Daily French practice is a must, as it is only by practicing and using your French that you will be able to retain what you've learned and, eventually, develop fluency. Aside from the obvious ways to practice, like speaking up in class and reading books, there are a number of ways you can incorporate French into your daily life.
The basic premise behind this article is to use French whenever and wherever you can. Some of these ideas might sound silly, but the point is just to show you how you can easily introduce French into everyday situations. Thinking about French every day will help you learn how to think in French, which is a key element of fluency
Frenchify your home and office
Surround yourself with French: make French labels for your furniture, appliances, and walls; buy or create French posters
; and use a French calendar
Make French the first thing you see when you connect to the internet. Set something French as your internet browser's home page (such as my site
or the Mot du jour page
), or display the headlines from my front page on your home page - learn how
Practice your French
If you know other people who speak French, practice with them whenever you can. Don't let speaking anxiety
hold you back. For example, you and your roommate can declare Mondays and Fridays "French day" and communicate only in French all day. When you go out to a restaurant with your spouse, pretend you're in Paris and speak French to each other. (You should, however, speak to waiters and cab drivers in English to avoid problems. :-)
Need to make a list? Do it in French - you can write your shopping lists and to-do lists in French. If the other people you live with speak French, write notes to them in French as well.
Shopping in French
When you go shopping, practice French with yourself - count out your four apples or six cans of tuna fish in French, look at prices and imagine how to say them in French, etc.
Think in French while performing routine actions. When walking to the refrigerator, think J'ai soif
or Qu'est-ce que je vais manger ?
Consider the conjugations of se brosser
while brushing your teeth and hair. State the French name of each item of clothing as you put it on or take it off.
Keep a notebook handy so that you can write down new words and keep track of ones you need to look up. This can also be part of a French journal
or language scrapbook
If you use Windows and Internet Explorer, you can set your computer to display menus and dialogs in French
Print out free mots fléchés
and see how well you do.
More daily French ideas: Readers' Suggestions