Update ~ 150 Most Useful Words in French

January 2019
I’ve been working a lot on creative projects this year
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




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: 

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.)


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.


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


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



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


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




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


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