Tools to Improve Your Language

1. Watch More French Movies to absorb native speaking patterns

Watch more French movies, and LISTEN. It’s imperative to engage with the film and to notice the  intricacies of the language. Do you feel that straining to understand what they are saying? That means you are learning. Keep it up. Some good places to watch French movies online are Netflix, Vimeo has old or classic French Films, and if you’re a UofM student, The Digital Content Library. French movies are also often playing at St. Anthony Main, The Lagoon, and the Uptown theaters.

Also consider watching movies or cartoons in dubbed French. Since you already understand the plot, it will be easy to train your ear to pick up on words that you don’t know based on your prior knowledge of the film and the images you see on screen. Some sites to watch dubbed French films are ListentoFrench.org. Sometimes all you have to do is do some google searching to find a site that has them uploaded.

2. Your language sounds awkward

Bon Patron is a handy website to help you double check your writing assignments. It gives reasons as to why the grammar may be incorrect and will highlight areas that you should verify or correct. Like any internet tool, it definitely has its flaws, but it is useful for catching problems with agreement, conjugation, spelling. Sometimes the thing is completely wrong and it still needs some development, but if you don’t take its corrections to be the gospel truth, it’s definitely a handy tool for verifying what you simply forgot to implement, or encouraging you to verify what may be incorrect.

3. Your vocabulary could use some sophistication. 

Memrise is a really cool learning tool to help you track words in French that you’re learning. It lets you create flashcards, then tracks which words have been entered into long-term memory or which words are “wilting” and need “watering” in your “word garden”.

This is a useful tool not just for beginners, but for advanced and even almost fluent learners as well. There are lists premade by other users in the Memrise community that pertain to anything from “Complain like a Parisian” to “Writing a Book” to “Thing that will get you into heaven”. The comedic and personal arrangement of subjects and the ability for users to add their own mnemonic devices along with words keeps the learning interesting, game-like, and comical. You can also create your own lists for private or public use if you want to keep track of the vocabulary you are learning in class.

4. Find a native speaker and bug them to speak French with you

Study abroad and get outside of your comfort zone. Come to French Conversation groups. Visit the Alliance Francaise’s monthly P’tit Dejeuner, or Film nights with the French National Honor Society. Join the Jeunes Cadres Dynamiques.

Do you have any proven methods that you have used?
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