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Is it possible to become near-fluent in French in a year? Watch

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    Hi,

    this question might sound silly but I'm doing French AS at the moment and would love to continue it to degree level. At the moment I have a pretty wide French vocabulary - far wider than the course requires - and a good grasp on the grammar but speaking the language really scares me which is obviously not ideal! It's mostly to do with confidence as my pronunciation is okay it's just if someone asks me something in French on the spot, I panic and it's like all the words go out of my head because I worry that they'll think I sound crap or something which I realise sounds extremely stupid.

    But, my mum speaks French at a Native level so if I practise daily with her, read A LOT in the language, talk to my french speaking cousin on msn regularly and just work REALLY hard, is it possible I could get to a really good level? I know fluency is a bit much to ask (although I was fluent until age of about 6/7 but I forgot) but could I get to a good level where I'm comfortable speaking it?

    I think I have an aptitude for languages and I'm very hard-working by nature but I wonder whether I should even bother aiming my sights this high.

    Any advice/sucess stories?
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    Didn't read the post, but I recommend Rosetta Stone.
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      The only way to overcome such "phobia" is to spend some weeks in France. You will gain much more confidence and language skills than just a French class in England.
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      I was going to say something along the lines of "no way", but considering you seem to have had a lot of practice, I think it would be possible. As a matter of fact, I can relate with the panicking thing and all.
      I suggest you go to France. Going to Ireland (and a few days in Liverpool) really boosted my confidence seeing people would actually understand me (and vice versa to some extent - freaking Irish accent) and some would even tell me my English was very good. It's really just a matter of confidence, you have to get out of your comfort zone and confront your language skills with natives. MSN and the like aren't good because you have time to think, type, correct etc and it's not spontaneous, prefer Skype if you can't speak face to face.
      Once this is done, you'll realise speaking in the foreign language is actually no harder than speaking in your native language. Just a bit more troublesome when you forgot how to say something.
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      I was in a similar position to you and I lived in France for a while, with a host family. I now speak fluent French, without any doubt. So yes, in your case.

      From a beginner level, no way. Even if you studied every day it wouldn't be enough time.

      I should do this for Spanish, 6 months in Spain for my degree though covers it.
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      From what I've heard, the only way to learn a language fluently is to actually speak it. I would have thought that being able to speak it with your mum would be good, but the best idea would be to speak to her primarily in french and only use english when french fails you. Realistically, though, if you put the effort in you can actually learn a language a lot faster than you would have thought, a lot of people can learn one in a year by speaking it.
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      Is it me or did someone just read this thread and negged everybody without reason?
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        (Original post by Xurvi)
        Is it me or did someone just read this thread and negged everybody without reason?
        No, it is not just you, probably a person that never tried to learn another language is feeling a bit bitter.
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        (Original post by Xurvi)
        Is it me or did someone just read this thread and negged everybody without reason?
        It's very unfair, most posts in this thread have been good, including yours (unfortunately I'm out of rep for today).

