France French is spoken all over the world especially in Africa and is a second (or first) language to many in places like Canada or parts of the southern USA. It’s also one of the worlds most beautiful languages and is a actually a real pleasure to use. So learning to speak French well if you have any reason to at all is a very good us of your time.
Why learn French?
Apart from the reasons above, at a more basic level, it's very important to be able to communicate with people you meet. Don't assume they know English or are willing to speak to you in English. The French in particular are very proud of their language and many refuse on principle to learn other languages or use them socially even if they know them.
Speaking French will:-
- Help you when you get lost!
- Get you a lot of respect from the French.
- Smooth over or eliminate potential problems.
- Help you get around at airports, railway stations etc.
- Help in hotels, especially smaller regional ones.
- Buy food and drink and help you have a better time.
- In an emergency could save life, prevent injury…or a night in the cells…
Fact – Almost every non English person you meet will be speaking French and a lot of them won't want to (or can't) speak English. Unlike places like say Scandinavia or Holland English speaking is not that widespread especially among older people. Which means that not being able to speak it can make your trip really difficult and inconvenient. So yes, you should really consider learning French before you go to France or any French speaking region.
So you're going next week are you?! No time to learn at all right?
Actually wrong - Don't worry - You CAN - Here's How:
What you need to do is get a good audio book that will teach you how to speak basic French fast.
It might sound impossible but you can get the basics down in a day or 2 if you apply yourself - By that I mean 1-2 SOLID days application and hard graft. No magic bullets sorry!
Surely I can't!? - Yes, you can
The key is to get a good quality audio book for your objective.
There are a quite a few really good titles out there – The Pimsleur series for example are truly excellent but are over the top for the job of getting the basics down fast – If you go through Pimsleur levels 1-3 you’ll be pretty much fluent – But you won’t do that in 2 days! This type of very comprehensive course is one to aim towards in the longer term if you’re objective is to get fluent. If your aim is more urgent then choose one of the shorter fast learning type audio book courses where you’ll learn to say and understand answers to things that you can use in real situations – For example –
- How to get to somewhere or get out of being lost!
- How to ask for the bill or order food or ask how much it is.
- How to say there is a problem.
The fast courses work by using stories, games and subconscious memory “tricks” to force key words, phrases and concepts into your brain.
The basis of this is this very powerful fact - In most languages there are basically just 100 core key words that form the basic structure of the language.
Once you know them you're well on your way to understanding and speaking the language. A good express course audiobook then will use the techniques mentioned above and create patterns of words and phrases to essentially attack from all angles and get those key 100+ into your head.
Ok you won’t be able to write it and talk fancy but you will be able to have some fun and feel that you have achieved level where you can start to expand your understanding significantly.
A good example of this is French in No Time by Dr Robert Blair. Popular and worth looking at as it’s also cheap - so you can dip your toes in and try without much risk. Google for it or see it on myaudiobookshelf.com language section - French in No Time
Book and audiobook mad Nick, originally from the UK now lives in Sweden with wife Lena, 2 daughters and a Border Terrier called Gunnar. He runs http://www.myaudiobookshelf.com a 7000+ title downloadable audio book website which, apart from fiction and non-fiction audio books has many language course audio books including the likes of the hugely well regarded Pimsleur series which includes a learn to speak Swedish course that he is learning from at the moment while walking the dog – It really works!