Duolingo Immersion

Now, I’m not sure if this feature is available for every language on Duolingo, but I saw it for French and thought it was amazing.

If you have a Duolingo account (and hopefully you do), there’s a tab above your language course called “Immersion”. If you click on it, it’ll take you to a translations page. On that page, there will be different stories, articles, and what have you. All of them are in French (or whatever language setting you are on). You have the option to upload a French document yourself, or edit someone else’s document. Just to give it a try, open the first document on your list (the documents are by default sorted by what is recommended for you). You’ll see a page of French text, and when you hover over the text, you can click on different translations of each word. If a translation for the text has already been provided by another user, you have the option to offer a different one.

Why is this feature so awesome? It’s a way for you to practice your French, that’s why! The articles are almost designed like typical French quizzes are. You practice your ability to translate what you see into terms you understand. If you have a Duolingo account, I recommend you use this feature actively.

Personal Updates

I know this isn’t a resource post. I try to keep myself out of this site as much as possible, but since it isn’t working, I may as well just abandon that concept altogether. This is, after all, a blog.

So I wanted to give some updates about what my focus has been vis-à-vis my French. I’m a huge fan of francophone culture. I think it’s very important that those learning a language learn about the culture of those who speak it. It’s important to consider, however, that your focus shouldn’t just be France. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is pretty; yes, macaroons are delicious; yes, French fashion is classy. But there are people outside of France who speak French. My focus right now is on Louisiana.

Now, as far as Louisiana goes, it really isn’t fair to just label them as a francophone area. To be honest, I see much more Louisiana Creole than I do French. Nevertheless, Louisiana is an inextricable part of the francophone world, so it’s important, in my opinion, to learn about their culture. Right now, I’m studying the fun part: the food. Creole cuisine is so soulful, and so unique. The spice and flavor is wonderful. At the moment, I’m just enamored with Creole food.

There are, of course, many, many more francophone countries with unique cultures to be studied. Take some time to analyze these and see how they compare to the original French culture. It will help you have a more well-rounded view of the language you’re studying.

YouTube Lessons

Here’s another channel recommendation! I’m going to start adding these every once in a while because, for one thing, it’s easier to do than a French resource review, and I’ve gone back to class for the year. For another thing, I know a lot of people learn better through videos, and since I’m not in a position to make regular videos, I’d like to show you where you can find some.

One channel that my high school French teacher used was Learn French With Alexa. One thing I like about her videos is how simple they are. She doesn’t cover too much in her videos, and, yet, they’re so thorough. She makes sure the concept is well explained.

One video I would recommend starting with is her video on French vowel sounds. Knowing how to properly pronounce vowels is a common issue among new speakers of any language, since, for the most part, the vowel makes the word. I actually plan on doing a similar video on the Un Autre Compte Instagram page. Please watch her video if you are a beginner in learning French. It will really help give you a jumpstart on your pronunciation.

babbel logo

Babbel

Previously, on this site, I did a review of Duolingo. As far as my preferences go, Duolingo is still my favorite language learning site. However, I have used Babbel before and would like to do a review of that site as well.

I like the fact that Babbel is organized, and has a variety of language choices. I was first introduced to the site when I was learning Norwegian, and it was one of the only reputable sites I could find that offered quality lessons in the language. So I was impressed by that.

The problem I have with Babbel is that it isn’t free. The first lesson in any language is free, but after that, a subscription is required. I don’t really see the point in that, when I could easily hop over to YouTube and learn more French for free. In that way, I find Babbel extremely inconvenient. Of course, you do get high quality content when you pay money for the subscription, but it’s nothing you couldn’t learn for free somewhere else.

Besides that, though, I think it’s a very effective tool. It’s similar to Duolingo in that it is both a site and an app. So, in that sense, it is also very convenient. I’m not quite sure if it’s a rival to Rosetta Stone, as I’ve never used the latter, but it seems to be along the same lines as it. The site is big on pronunciation, and you really learn to speak the language, which is a useful feature.

Fun Ways to Study

Let’s be honest: There are times when we just don’t feel like studying. We don’t have time; we don’t have energy; we don’t have the motivation. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to keep your routine going and engage with the language in some way at least once a day. Thankfully, there are some fun and relatively effortless ways to expose yourself to French without cracking a book.

  1. Movies: What could be easier than laying back on the couch and watching TV? There are plenty of movies available in the French language, of course, but if you really want to absorb the culture, I would recommend viewing an actual French film (not just The Incredibles in French). This way, you are able to not only listen to the pronunciation, but actually see the attitudes of the people as they speak and the gestures they make. Exposing yourself to French culture this way will allow you to learn to speak the language as the natives do.
  2. Music: This is probably my favorite method of learning. Whenever words are placed against a rhythm, they’re easier to remember. So when you listen to French music and find yourself with a line of the song stuck in your head, try to find out what it means. And then BAM- You’ve just learned a new vocabulary phrase.
  3. Articles: I think one of the best things you could do when learning French is read French news articles. You may not understand much at first, but gradually you’ll begin to pick out certain words. Eventually you’ll be able to gather the meaning of articles. In doing this, you not only improve your French reading comprehension skills, but you stay abreast with current events relating to Francophone countries, which, once again, allows you to connect with the culture.

I try to make sure I add some of the aforementioned in links on my site. I make it a point to update my pages monthly, but if there’s something you recommend I add, don’t hesitate to let me know!

Tricks for Remembering Words

It can be difficult to remember what foreign words mean. It will take weeks or months of repetition to fully learn your vocabulary, but if you’re studying for a test in an accelerated course, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. One thing that helped me in my French courses was coming up with little tricks to remember words and grammar. I still remember some of them today, and would like to share them in the hopes that they help someone out:

Vocabulary

  • Penser: to think. Looks like the word “pensive” (or “thoughtful”).
  • Deviner: to guess. Looks like the word “divination”.
  • Marcher: to walk. Looks like the word “march”.
  • Neuf: nine. Sounds like “enough”. The last single digit number.
  • Espérer: to hope. Sounds like “aspiration”.
  • Dessiner: to draw. Sounds and looks like “design”.
  • Puis-je: “May I…”. Sounds a bit like “please”.

Grammar

  • Adjectives- “BANGS”- These types of adjectives go before nouns
    • beauty
    • age
    • number
    • goodness
    • size

Pronunciation 

  • Ending letters- “CaReFuL”
    • You typically do not pronounce the consonant at the end of a french word unless the word ends in C, R, F, or L.

Feel free to share any tips you have for remembering French vocabulary or rules.