I’ve been learning French on and off for many years. I studied it in school from year 7 but didn’t take it seriously until about year 9. I knew that if I were to choose it for my GCSE I would have to work at it in the long run to become fluent. Fast-forward 6 years and here I am still learning…
To be honest, my French is very good. I got an A* in my A level and GCSE, and then I continued to practice quite regularly. When I went to Paris in March, conversing wasn’t a problem for the most part, and it was a good opportunity to practice speaking and listening. Over the last few years I’ve encountered French people but haven’t quite managed to sustain an exciting conversation, as I would have done if I spoke English with them. So now I think it is about time that I speak fluently with total confidence. That is why I have decided that I’m going to travel to France towards the end of the year to put my skills to the test – I’m thinking about going to Marseille or Lille. Being able to speak fluently is one of my dreams and I will actually shed some silent tears when I’m finally able to eavesdrop on French tourists on public transport in London.
So the way I will reach fluency is by using a 5-stage plan:
The first two steps (confidence and motivation) can be achieved using positive affirmations (which I use anyway). I’ll declare on a daily “je suis courageuse, confidente et tres motivée.” This will give me tons of positivity and a sense of purpose, which will give me the strength to pursue my goal. What’s also important is that I remember why I want to learn French and reignite that burning desire to speak with complete fluidity and accuracy. In terms of my method, I’ve changed by social networks, laptop and phone language settings to French. (This morning I spent about 30 minutes watching YouTube videos about ‘la loi de l’attraction’.) When I have free time at work I’ll be using Duolingo and Memrise, which are great apps for French grammar and vocabulary. 1jour1actu and Le Monde will be my go-to sites for French articles. I’ll simply search a topic that I’m interested in, such as the law of attraction, and read as many articles about the topic as I can. This is a good what to gain vocabulary on specific subjects and to expose myself to idioms and more complex sentence structures. As I want to work as an actress in French cinema and TV, I will have to master the French accent to sound like a native. The only way I can do this is to continue to watch French films regularly and listen to the radio a lot more often. Last week in Malta, a few Swiss guys showed me some French rap (a good way of picking up some slang). I am currently taking French lessons one evening per week and so with the additional effort that I’m making I know rapid progress is inevitable. As for organisation, I plan on spending my mornings doing mostly listening practice and my evenings doing written and reading practice. My plan is to make flash cards (when necessary) and download podcasts to listen to when I’m out and about. Lastly, in order to build my own language community, I am also going to find myself a pen pal or someone who I can speak French with on a regularly basis. Having a French tutor is also a bonus point. When I go to France later this year, I will use things like couchsurfing to meet more French people and make some friends.
This complete immersion in the language and culture is the start of rapid progress, abundant success and so much joy. Overall, I’ve gassed about this goal and I’m ready to put in work. Watch this space.