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Learning French is a popular goal in the United States. It’s no wonder! Not only does it sound beautiful, but it’s also the official language of countries that span five continents. It’s useful for frequent travelers and those who dream of spending time in Paris.
Many Ph.D. programs require that students be fluent in at least two languages. Also, knowing multiple languages can help you be more in-demand in the modern job market.
There are as many reasons for learning French as there are students who are trying to master it. If you’re ready to learn French, consider these ways of bringing France into your home. They can make the experience more fun and keep you motivated as you progress towards fluency. Bonne chance!
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Put a white board or chalkboard on display and only write on it in French
Find a focal point in a main living area where you can display a white board or a chalkboard, then only write on it in French. Practice writing new words and phrases on it, especially ones you struggle to learn. Say them aloud when you pass by the board and take the time to read it over whenever you can.
When you feel you’ve mastered those words, erase them and start filling it with new French words and phrases.
If you have children, this can be a fun way to start engaging them in a foreign language, too. You can talk to them about the words on the board, state how they’re pronounced and explain what they mean.
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Choose décor inspired by French-speaking places
Try decorating with French-inspired décor to set the scene for a fun learning experience at home. Choose a framed photo of a scene from a French-speaking country or an art piece that has a favorite French word on it. The point is to feel happier about learning French every time you see it!
Just pick something that sparks inspiration and joy from within.
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Watch films from France in their original language
It can be fun to get DVDs or Blu-rays of your favorite films that are translated into French. Display them near your TV with their French titles and covers. Also, buy French films that have English subtitles. Watch these films in French often.
It can be a great way to learn French and hear how the language is naturally spoken. With repeated viewings, it will get easier to understand what’s being said without having to pay attention to subtitles.
If physical discs aren’t your thing, you can also stream movies in French and not have to worry about extra items in your home. Netflix has several French-language films that you can enjoy. You can find some on YouTube and other streaming services, too.
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Use sticky notes to learn the French words for household items
Here’s a simple way to remember basic French words that you’ll need to use on a daily basis if you want to speak the language fluently. Get a pack of colorful sticky notes, then write down the French words for a lot of items in your home.
Go around your home and affix the matching sticky note to each item. Keep each sticky note there until you have mastered the word. Not only should you practice remembering the French word for each object, but also practice your pronunciation and how to use the word in sentences.
Photo courtesy of Ladurée x Matthew Kenney
Order French treats to celebrate milestones
Treat yourself to French sweets to celebrate milestones that you achieve while learning the language. Thanks to services like Goldbelly, you can order authentic French treats like macarons from Ladurée x Matthew Kenney, a Beverly Hills location of the beloved Parisian café.
You can also opt to make French-inspired sweet treats yourself. Popular French desserts include eclairs and petite madeleines.
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Play French word games with friends or family members
Buy French word games to display in your home, then play them with friends or family who are also aiming to learn French. It certainly makes things much more challenging than your average word game in English. Francophone Scrabble, also simply known as Scrabble in the French language, is played by thousands.
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Exchange letters with a pen pal who writes only in French
Try to give yourself immersive experiences whenever possible. One way to do this is to start exchanging written letters with a French pen pal. Write letters only in French. Just be sure that your pen pal knows that you are still learning the language!
Several programs are available online to help you team with a language-learning pen pal. Keep the letters and re-read them as you further progress in your language studies.
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Select French as the language on your television, smartphone and computer
The default language on a device that’s purchased in the United States is probably English. However, you can typically reset the default language on computers, televisions, smartphones and other devices. Take the time to reset the default language to French on your television, then try it with all your other devices.
It’s a small step, but it’s another way to immerse yourself in the language and figure out some extra words you’ll need to learn to be fully fluent.
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Set aside a corner of your home for enjoying French music
French music is one of the joys of the culture, and it should be a part of how you learn the language. Decorate a corner of your home with French albums and listen to music in French.
You may be surprised to learn that many popular American artists have recorded songs in French over the years. And, of course, there are plenty of French artists to explore, too.