How Long Does It Take To Learn French?

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By Mary Clements

Many people have asked us, “How long does it take to learn French?” Language, much like any other learning process, is a personal journey that can take many different paths and depends on many different factors resulting in varying lengths for different people. However, something that we can all agree on is that consistency and practice are key for success. 

We recently came across the article How to Learn a Language in an Hour a Day, published by the BBC where many language experts talk about the best strategies for becoming fluent in a language. Here are some key ideas that we wanted to share:

1. Doing one hour or even 30 minutes of an activity in the target language every day is better than doing one day of intensive learning a week.

While most of us have busy schedules and might not be able to fit a language class every day, just listening to music, reading a book or having a phone conversation with a friend for practice can help greatly in learning a new language.

2. Make learning fun! Use your interests to fuel your passion for learning.
Don’t like grammar but you love series and videogames? Try watching some episodes in French! Chat with francophone gamers online!  Change the language on your Nintendo! We guarantee that the more you practice, the easier it becomes to understand. In the words of polyglot Timothy Doner:  “Even if you’re only picking up a handful of words per day – and the vast majority continue to sound like gibberish – they will be easier to recall later on”.

3. Find your why.
Like with any challenge we face in life, motivation is KEY! Further than passing your school exams, there’s so much we can do with French! Like travelling or even reconnecting with family, your motivation will guide you! Remember, doing a little bit of French each day is better than doing nothing at all!

4. Don’t be afraid to practice with other French speakers.
Many of us understand the language really well, however, as Beverly Baker, professor and director of language assessment at the University of Ottawa says, “To go over questions and do activities, to talk together in the language, and to discuss the culture…I would not skip that part, because learning about the people and culture will motivate me to keep up with the rest of my learning.”

2 months is a long time for our students to not be practicing French which is why we have both our August back-to-school French Learning Circle Program available as well as our French online summer camp. Both of these programs will help increase the consistency of French practice this summer as well as increase the amount positive interactions they are having with the language which will give them fuel to continue in September. Happy French Learning!