I’ve written about a couple different approaches to learning French: French in 10 Minutes a Day audio CDs and DuoLingo. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but neither will suffice if you want to become truly comfortable with the language. I decided to go to the best source available: Alliance Francaise. From their website:
The Alliance Française is the place to learn and immerse yourself in all things French.
I looked up my city and sure enough there was a local chapter.
Designed for both expat French-speakers and for locals who wish to learn French, most chapters have a variety of resources available. Mine offers the following:
- French books, CDs, videos and comics available for borrowing (these range from introductory toddler-level to full fluency level)
- A weekly conversation group
- A weekly book club
- Several native French-speaking volunteers (super-helpful for correction on phrasing and pronunciation)
- Various presentations, French film screenings and other events
- Classes of various levels
I’ve begun taking the very lowest-level class which lasts for six weeks and uses the Latitudes Learning course. In some ways it’s very basic for me since I learned a lot of this in the French in 10 Minutes program. What is extraordinarily helpful, however, is being able to converse with the instructor and some of the more advanced students. Having to construct a sentence on the fly — and being given the time to think about it without feeling pressured — has already helped enormously in the three classes I’ve attended.
I also just learned (in checking the website for this post) that they have weekly conversation groups specifically for beginners on Friday. I am very excited about this because I had tried the Tuesday intermediate group and found it too advanced and therefore frustrating.
I’ll give a full review of my class when it completes, but for now I’m very pleased with how it is going.