How to Improve Your French…When you already speak it (Part 1)

jeparlefrA mistake that many students make is that once they reach a certain ‘advanced’ stage in their language learning, they stop trying to learn the language. Once you have lived in France, have French friends and maybe even enjoy the occasional magazine in French you might start to think you no longer have to keep studying.

Or you might know that you need to keep studying, but it becomes increasingly difficult to find resources that really challenge you and are of any use to you.

Camille at ‘French Today‘ says advanced students are able to communicate effectively in French, but often still struggle to understand French movies or be subtle or witty in French. She also describes it as the ‘hardest level to make any progress on.’  I can definitely put myself in this category, sometimes it’s easy for me to rest on my laurel’s because I can confidently say ‘I speak French’ it’s easy to stay in my comfort zone and not push myself.

So I have made it my mission in recent years, to find resources (hopefully for free) that will actually be useful to an ‘advanced’ French learner. You may already speak French – but that doesn’t mean you can stop studying.

Here are some tips for learning French – when you already speak it (I’ll focus on free resources for this part, then focus on the resources you need to pay for in part 2)

Log onto is based on the idea of ‘using the internet, to get people off the internet’. It’s a fantastic website that is free to join and you can search for special interest groups in your area. French clubs seems to be popular and they often hold free conversation classes at a cafe or bar, some offer workshops (often for a smaller fee than your commercial language schools) and other French events.

I found ‘Calling all Melbourne Francophiles’ in my area and have found it a great way to practice my French with native speakers who are studying/working in Melbourne as well as other Australians who love French as much as I do 🙂

A downside can be that if you live in a country area, there might not be that many meetups for you to join. What you can do in that case, is start your own! It does cost a fee, but in my humble opinion it’s very reasonable (about $12 a month) and you can have up to three meetup groups.

Subscribe to this blog: ‘France Bienvenue’ 

A fellow word press blog ‘France Bienvenue’ is one of my favourite resources for advanced French learning.

It’s a free blog of authentic French conversations and it comes with a transcript, plus explanations for some of the vocab in the transcript (and the explanations are in French). I can definitely tell you these conversations are just how French people speak, uses modern pronunciation and slang and the blog has a variety of interesting topics.

Use this Great Vocabulary List 

As an advanced student, you still need to be improving your vocabulary. If you’re an advanced student you probably have a decent amount of vocabulary for a variety of situations, but at this stage you need to learn more specific and detailed words. You probably know the French word for window and curtain, but do you know the words for blinds, shutters and curtain rod? (For the record that would be les volets, les stores and la tringle).

My favourite free resource is the french tutorials on ‘ie languages’.com, I still find myself going over them because I forget certain words like ‘le clic-clac’ (futon) but the word for couch (le canape) is forever entrenched in my memory.

I guess I just use one word a lot more often than the other, but I feel when it comes to vocab if I know the word in English, I need to know it in French! 🙂

Coming Soon: Part 2 (I wrote too much for this post, so I’m splitting it into two parts)



3 thoughts on “How to Improve Your French…When you already speak it (Part 1)

    • Thank you! I do feel advanced level can be the hardest level to make progress on. Most Internet resources are too easy, language classes are too easy and French people stop correcting you because they feel you already speak it well. But then u can feel particularly frustrated if u watch a French movie and can’t understand everything because you feel you already ‘speak French’ , at least that’s been my experience 🙂

  1. Pingback: How to Learn French…When You Already Speak It (Part 2) | Oh Sacré Bleu !

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