Use your past experience to learn French

We use our own experience to learn.

No matter how old you are, if you’ve decided to start learning French, it means you’re perfectly able to determine what works and doesn’t for yourself and your experience helps you face any situations of life daily.  

Learning a language implies tackling a wide variety of situations which depend on many different aspects: psychology, communication, adaptability, emotional intelligence, observation, ability to summarise… Same as anything else.

We generally bear within everything we need to learn in the best conditions and this is one of American researcher Malcolm Knowles’ principles: we generally use our own experience to learn. 

Culture can help you understand

You’re learning French as an adult, have never heard this language before and don’t know anything about it. Does this really mean your past experience can’t be of any help? Not so sure! You may already have everything to learn French you need without actually knowing it. 

On a cultural aspect: you have probably seen French movies or series, visited exhibitions of French artists, read books written by French authors, listened to French music or traveled to a French-speaking country.

Aren’t these past experiences related to culture ? There, you’ll find hundreds of relevant elements that can help you understand better.

Learning the culture related to a language is as important as learning words and grammar structures.  In fact, it’s crucial because knowing the culture will be key to learn how to understand a language without translating it. (Download my e-book on this topic here)

French acquaintances can help you learn pronunciation

You may also have met native French speakers who were able to speak your language. When you start tackling French pronunciation, try to figure out whether some of its aspects remind you of certain pronunciation characteristics of your French friends when they speak your language? 

A deeper knowledge of your own language may also help you learn French.

For example, you may have read books about the origins of your own language and discovered that it has words from other languages. If French is one of them, it’ll certainly help you build yourself a basic set of familiar words.

Furthermore, thinking about how your language works and how its vocabulary is built has certainly provided you with a borader overview of how languages work in general. 

Your past experiences have trained your motivation 

Your own experience can also be extremely helpful as far as motivation is concerned. I am sure that you have already completed long-term projects that required full-time dedication over long periods.

What were the triggers of your motivation back then? Could some of these triggers be used for learning French? What inner resources helped you walk the way until the end

These are just a few examples of how your past experience can help you. Actually, the possibilities are infinite. As long as you think out of a purely linguistic box, anything can help you learn French. 

Build your own experience

What’s the best way to learn French? Your own way!

How to start learning French ? Well, this requires thorough thinking beforehand. You’ll ask yourself many questions, but not all of them can be answered straight away.  Accept that you can’t know everything from day one and answer them along the way. 

However, as for everything in life, you’re likely to come across people who’ll guarantee that they have the best way to learn French.

Although you’ll probably find a lot of interesting elements in what they have to offer, it’s very unlikely  that one single approach can solve all of your problems. 

Therefore, you should trust yourself. You’re already well-equipped for learning French. You’re rich from your past experience, your educational, university or even maybe professional background. Therefore, you’re in a perfect position to determine what’s good or not for you.

Asking an expert isn’t excluded, but if you do, try to choose someone who’ll help you explore your own strength and environment instead of blindly following those who’ll hand out inappropriate ready-made solutions. 

What’s the best way to learn French? Your own way! 

Learning a language is a time-consuming process. You may have already asked yourself what’s the best way to learn French. We’ve got the answer for this: the best strategy to learn French is the one you’ll build along your learning journey.

Feel free to explore different approaches and learning techniques. Build yourself a toolbox which you’ll be able to use in various contexts. 

Regularly take stock of what you’ve been doing and assess the actions that worked and those that didn’t by confronting them to the results you were expecting.

For sure, some of them will prove beneficial while others won’t. We’re all different, we all have our own strengths and difficulties and we have to deal with our own cards to get the best results: go out, explore, try, criticise… you’re the boss here. But whatever happens, focus on your own goals.

I’m curious! What are your favourite aspects of French culture? Tell me everything about it in the comments! 

If you want to discover French culture, I create videos on my YouTube channel about life in France. Visit cities and amazing places with me ! Join me on YouTube and discover the wonders of French culture!

Expatlang's YouTube channel