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How To Learn Basic French Words: For Beginners

No matter how long you’re visiting France for, you’ll want to learn some basic french words to not only have a great time but to help you survive out there! Knowing no French at all may be a big mistake when visiting France – you don’t want to struggle on your travels. Here’s some basic French words and phrases for you to learn and some tips to help remember them:

Survival French

I speak a little French – “Je parle un peu de francais” – To let people know that you’re not quiet or ignorant, you just only speak a bit of French.

Do you speak English? – “Parlez-vous anglais?”

I don’t understand – “Je ne comprends pas.”

What does (insert word here) mean? – “ Que veut dire (insert word here)?”. For when you almost understand a sentence there’s just a word throwing you off.

Repeat, please – “Repetez, s’il vous plait”.

I don’t know – “Je ne sais pas”.

I have a problem – “J’ai un probleme”.

Yes – “oui”.

No – “non”.

Ok – “d’accord”.

Now that you have some of the most basic and essential French phrases and words, you need to be able to remember them. There’s no amazingly simple way to do this, apart from putting in some time and effort. However, there are things you can do to learn French much quicker than usual. For example:

Speak Out Loud

When trying to learn words and phrases, saying them out loud and actually listening to yourself say them can really help you to remember them. Saying the word out loud rather than just seeing it will really benefit you.

Write It Down

Give yourself a theme (there are plenty more places online you can find free French lessons) and write down every French word you can think of that relates to that theme. You could do shopping, greetings, food, anything you want to practice. Writing the word and then saying the word repeatedly (up to 10 times) can help the brain to better remember information.

Use Labels

Use sticky notes to label everything in your house/work area in French. Surrounding yourself with the terms will help you to picture the item and use that word next time you are speaking French.

Put Sentences Together

Don’t just try to learn single words – attempt to put them in a sentence on your own. Create multiple sentences with a word of your choice and read them out loud to yourself.

Listen To Other People Speaking French

Searching for audio clips and videos online of other people speaking French will really give you a feel for how words should be pronounced and help you to nail down the accent. Try to listen to some French every day, on the radio, television, anywhere you can.

Read French Magazines

Get together some French magazines and read French. When you come across a word you aren’t familiar with, write it down and look it up when you’ve finished reading the article. Do this for as many words as you don’t know and then re read the article while you refer back to your list!

Other Easy Languages to Learn

Other fun and easy languages to learn are:

  • Spanish. You can get free Spanish Lessons online and you can learn all the basics in just a few days.
  • Portuguese. This is a great language to learn. Not very popular but pretty easy.
  • Italian. The language of love. There are some great online Youtube Videos to learn this fascinating language.
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