Table of Contents
About Simple-French Website and the French Language Learning
Simple-French is a free online French language course for beginner and intermediate learners.
The purpose of this website is to provide French lessons that are simple to understand and which come with explanations of different aspects of the French language as well as exercises that are essential in consolidating the material. Wherever possible, the lessons or articles about specific topis (eg. Professions in French), contain a task-based exercise. The exercises and the task based appraoch are essential in retaining the material.
To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.
The Structure of the Lessons
Each lesson is built around a text, frequently a dialogue, with a recorded audio. Each lesson is accompanied by a set of explanations concerning grammar, vocabulary, phonetics and some cultural aspects of the French language used in the texts and dialogues. The vocabulary and expressions used in texts on Simple-French tend to be those of common, everyday situations of people learning French and who happen to be in France.
The aim is to provide simple and short dialogues with basic albeit essential French vocabulary for the beginning learners of French. The vocabulary is put into meaningful situations the learner is likely encounter while interacting with a French speaking person while on a trip to a French speaking country or simply while encountering a French speaking interlocutor.
The French Language in Simple-French Lessons
The language used in the texts tends to be formal but relaxed. Unless specified otherwise, the texts are constructed in a correct, formal and polite French. The recordings are done with what one might call "the parisian accent", but it would be better to say that they are in what we could call a standard French accent.
Although some of the parts of the texts could be less formal in the way they sound, it is always better to learn the correct use of the French language instead of the one that could be considered impolite, uneducated or rude in some situations. The spoken French language has the tendency to differ from its written form in a way that the structure of the language is simplified. It is just a matter of gaining speed while speaking. It is a natural phenomenon that is present in many languages. That is, instead of distinctly pronouncing each word and its sound, a speaker of French will very often oversimplify it. To take a very common and easy example, instead of saying "Je suis …", you will probably hear something like "Chuis …".
Nevertheless, don't forget that it is always better in many respects, first to learn and master the correct language before using the more colloquial one. Learning it the opposite way will more probably make you sound silly or lacking of tact, culture or education rather than speaking good French.
To consolidate the material and to make the learning more effective, each lesson ends with a translation exercise based on the text of the lesson and the explanations (grammar and vocabulary) included in each lesson. Absorbing things passively has never been a very effective way of learning. If you make your brain actively re-use the freshly acquired input, you will be surprised how well you will memorize it and be actually able to remember it and use it.
Learning Languages and the Brain
It is also equally important to repeat the lessons regularly. It would be great to do a lesson once and memorize it thoroughly but it is not unfortunately the way your brain works. In most cases your brain will tell you that it doesn't want to acquire the new material. There are several reasons for that: fatigue (mental or physical), lack of motivation, lack of the right material, no pragmatic use of the acquired things. In general, the less you crave for something the more difficult it will be for your brain to actually acquire it.
There are a couple of things that make the brain learn:
- motivation: if at the idea of learning French, or anything else for that matter, you feel that joy inside you that give you smile on your face, then you are on the right track.
- creativity: making your brain actively use the material you are acquiring will make wonders. Think of your brain as a CPU or a computer program: you must give it the right input and make it do something in order to obtain the desired output.
- repetition: you need to come back several times at different time spaces to the material you are learning in order to make it automatic. It doesn't mean you need to repeat everything countless times. It will probably only make you fed up with French. You need to learn the core of the language approaching it from different angles in order to become autonomous and actually make your brain use its biggest asset: creativity. What will finally define you as a good speaker of the French language is not how many hours you have spent learning it, what material you have used or how much you paid for it. All these aspects will only add to what you will make of the language and how you will reveal your personality through the use of that language.
- competition: the idea of acquiring a new language can be exciting in itself. Improving oneself and getting better as a human can be great too and it is what makes the today's competitive world turn round.
- sleep and nutriments: these two aspects are crucial in effective learning. If you don't sleep right and don't provide the necessary fuel to your brain you won't get very far.
It is up to you to apply those principles or even add some others that have proved to work well for you. At simple-french I have tried to provide you with all the aspects mentioned above hoping that it will make your experience of learning French an effective pleasure.