Bonjour, dear admirers of French!
You have been enchanted my French pronunciation for a long time, and you would like to start speaking this incredibly beautiful language, but you don’t know how to start?
We would like this article to help you find your bearings and set learning goals.
First, you need to remember that learning implies acquiring four basic skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. In other words, if you would like to learn a language, you need to develop these skills.
Of course, we start with developing reading skills. You may already think that there is a trick here. For example, ‘Mister’ is spelled as Monsieur while ‘bird’ is ‘oiseau’. You are right - reading rules are absolutely vital here. They terrify many learners, but experience shows that it takes two weeks to learn how to read in French.
The French phonemes and their pronunciation can be learnt with the help of the following resources:
Reading is closely connected with writing. The French spelling has some peculiarities that should be memorized in practice, i. e. by practising writing sophisticated combinations of letters.
Now let us talk about listening. The key to understanding this skill lies in the concept of ‘connected speech’. For example, ‘Comment allez vous?’ (How are you?) sounds like «komantalevu?», i. e. one word. French tends to liaise, connect words phonetically. It is this characteristic and intonation that make French so melodious. At the same time it prevents learners of French, especially beginners, from understanding some words in connected speech. The French speak fast, so it is important for beginners to select listening materials carefully: we will need a slow speech and distinct pronunciation of all the sounds.
Please do not start with difficult dialogues! But you could benefit more from songs. Listen, for example, to Pink Martini Où est ma tête? or Zaz Je veux and read the lyrics at the same time.
Speaking is the last stage, it is the result of the previous work. Your success is determined by an interesting selection of topics. Luckily, nowadays it is quite easy to find exciting topics for conversation: shops and the internet have a lot of colourful and interesting textbooks that are comfortable to work with. For example, Taxi, Alter Ego Plus, Vite et Bien. Renting a flat, family relationships, looking for a job, gender relationships are interesting to talk about, and the vocabulary and structures on these topics can help in actual everyday situations.
A lot of internet resources offer free online lessons, for example: http://www.ortholud.com/index.html
You can talk to your French teacher about this quite simple sequence of actions that might be useful in the beginning. Or you can do everything yourself if you are self-disciplined. I hope now you are not afraid to start?