Learn French Phrases - Turn French Words Into Conversations
It's not difficult to learn French words. Anyone can do it. Repeat the words enough to yourself and eventually they'll stick. You could teach French words to a parrot - but it's not language. When you want to turn words into useful sentences, into meaningful conversations, you need to learn French phrases.
So what's a French phrase? Well a good place to start would be "Bonjour, comment allez-vous" (that's "hello, how are you?" by the way). The French are normally very polite and almost every time you meet, no matter how well you know them, French will ask "Bonjour, comment allez-vous" or, if they know you well "Bonjour, ca va?" which means the same but is more informal.
I could go on through a whole string of short French phrases, "Ça fait combien?" ("how much is that?"), "Pouvez-vous m'aider?" ("can you help me?"), "Excusez-moi, ou est le gare?" (excuse me, where is the station?") all of which you'll find useful - but there isn't room here to do any list justice and it's not really the purpose of this article. The purpose is to point out how important it is to learn French phrases - it's the whole basis of conversation, the difference between a set of words in a dictionary and the construction of a language. Once you get the hang of learning French phrases a world of possibilities opens up to you. Once you know how the French language is constructed it's like having the key to a secret lock. Unlock it and you'll be able to put your own phrases together - and that's really what speaking French is all about.
But where do you start? Which is the best way to learn? How can you improve your grasp on French and take your learning to a proper conversational level? Well the good news is there's probably never been a better time to learn, or easier ways to learn. Slightly less good news is that I can't tell which method is best for you - you'll have to find that yourself. The great news is that there are many French courses that you can find online that offer free samples - free French lessons or short French mp3s - so you can "try before you buy" if you like. On the other hand maybe you're the kind who learns best from a book? If that's you, just visit your local library and see what they've got. I think that evetually if you're serious about learning French you will have to spend a little money but if you use websites and your local library you can find which method suits you best before you part with your cash.
If pushed to make a recommendation I'd say the best way to learn French phrases is in a natural speaking situation and that's a classroom. If you're anything like me and you thought your school days were far behind you, I have to say that I shared your lack of enthusiasm for a return to school, but to my mind it really is the best way to learn.
However, I realize it isn't for everyone - in fact courses aren't always available or convenient - so my second choice would be the kind of French lessons you can now download online which offer a mix of visual and spoken exercises. Speaking is the key - even if you feel a bit self-conscious about talking to your pc! Reading is good, writing down is better (there's something about writing stuff down that reinforces learning) but speaking out loud is by far the best way to learn French phrases. You might sound a bit strange to yourself at first, but after all, there's no point learning French if you can't actually talk to people!