Now, that being said, you also need strategies. And some are better, even far better, than others. To some extent, easy tips = find the best strategies, if you will. ‘Easy’ here can however be very subjective though.
I am fully fluent in French. I started learning French in 2008 from scratch. That’s 5 years from now. If you look at the learning curve, the real learning time was about 3 years, i.e. by the end of the third year I also reach my current level – full fluency. To make it more tangible, many French would now take me as their compatriot, without exaggeration.
So how did I do that?
Hard tips + Easy tips = Amazing Results
Hard tips are covered. So here are easy tips.
1. Go for a Real Immersion.
Start a bit, know some key survival vocabularies and daily conversations. Then, pack your bag, book a ticket and land on a French village 20 km from Lyon, or Aix-en-Provence, or You-choose-your-village. Spend a month or two there, where no one even knows how to say ‘good morning’. Stay with a French family (you get to pay for that of course). I did 3 language immersions before I attended to my French graduate school. Your learning speed is simply jaw-dropping. You will be amazed how fast you progress. To give an example, I started from knowing only how to say ‘I’m hungry’ from the 1st day of home-stay, to talking about Nicolas Sarkozy and politics at the end of 30 days.
If I were to put a number, learning when you home stay in a French family for one month can easily be equivalent to 3-4 months of learning in your home country.
2. Virtual Immersion
Buying a ticket, staying in a lost village in Provence, leaving for a whole month can be a luxury for some people. An alternative will be to immerse yourself by creating a French world on your own. Watching French movies, listening to French songs, staying tuned at French radios, reading French books. This could mean some efforts, but it is worth it. Otherwise, you learn French for 4 hours a week, and in the rest of 164 hours of the week you speak, listen, and read English or whatever language you use. It is a no-brainer to predict that you don’t get much left in your brain, and you do not progress well.
Resource is everywhere, and you have access to virtually every piece of information with Google, not to mention thousands of others. But there is a clear distinction between information and knowledge.
Again it’s like building muscles. Nutritions and proteins are everywhere, but you need to do the lifting to put them together and internalize them.
I had the privilege to have met some really smart people, but I won’t call them genius. None of them was able to avoid the lifting part. And the best part is, when you look back, that’s the part you cherish the most.
So do both the hard and easy part, and most important, have fun !