My Language Learning Program -- French in 6 months (advice wanted!)

As of a few days ago, I decided to learn French on my own. I just finished my university degree and during my 4 years I took 3 years of Spanish courses and 2 years of German. I found that the pace and program of these classes weren’t motivating me to self-study at home. I would go to class, memorize a few points, review those points before a test and score between 60-90% on these tests depending how motivated I was. However now that I’m done university, I want seriously learn a new language. My goal is to learn a not too difficult language, find which methods work best for me, prove to myself that I can stay motivated and persistent to learn a new skill, and transfer this to learning new skills (Advanced Mathematics) or touching up on other languages (Spanish & German) and skills (Writing Music, Photography). So, I believe learning French would be the best choice for my goal.

Other than wanting to learn French for many years now (since I was 17 and hoping to study in Montreal), there are many other reasons why I would like to learn French, but enough background. I am looking for some advice regarding my self-study French program I developed for myself. This is a 6 (or 7) month program. The goal is to become confident enough to have natural conversations with advanced leveled and/or native speakers and possible employers looking for bilingual applicants. My ultimate goal would to be able to teach French at a local tutoring school in my city. So here’s my program. [Take note, I took a novice course in French last year and I learned French in my primary school although I forgot everything I learned from back then. Also, since I know Spanish quite well, I am beginning French at almost an intermediate level (grammar-wise, not vocab-wise)].

[Pre-6 months - April]

Listen to French podcasts (beginner level - native speaker), music and watch French movies with English subtitles to familiarize myself with the sounds of the language. [Daily, at least one podcast a day, listen to radio daily, youtube, watch movie about weekly).

Read short dialogues with sound clips (beginner and intermediate) www, is wonderful for this. 1-2 hours for intermediate dialogues per day, 15-30 mins on beginner dialogues per day.)

I am using to add new vocabulary from these texts so I have a bank of words that I can memorize and test myself on daily (similar to Anki but better I think). I also use Duolingo for about 30 mins a day when I am commuting.

Practice spoken french (usually read the dialogues out loud to myself on the train or bus.) There’s a helpful video for each dialogue in which the podcastfrancaisfacile teacher speaks for one person and I respond with the other person’s dialogue.

If I have time I usually watch a youtube video on French grammar. I am planning to buy or download a grammar book soon to add to my daily exercises. Overall, this is around 3-5 hours daily of learning.


I will most likely continue my April program for May and June, as so far I am finding it effective. But this is also when I will shed my self-studying cocoon and engage with other language learners to practice my spoken french in conversation.

So far I am planning to look for language partners on italkie and lingq. I want to have a few people to practice with online. Realistically speaking, I would say I will probably speak with someone online 2 times a week. As time goes on, perhaps I can make that 3-4 times.

I have already RVSP’d to french exchange meetups in my city for May and June.

I suppose I could get some lessons during this time to work on my pronunciation and whatever else is needed too.


I assume I would have a mixture of self-study and conversation practice here. Nothing else planned other than perhaps an increase in going to meetups and skyping? Here’s where I need advice. In the later months of my learning, what else do you think I should do? Also, how does my program look to you? Should I move from dialogues to short texts or perhaps simple books in the later months? Should I move onto more advanced grammar, or get enough for conversation? Any advice would be welcomed!

If you read this all, merci beaucoup! (:

I’d say by the end of October, you’ll be bilingual for sure and should be able to start teaching French by no later than next year, especially since you’re beginning at almost an intermediate level now. French is easy.

De rien!

Merci pour votre soutien!

Practice spoken french (usually read the dialogues out loud to myself on the train or bus.)!? Isn’t the wrong place for this activity?

Otherwise, your program’s the solid one.

I read all of this, and it’s perfect plan, try to read articles in French then write it, I mean look to the sentence then look to the notebook and write, do thisfor 300 words daily and record your progress in checklist or agenda


Bonjour ! You seem really motivated and wanting to be an independent learner is the best way to succeed.

Ha ha you may be right about that. I practice at home in my room as well though. Thank you for the support!

Great idea! Merci!

Hey sorry I’m a little late to the party! But I think your program looks decent; however, I do think you need a little more of a focus on reading things like novels. You’ll definitely find that reading will increase your vocabulary much more efficiently than listening. But otherwise your program looks great! I personally believe that motivation is the most important aspect of learning a language, and it sounds like you have a great motivation to learn the language if you can keep up that studying for 3-5 hours a day! That’s awesome! Good luck, you’ll be fluent in no time.

I would like to start off by saying good luck and professing my admiration for your endeavor. I am sure your french will be multitudes better than it’s current state by 6 months.

keep records but dont dwell on them. This will keep you honest about what you are actually doing to improve. Be sure to include high points and your personal “fuck yeah” moments regardless of how insignificant. They will almost always feel small but if you maintain perspective they will be more than enough to get you going during the hard times.

The flawed plan that you follow is 1000x better than the perfect one that you dont.

Get a taste and feel for the language. If your single try chatting up every french speaker you can . If not find a bakery or resturant you like. Learn the name of everyone that works there and make an effort to come during the lulls outside the rush. Get a job, find a hobby etc.

Vocabulary is great but if not practiced you will fail to recall it under time and pressure constraints. Speak as soon as it no longer destroys your optimism(usually after you start speaking).

Imagine 3 boxers. One that only watches tv and understands almost everything thats going on, one that throws perfect punches in the mirror and on the bag but has never fought and another who has only a rough idea of good form but is 20 fights in. I know where i would bet my money. That been said one with better knowledge, preperation and 3 fights can often beat a 20-0.


Thanks for your reply! I believe you’re right about the reading. I bought a few grade school books and I’m starting to dip my toes in newspaper articles. So far so good with my program! I’ll be sure to update everyone about it in a few weeks.

I like your analogy! I have short-term goals in mind which I think are very important for keeping my morale high. I’ll give an update soon about these short-term goals. Merci (:

Sounds great, good luck with your French adventure! I’m coming to the end of my 16th month of independently learning French, so I can empathise with your excitement for starting a new learning project!

I’d also say move on to authentic long texts a quickly as you can - preferably full length books. With English, reading French is easy, and you’ll hoover up a massive vocabulary very quickly. You’ll also find this rewarding, whilst your others skills are lagging behind on the intermediate plateau :wink: Good luck!


Thanks for your comment. I’m transitioning from children’s books to newspaper articles at the moment. From there I will move onto longer length books. I found a french version of the chronicles of narnia at a local used book shop. Might pick that up.

Excellent! I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books, currently on the fourth one. I’ve been importing them into LingQ.


Hi Sphaisell

I have been learning French for about 3 months, and even though I know about 2000 words, I still feel length texts books are overwhelming!

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I am currently doing a similar routine with my Spanish and do plan to learn french after perhaps 6 months of learning Spanish.

To learn an “easy” language, pretty much everything you try will work. If you really want to find out what works best for you, try a “hard” language.

I know 5000 - 6000 german words and I agree with you Mat.

Bon courage et bon apprentissage. A bientôt pour parler en français !