How I Picked up my French –Story from a fellow deer learner
Have you learned some French in high school but gradually lost the language? Do you wish to take your French skills to the next level? Read this story from deer learner Jane who used LingoDeer to pick up French skills several years after graduating. It may not be as hard as you thought!
When I was 15, my French teacher told me that the most essential aspect of learning French is to practice intonation and master the various verb tenses. To do so, he said that one must immerse themselves in French and listen to as much French as possible. So I immersed myself into French movies, soon becoming absorbed in romantic comedies such as Amélie and “La Délicatesse.”
However, as I grew older, I didn’t have the time to dedicate to language study the way I did when I was younger. In reality, I gradually forgot what I’d learned in school as I didn’t really have the time and motivation to relearn a language. Not surprisingly, I found myself stuttering in speaking, I forgot the gender of certain nouns and verbs, and I found it difficult to compose sentences with complicated grammar, such as imparfait. Over the years, I eventually formed a love-hate connection with French – I was fascinated by the “euphony” of French tonality and how chauvinistic it sounded when words were strung together, exactly like a symphony, but I was also terrified by its grammar principles.
In recent years, I have turned to language learning apps for help. I didn’t really begin with the intention of bringing my French level forward by a far margin. Instead, I used it to cement my French grammar foundation, which I discovered to be significantly weak, as well as to ensure that I didn’t lose all of the French I had studied when I was younger.
Among the many popular apps out there, I eventually chose LingoDeer because of its well-designed courses with a strong emphasis on teaching grammar. Without having high expectations, I decided to give it a try, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by some of the features in LingoDeer’s courses. Of course, there were also some that I didn’t enjoy as much (I’ll get to that later), but for those of you learning French, let me share with you why I highly recommend adults to learn French with LingoDeer.
Why you should Learn French with LingoDeer
Reason 1: You don’t need to start all the way from the beginning
You can skip lessons on LingoDeer by completing the TestOuts at the end of every few lessons. LingoDeer expects you to obtain near-perfect results, otherwise, you will be advised to review the lessons again. This is wonderful because, while we have complete choice over what we want to study and where we want to learn as language app users, LingoDeer nevertheless acts as a teacher by keeping us on track with our language learning and ensuring that we don’t rush through the courses and end up learning nothing.
Reason 2: Two types of French courses, depending on your needs
While most language learning apps only have one course for each language, LingoDeer has 2 types of French courses. According to their website, French Normal provides learners with a holistic grasp of the language with a heavy emphasis on essential grammar, while French Accelerated is more practical and includes colloquialisms you may encounter in daily life.
For someone like me who is looking to solidify their base in grammar, and is not in a rush to learn colloquial French, French Normal is the best choice, but if you’re looking to be able to speak french as fast as possible, do go for the accelerated for it equips you with a wide variety of french phrases needed for daily conversations. It will be even better if you can use both of these two courses to supplement your learning.
Reason 3: LingoDeer makes sure you learn your gender
Grammar is typically the most tedious aspect of learning a language since we have to learn rules that are vastly different from those in our native languages. What I found was that, with LingoDeer exercises, French grammar was made a little less intimidating.
For example, French conjugates its verbs in many different tenses. Some of the French tenses are quite similar, though, and we have to be careful not to mix them up. In French, all nouns are either masculine or feminine (e.g. le journal, la idée). They are generally used with their articles, and the plural is usually constructed by adding an “s”. These are the grammar principles I often mess up.
However, as I was using LingoDeer, I found myself being increasingly more aware of the rules both consciously and subconsciously. As you can see in the images below, Lingodeer develops your sense of French grammar rules by incorporating them into various activities.
Reason 4: Travel Phrasebook guides your French-speaking
Despite the fact that Lingodeer doesn’t offer ways for you to practice speaking with a native speaker, LingoDeer has a travel phrasebook filled with pre-recorded phrases for a variety of scenarios. You know those cheat sheets you made for oral exams? They are just like those but much better because it comes with a voice file recorded by native speakers with great quality. This is also applied in their main courses and other features throughout the app. So no more awkward bot recordings!
I had so much fun with the travel phrasebook, browsing through the many different phrases I might use in different scenarios, and repeating after the voice audio. If you stick to learning two to three phrases a day, you’ll gradually realize how far you’ve progressed and that they might come in handy one day!
Reason 5: French tips to boost your learning
In addition to all the activities, LingoDeer comes with easy to understand language tips that help you boost your language learning. Having this feature is like having a teacher personally transmit key information and knowledge. I usually jot down notes from the tips section into my notebook so I can create my little cheat sheet to help me learn more effectively. As you can see from the image below, in the explanation about the gender of French nouns, LingoDeer equips you with theoretical knowledge before you put them into practical use in the series of games and activities.
So despite LingoDeer being a generally great app for many, is it for you?
LingoDeer has given me a wide range of tasks to help me improve my reading and writing skills as a French learner. But speaking, not ideally. Although I can practice dialogues with AI in a chatbox, it’s still quite different from actually talking to a human being. In fact, I’ve memorized all of the phrases in the Travel Phrasebook and can recite one or two sentences if necessary. If I had to have a one-on-one conversation with a native speaker, I wouldn’t have any trouble getting my message across, but I would likely lack the ability to speak with movement. Thus, if you’re aiming to be fluent in spoken French, LingoDeer can be used in conjunction with other tools that can pair you with native speakers to help you become fluent in spoken French.
The other thing to take note of is that LingoDeer presents its courses in a series of activities and games, but these activities and games aren’t exactly those you can play for fun whenever you need a break from work. In fact, they require a lot of attention and focus, as they are essentially quite challenging. You have to pay attention to the wording of the sentences, and make sure to not miss out on any of the accents, or else you’ll be advised to relearn it. This essentially is the spirit of learning language: repeated practice strengthens language skills. At times, I find the app quite tedious, however, the sense of accomplishment I feel wherever I complete a lesson is extremely big, and every time I look back at my progress, I am reminded of why I decided to study French in the first place.
My tips for using LingoDeer to learn French
LingoDeer is an extremely good app for French learners, one of the reasons being it has two courses for French users; French Normal and French Accelerated. I recommend everyone play around with both to decide which one suits you the best.
As you progress through the exercises, pay attention to certain grammar principles of the phrases you come across, such as plural, gender, tense, and even the accents in vocabulary. Once you learn how to do that, you’ll be able to progress very quickly through the lessons, and learn efficiently.
LingoDeer records your newly learned words, but it’s best if you can also prepare a notebook to have with you whenever you’re learning, so you can jot down information that requires more attention.
Lastly, remember to recite the words out loud. French has a lot of different pronunciations from English, so it’s important to take note of silent words and the French “R”, which is quite difficult to pronounce especially for non-native speakers. With LingoDeer, you can first listen to the right pronunciation provided by native speakers, and then record yourself speaking and compare. Thus, it’s a great tool to hone your listening and pronunciation.
To sum up, LingoDeer is a great app for French learning, one that doesn’t disappoint. Do check out the free courses on LingoDeer first and see whether it works for you!