        OP: that sounds pretty manageable, if your mum speaks French. As others have said, if you're very determined, then try to get into the habit of just speaking in French with her. Good luck!
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        (Original post by Xurvi)
        Is it me or did someone just read this thread and negged everybody without reason?
        I gave a pos rep to balance it out!
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        Yeah, everybody's been negged. I'll report to the mods so they can remove the negs (hopefully) and do what's appropriate regarding the negger.
        edit: reported and they said they don't moderate unfair uses of rep and only abuses of the system :sigh:
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        It is possible for sure if you lived in France for a year and only spoke to French people. I know people who have become fluent in Arabic in a year by living in an Arab country.
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          (Original post by Xurvi)
          Yeah, everybody's been negged. I'll report to the mods so they can remove the negs (hopefully) and do what's appropriate regarding the negger.
          edit: reported and they said they don't moderate unfair uses of rep and only abuses of the system :sigh:
          Why you bother with such things like a forum reputation, they are meaningless,......
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          (Original post by cybergrad)
          Why you bother with such things like a forum reputation, they are meaningless,......
          Not so much the rep (especially since it held no power) than the fact some people spam it for the sake of it.
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          Tbh, you don't need to speak fluent French to do really well at A level. I'd say my French is at a good standard, but I'm definitely not fluent, and I got an A at AS and I'm apparently on course to get an A at A2. As for being fluent at degree level, you get to spend a year in France, so you should definitely be fluent by the end of that! Basically, don't worry if you don't manage to become fluent in the next year!
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          (Original post by Xurvi)
          I was going to say something along the lines of "no way", but considering you seem to have had a lot of practice, I think it would be possible. As a matter of fact, I can relate with the panicking thing and all.
          I suggest you go to France. Going to Ireland (and a few days in Liverpool) really boosted my confidence seeing people would actually understand me (and vice versa to some extent - freaking Irish accent) and some would even tell me my English was very good. It's really just a matter of confidence, you have to get out of your comfort zone and confront your language skills with natives. MSN and the like aren't good because you have time to think, type, correct etc and it's not spontaneous, prefer Skype if you can't speak face to face.
          Once this is done, you'll realise speaking in the foreign language is actually no harder than speaking in your native language. Just a bit more troublesome when you forgot how to say something.
          Thanks for the advice
          I might go to France this summer as we have friends who live in Paris, so that would be really good practice...I'm just a bit worried that I'll say something in French and no one will understand me! Out of interest, how long did it take you to learn English? - it's perfect by the way and actually better than a lot of native speakers!
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          (Original post by Spanishdream)
          I was in a similar position to you and I lived in France for a while, with a host family. I now speak fluent French, without any doubt. So yes, in your case.

          From a beginner level, no way. Even if you studied every day it wouldn't be enough time.

          I should do this for Spanish, 6 months in Spain for my degree though covers it.
          Wow, that's really good. How long did you live there? And how was your level of French before you went?
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          (Original post by purplesky)
          Thanks for the advice
          I might go to France this summer as we have friends who live in Paris, so that would be really good practice...I'm just a bit worried that I'll say something in French and no one will understand me! Out of interest, how long did it take you to learn English? - it's perfect by the way and actually better than a lot of native speakers!
          I started learning at school quite young obviously but I only really started improving (because I wanted to) about 7 or 8 years ago. All written on internet so despite speaking for years I was still a little anxious at how I'd fare in real life situations.

          To be absolutely frank, people won't understand you every time, but it's okay. Most often, that'll only be some word you don't pronounce quite like you should or something so you just have to spell it out and they'll get it. Otherwise they'll get most if not all, and even if they don't understand, they realise you're not a native and are still learning and, unless they're di**heads, they'll be patient and try to help you. Just take it easy and it'll go all right!
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          (Original post by Xurvi)
          I was going to say something along the lines of "no way", but considering you seem to have had a lot of practice, I think it would be possible. As a matter of fact, I can relate with the panicking thing and all.
          I suggest you go to France. Going to Ireland (and a few days in Liverpool) really boosted my confidence seeing people would actually understand me (and vice versa to some extent - freaking Irish accent) and some would even tell me my English was very good. It's really just a matter of confidence, you have to get out of your comfort zone and confront your language skills with natives. MSN and the like aren't good because you have time to think, type, correct etc and it's not spontaneous, prefer Skype if you can't speak face to face.
          Once this is done, you'll realise speaking in the foreign language is actually no harder than speaking in your native language. Just a bit more troublesome when you forgot how to say something.
          My German friend went to after school classes, well night classes last year,- two hours a week.
          She did it for eight months and became fluent in French.
          It can be done!
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          (Original post by super.teve)
          My German friend went to after school classes, well night classes last year,- two hours a week.
          She did it for eight months and became fluent in French.
          It can be done!
          To be honest I always take such success stories with a pinch of salt.

          I'm pretty sure if I was to talk with them I'd find many flaws and if I were to start talking about something specific like the current economic recession they wouldn't understand much at all.

          I'm not saying it's not possible to get a good conversational level within a year of regular practice provided you had a good level at the start like the OP seems to have, only that fluency to me is a quality given much too often to people who haven't quite achieved it. Especially with only two hours a week. I get 7 of Japanese a week and I'm extremely far from fluency in that language!
         
         
         
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