The use of technology in all areas of society only continues to increase. With the extensive availability of tech aids online, technology can greatly be used to help students overcome the difficulties of learning a new language. One of the most popular foreign languages to learn amongst students is the French language, as it is a beautiful and expressive language that is widely spoken outside of France, as well. In fact, more than 220 million people who speak French on all the five continents. Thankfully, the wide array of online tools enables students to improve their French language skills much more efficiently and at a quicker pace.
The French language is rather complex. Some of the main challenges that the French language poses to students are the grammar and the pronunciation.
The grammar takes significant practice to master, as the language is not a ‘basic’ language by any means. There are 6 different forms of verb conjugations, depending on the person, including: je, tu, il/elle/on, nous, vous, ils/elles. The verbs either have a regular verb ending (-er, -ir, or -re) or an irregular verb ending. It is only through practice that students can learn when to use which conjugation and verb ending.
With the extensive availability of tech aids online, technology can greatly be used to help students overcome the difficulties of learning a new language.
In regards to pronunciation, those who are studying as well as those who have learned French agree that it is quite tricky to learn the differences from written French to spoken French. This is because there are a number of rules that dictate how to pronounce a word, and it is required to use the back of the throat in order to pronounce the proper sound. One sound that takes consistent practice is the nasal ‘r’, found in many words (such as in ‘frère’ (brother)). The little accent over the ‘e’, called l’accent aigu: é, used only on the letter “E”, also drastically changes the way you pronounce a word. It is also necessary to learn l’accent grave (è)la cédille (ç), l’accent circonflexe (ê), and le tréma (ï). When speaking in French, in order for your conversation partner to really understand what you are saying, it is necessary to understand and learn how to work with proper French pronunciation. Otherwise students run the risk of knowing the word, but for people to not understanding what they are trying to say.
Thankfully, by using technology students can overcome the difficulties of the French language, both in the classroom and in the comfort of their own homes.
Here are 5 ways tech can helps students advance their French language skills.
Music is a fun way to keep your ear tuned in to the French language. Students can keep it as background music while they study or even print out lyrics, focus on the meaning and expand their vocabulary. So while commuting, walking around, or simply relaxing, one can easily make use of this time and turn it into a learning opportunity! Here is a list of French musicians to listen to.
These days, there is a plethora of videos available online that offer language learning opportunities just by the click of a button. Some people have dedicated YouTube channels to teach the French language in a structured course and offer helpful tips and advice. Students can also find a French native speaker whose channel is dedicated to something they are interested in, as well. For example, if interested in history, food or fashion, one can surf through the offerings until finding something that grabs one’s attention. After all, it’s a lot more fun to learn a language when the learning path includes actual topics of interest!
Educational websites, such as Babbel, offer students the opportunity to learn the French language online in a structured environment. This helps to ensure skills are consistently used and so that students can learn the language via the recommended learning path that has been successful for previous students.
Video or audio chat with native speakers
While learning French, it is crucial to speak with native speakers. Students can utilize video or audio chat via Skype (or other online tools) to practice their speaking skills, all within the comfort of their own home. This is especially helpful if students are in an area where there are not as many French speakers. It is important to speak with native French speakers in order to tune into the pronunciation, as well as to pick up on tone, expression, hand gestures, etc.
Social websites give students that chance to really use what they are learning. They can switch their social accounts to French, join some Facebook groups, follow blogs of interest, etc. However one chooses to interact on social websites, one can do so in French! Since it is important to practice the spoken and written form of French, interacting with others in a collaborative setting and will help to rapidly improve language skills.
There is a high success rate for learning the French language ensured by using tech aids, predominantly due to the flexibility and accessibility they offer students. Learning a language takes consistent practice and it is important that it be convenient for students to surround themselves with the language and absorb all the new information. With the use of technology, students can practice their language skills when and where they can.