Update ~ 150 Most Useful Words in French

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January 2019
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I’ve been working a lot on creative projects this year
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Die Qual der Wahl/ the agony of choice: Still not sure where my many interests will lead me but I hope to get back to travelling soon and decide my next plan (teaching English, master’s degree, writing or activism)

 

Dear readers,

First I want to say thanks to my new followers!! I appreciate your support and am glad to share life, languages, & travelling with you all.

I love the idea that someone searches something on Google and they end up on my blog! Writing also makes me feel good and I am so proud of how far this blog has come! =)

I have learned a lot about this platform and blog design/writing in general and maybe, one day, I will use it somewhere else. But for now, I still have a lot of content in mind to share on Austauscherfahrungen. I will try to post once a week.

 

Introduction aside let’s get back to this language learning post!

My latest post was about how I am learning French–specifically which resources--and I also shared some learning challenges. This post is an update about one of the learning challenges: learning the most common/useful 150 words–can I converse faster in my target language after mastering these words??

In my post, I made a mistake and said 200, but it is indeed 150. Here is the list of words I used: Top 150 most useful frequent nouns

While these words aren’t necessarily the highest frequency words (those are a bit different in all languages anyway and are often grammatical words like “the, an, at, on”)

and they also aren’t necessarily your first five-hundred A1 vocabulary words according to the European Framework—

they are practical words for adult conversation instead of lists of different fruit names or abstract words which would be better for someone with a higher level.

—The man who created the list is an experienced and talented polyglot (you can read more about him on his website which I linked above.)

 

Personally, I think it is extremely useful for beginners to master 100-500 words in their target language by not only learning the translation, but also grammatical information, related words and how to use the word naturally in a sentence. Creating your own sentences with new vocabulary and finding related words is so much more useful than learning thousands of words with only the translated equivalent.

It immerses you in the language when you create sentences and your brain can work a lot better with the context, so that when you want to speak your target language you don’t have to translate anymore. And, by making flash cards or easy-to-read lists, you can easily review problem words. Taking the time to hand-write the cards and search in a dictionary can’t hurt your memory either 😉

How I am making my cards: I am using a bilingual dictionary for translation and recording correct, natural sentences since my goal is to be able to use these words in my own speech. For this I recommend: Tatoeba, a collection of sentences and translations.

This is how I will study with them: 1) I am going to stop other study methods like YouTube videos and working with other books. How else would I know whether it was the cards or my other materials that benefited me? I am going to review my A1 textbook though. 2) I will practice reading aloud when I study and my goal is to go through all cards at least twenty times. Along the way I will measure how my speaking improves!

 

I will update you again after finishing the cards and memorizing them. The next learning challenge will be about my self-study methods: how I am studying to make fast progress in French 🙂

 

 

More posts that may interest you~

My resources for learning French/ recommended beginner books for students of European languages (with a little advice on studying): My Resources for Learning French

Tips for learning vocabulary in a foreign language: Ten Tips for Learning Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

Series on improving your speaking in a foreign language: Improving Your Speaking in a Foreign Language

 

Sincerely,

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.

“I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

 

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1. Reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, accent, rhythm and overall relationship with a new language. There are many methods to learn from reading: by reading aloud and training your accent, by finding unknown words in a text, and, simply, by immersing your thoughts in a new language you are helping your brain to connect different channels of information, so that you can use grammar and vocabulary naturally when speaking.

 

2. Writing a diary or stories to take some authorship. Do you just want to be able to introduce yourself and order food, or do you want to be able to converse about daily life, describe a special memory, talk about your hobby, or discuss your beliefs? Write about the things that are important to you.

 

3. Speaking and thinking in your target language before actually speaking. Many performers–let’s say dancers–will review their routine by quickly running through it before they go on stage. Take a few minutes and go through a scenario in your head about a possible conversation topic. This way you will be better prepared the next time you have a chance to practice and you can discover where some gaps in your knowledge are, so that you can later fill them with more studying.

 

 

More speaking tips coming your way~

 

❤ Stephanie