Language learning can seem like a chore, but there are many ways to incorporate French into your everyday life with minimal effort.
Small and simple changes to your everyday routine can help you effortlessly learn a language.
Making learning a habit is the best way to take the fear out of practising - a little goes a long way. You don’t need to be anywhere near fluent to communicate effectively.
Here are some life hacks to make French learning easier.
1. Make on-the-go vocabulary lists
Carrying a small notebook with you wherever you go is a great way to remember new vocabulary.
You can split pages in two by folding them down the middle and have the word in French in one column, with the English opposite.
Every so often flicking through this book will help refresh your memory of words you have just learned and which otherwise you might have forgotten.
2. Download the Tandem app
If you are not living in France but want to practise your language skills with native speakers, the Tandem app is a good option.
The app pairs learners together based on what language they want to learn.
It works a little like a dating app in that you can match with people with similar interests to get discussions going. You can specify which languages you would like to work on and your current level.
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If you are learning French, you could easily find a French person who wants to work on their English. From there, you can have a pen pal-type relationship, writing to each other on the app and improving together.
3. Change your phone’s language to French
Changing the language of your phone is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more French into your everyday life.
Because you are already familiar with the setup of your phone, using it in a new language should not be too difficult.
You can keep the option for an English keyboard to avoid your texts to friends and family back home being filled with rogue French words!
Language settings are usually found in the general settings section of your phone - it will usually take a minute for your phone to reboot in the new language but it is easy to change back and forth quickly if necessary.
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4. Shopping list in French
Heading out for your weekly shop? Test yourself and write your shopping list in French.
It may seem too easy but it will keep your mind ticking over in the shop and help you discover the words for foodstuffs other than the basics.
5. Put French subtitles on everything you watch
On most platforms, you can easily add French subtitles without changing the language of the whole show.
Even if you are not paying full attention to the words at the bottom of the screen, your eye is likely to wander from time to time and take in words and structures without you even realising.
It is a good exercise to see how different sentences are translated, and the bonus is it makes you feel productive even when you are just sitting down to watch your favourite television series!
6. Change the language on your SatNav
Like your phone, changing the language on your SatNav is a good way to test your direction skills.
Because you have the screen as well as the voice directions, you don’t need to panic about getting something wrong - if you have not understood the spoken instructions you can simply follow the map on the screen.
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7. Ask for directions
If you want to practise some speaking but don’t know who to talk to, stop someone in the street and ask for directions.
People are usually happy to help, and even if you know where you are going this can help you to better understand the structures and words people will use to explain.
It might seem a little strange, but it is a good way to do some quick speaking practice without going too far out of your way.
8. Work French learning into your routine
You don’t have to commit hours each day to learning a language - little and often can make the process more manageable.
One of the best ways to improve is to make learning a habit that falls in with your everyday routine.
Try to commit to 10-15 minutes of practice each day - whether it be looking over your new vocabulary book, listening to a French podcast or having a short conversation with someone in French.
By making it routine, the overwhelming aspect of learning is reduced and you are free to build your skills little by little.
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