Even if your hosts can speak some English, during your vacation in France you will undoubtedly meet people who speak limited or even no English. If you can speak even a smattering of French, you can open a channel of communication between the two of you. Whatever the case, you opened a new door and gave yourself more opportunities.

If you have a bit of time before you vacation, why not get a handle on the French language. Here are some essential French phrases to help you get started. You’ll be amazed at how many words are similar to English and how easy it is to grasp the basics. Before you know it you will be buying cheese at a local market or ordering a glass of wine without any bother at all.

Here are some tips on how to improve your French before you jet off.

Do you speak French? You will do soon! - © French Classes

 

1. Use French Subtitles

Most streaming websites, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, allow you to add subtitles to whatever you are watching. Adding French subtitles to your programs will help you absorb vocabulary without even trying. What’s more, subtitles are great for learning whole phrases as well as single, stand-alone words.

 

2. Download Language Apps

Perhaps you have 30 minutes free on your train commute in the morning. Use this time wisely and fill your brain with French as you travel. Apps like DuoLingo and Memrise are great ways to learn vocabulary and are structured in a way that will take you from the most basic level through to an advanced stage in no time at all.

Duolingo can be used on your phone and you computer and is a great way to learn French fast - © talkREAL

 

3. Attend Language Exchanges

Most big cities will have language exchange events going on. A language exchange is when people from all over the world meet up to practice speaking each other’s languages. Seek out a native French speaker and try out your new language skills with them. This will help you improve your skills and also help you overcome any shyness barriers you might have.

Speaking a foreign language can feel intimidating but the more you do it the more confident you get.

No-one will ever make fun of you for making mistakes so don’t be nervous.

 

4. Carry a Notebook and Make Notes

Try and name the things around you in French. As a car drives past, think to yourself “une voiture”. If you come up against something you cannot name in France, look up the word and jot it down. Writing things down often helps cement it in our memory. Every now and then, glance over your list of words and try to commit them to memory. If need be, copy out the words a couple of times to help you remember them. Vocabulary forms the skeleton of a language so the more words you know, the more you will be able to communicate. 

 

5. Learn a Verb of the Day

Learning a verb and how to conjugate it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes out of your day. Pick a verb in English – say “to speak”. Then learn how to say it in French – parler. Then work out how to say I speak, you speak, he/she speaks, we speak, you (plural) speak and they speak. Do this in the present tense and imperfect tense and you will have mastered the basics of that verb. Once you have done a few you will start to notice conjugation patterns, which will make the process even easier. Just keep an eye out for irregular verbs!

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