My Resources for Learning French

Dear readers,

My post Why I’m Learning French has been one of your favorites. So, I wanted to share how I am getting on with French 🙂

French is the third foreign language I have studied (after German & Russian.) One thing working in my favor is that I already have my own methods for learning a foreign language as well as experience speaking these languages in Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

However, maintaining multiple languages means not being able to give each individual language as much time. Getting past the beginner’s plateau takes patience, love and hard work no matter how “easy” the language is.  🙂

This post–as you can tell from the title–will cover my resources (all books) for learning French. If you aren’t learning French, I would still recommend sources like these for beginner students of European languages. Together, they function as a system: textbooks, workbooks, dictionaries, and so on. (Also, I consult online articles about grammar pitfalls and YouTube for a variety of French-teaching videos (a great resource to improve your listening skills.)

I am going to share a bit in this post about how I use these books when I study, but… I have another announcement! I have a few learning challenges that I want to do and then share with you guys.

  • The first will be about vocabulary: Does studying the most common 200 words help you to start conversing in your target language faster?
  • The second will be about my self-study methods: I am going to measure my French grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking ability, etc. to see how fast my French skills develop from my self-study methods.  In this post, I will share in more detail how I learn certain topics or work with different resources. I recommend studying in 15-minute sessions and giving yourself a 5-10 minute break after every 30 minutes. If it becomes boring or difficult, move on to something else. I also recommend looking for ways to blend your studies into your everyday routine like studying vocab in the subway, or thinking to yourself in French when you go for a walk.
  • Third will be like the former one, but I will work with an individual teacher and measure how I progress in French after 5, 10, 20 hours of private lessons. I will also describe how the lessons went, how I prepare for them, and how I review them. I suggest recording the lesson or taking notes, asking questions and receiving corrections, speaking as much in your target language as possible, and doing homework to review what you did during the lesson. 

 

That is how I plan on improving my French! I would be happy with reaching B2 in French and if I really love the language, maybe even C1. By April of this year, I hope to make it to B1 and no longer be a beginner student!!

**As of January 8, 2019 according to this online test, my French is B2 level. Although I think I am A2 and am just a good test taker 🙂

 

Without further ado, here are the books I am using to learn French: 

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A bi-lingual dictionary is useful for translating and building vocabulary (beginner, intermediate, advanced students. Although, I also recommend monolingual dictionaries for serious language learners.)

 

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I really like the selection of texts in this book! I read before bed (sometimes aloud.) A great exercise to is to re-read texts several times after translating them into English. You can also pick out sentences (or vocab words) you like to use in your speaking.

 

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These texts are more advanced, but they are great for advanced beginner/intermediate students, who want some immersion in French

 

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I had an A1 class during my exchange in Germany. I learned French through German (my second language.) I had a great teacher, who used games to train our skills. The CDs, accompanying vocab book, and grammar cheat sheet (not pictured) help take the lessons to the next level

 

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I like working with this book because the dialogues and explanations stick with me. Although, I had it for German a few years ago and didn’t like it

 

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Great book for learning irregular French verbs & conjugations of French tenses

 

 

 

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This my current “textbook.” It covers more grammar than the A1 textbook did and serves as a great road-map and reference guide for French grammar

 

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This workbook brings it all together~ exercises to make use of what I’ve learned

 

Let me know what you thought of this post and if you are interested in the language challenges mentioned!

Je vous remercie d’avoir lu mon blog

❤ Stephanie

Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube

Hello hello! Всем привет!!

A few months ago, I started writing a series of tips for English speakers learning Russian.

You can find Pt. 1 here—> Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 1 of 3)

Recently, I shared more tips and also recommended books for learning Russian here->So, you want to start learning Russian?

Part 2 & 3 of the series are coming soon, but, for now, I wanted to share some useful and free sources for learning Russian.

 

To learn a foreign language you need a system, organization and motivation–but, behind that, needs to be some solid resources for you to blend into your language-learning-routine. These Russian teachers will have you motivated to study hard and can guide you along your language journey~

(by clicking on the photos below, you will be taken to their YouTube channels)

 

Amazing Russian.JPG

 

Bridget Barbara

 

Easy Russian

 

Irina Mozelova.JPG

 

Learn Russian Language.JPG

 

Denis Fedorov.JPG

 

Learn Russian with Irina.JPG

 

Learn Russia

 

Learn Russian TV

 

RussianPod101

 

 

Live Russian

 

Make it easy with Lilu

 

Natasha Speaks Russian

 

Real Russian Club

 

RUland CLub

 

Elen Sheff

 

russian from russia

 

russian grammar

 

russian lessons

 

russian with anastasia

 

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russian with russian

 

tatiana klimova

 

animated films

 

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If you are a Russian teacher or know of resources that weren’t mentioned, please share them in the comments below~
❤ Stephanie

Going beyond the textbook~ learning to speak a foreign language (Pt. 2)

You can find Part 1 here—> “I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

“Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” – Rita Mae Brown

 

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

 

1) A great way to learn authentic modern language is to find a language partner. I personally like learning through real conversations because I unconsciously/effortlessly add new words to my vocabulary without thinking about grammar or pronunciation.

I don’t think idioms, slang, sayings, proverbs, quotes, usw. can be learned from long lists. Some books may use stories or pictures to illustrate them, but we don’t learn idioms or slang from books in our native language; we pick them up from speaking with others. And I find this approach effective with acquiring specialized vocabulary in foreign languages.

Furthermore, a language partner will help you utilize what you already know. You can talk with your pets if you are too shy to find a language partner online/in-person–or with yourself in the shower–for this practice. Ask them basic questions, tell them how your day is going, and train what you recently learned. 

 

2. Another important tip I have is to find a private teacher. Receiving corrections is important, so ask your teacher to correct your speech and turn in writing assignments to them as well.

A good teacher should also boost your motivation and be able to guide you as you progress in the language. Together, you can find your weaker areas and reach your learning goals. 

Use this time with your private teacher to converse in the language and get yourself accustomed to different speaking situations. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will rapidly improve. 

 

3. Third and final point is concise: to use I) context to your advantage and II) immerse yourself in the language.

I) Using context: instead of lists of words with no examples/related words, find something that is interesting and relevant to you… read an article in your target language about your favorite band and study new vocabulary by memorizing whole sentences. Translate a short text that’s on your level and re-read the original and the translation several times.

II) What I consider immersion (taken from my article on learning Russian):

  • a) Having a good teacher and regular lessons based on an effective system
  • b) Passive learning & natural usage (minimum five days a week) such as watching films, listening to music, reading literary texts, and communicating in your target language
  • c) Teaching yourself the language & doing exercises: use YouTube videos and free websites to learn vocabulary and grammar
  • d) Practice & usage: think to yourself, record yourself speaking, write stories and essays, and do A LOT of listening.

 

 

 

 

Best of luck! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below~

Stephanie F.