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Learning the Language

Unfortunately, even after you’ve stopped envying Camille Rowe in her underwear and managed to master those few French phrases, they probably still won’t be enough to get by in France. So, if you’re interested in improving your French there’s a few ways to go about it…

The best (and probably least appealing) way is to just muster up your courage and speak whatever French you know to anyone and everyone. However, French people often speak very good English and it’s too tempting to switch to whatever’s easiest. So sometimes a little private learning can help too.

A couple of computer programs I use are Duolingo and Rosetta Stone, it’s nice to switch between the two so you don’t get too bored but both are good in different ways.

Duolingo – free, easy, relatively entertaining (teaches you some funny phrases), definitely one that’s good to get started with, or as a little reminder to do every now and again.

Rosetta Stone – more expensive but covers more ground, and you have to talk to it, it then hears your reply and makes sure you say it correctly. This will probably give you a more comprehensive knowledge of French but it isn’t as fun.
Plus side is you can choose whatever level to do, whereas Duolino you unlock it as you go along. Makes it less monotonous.

A game-style website that is great for learning vocabulary and improving your accent is called Babadum (www.babadum.com) You are tested with lists of words, and there is the opportunity to change the format of the game to make it slightly more challenging.

Another good idea is to buy dual-language books (there are lots on amazon).
One one page they have it in French, and the other, the translation. I would suggest buying French authors, that way you know you are learning correct/used French sayings. Rather than if you buy an English book which is translated into French it might be done literally so you could be learning slightly ‘off’ sayings.

Or, once you are relatively comfortable with the language, read magazines. I do this with my iPhone at the ready with the iTranslate app for when I come across something I don’t know.
Magazines are good because they often use quite informal language which you’re much more likely to hear in everyday life, and interview sections are especially useful. Plus, they’re light entertainment and you can now have your magazine binge guilt free! (It now counts as studying).