Learn French in Just One Year

Would you like to speak French really well?

In this article, I’m going to share the secrets to mastering the French language in just 12 months.

Immersive language experience

By completely immersing yourself in French culture, you can quickly reach a near-native speaker level. This article will give you advice on how to excel in language learning. Whether you’re learning from home or in a foreign country, it’s possible to meet the challenge in as little as one year.

After reading my 17 tips, I’m sure you’ll feel confident enough to put your plan into action.

17 tips to learn French in one year

As an English speaker, whether you’re learning for pleasure, expatriation or additional skills for your career, being bi- or multilingual will always improve your future prospects.

Ready to get started? Grab a notebook, pencil and eraser! Take a look at these tops tips and jot down some ideas.

1. Immersion in France

What is the best way to learn French? Live in France!

If this opportunity is available, go for it! Even if you only speak a few words of the language, it really is the best way to progress quickly. Of course, it won’t be enough to totally master the language. You will also need to work hard. But by adopting some of the strategies in this article, you’ll be well on the way to speaking and writing like a native speaker.

Learning French in France is the best way to get to know the language’s cultural and linguistic roots. The cities of Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux will offer you some of the best opportunities.

2. Immersion at home

If you don’t have the opportunity to go abroad, it’s possible to have an immersive language experience in your own country.

Joining a web platform to communicate live with native teachers is an effective method. To do so, you should set aside a budget, and organize a schedule that you can stick to. For example, you could have a 45-minute online lesson each day in the comfort of your own home.

Meet up with a group of native speakers near you

Finding places where people only speak your target language can be really useful. For example, if a local sports club organizes activities in French, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Learning a few basics of the language before joining the club will make it easier to fit in. You can effortlessly memorize dozens of French expressions by listening to other people talking.

3. Use an app to learn French

In the same way as online courses with native teachers, applications can help you to improve on a daily basis.

The best apps offer study programs of 30 to 40 minutes per day, and include vocabulary, grammar and oral exercises. Whether you’re at home, preferably on a desktop computer, or on the move using your smartphone, you can develop your skills every day.

Babbel.com is one of the best apps available on the market. It is renowned for its effective learning methods, enabling you to develop your vocabulary and improve your grammar. In addition, each level includes videos of people talking together and a review of the topics covered.

4. Watch movies and series in French

To immerse yourself in French, choose French TV channels! It’s true that for the first few weeks you’ll have trouble understanding anything, but over time, and without even realizing it, you’ll quickly understand what’s being said.

When you start watching films and series in French, you should put the subtitles in French too. This will help you become familiar with vocabulary and common expressions during the first few weeks. However, it’s important not to get too used to it! The idea is to get into the context, but you need to switch off the subtitles at some point.

5. Listen to the radio in French

If you enjoy listening to the radio, do it in the language you want to learn! This method is even more effective than television. Learning by listening allows you to familiarize yourself with common expressions.

You’ll progress at lightning speed if you listen to your favorite French radio station every day.

I recommend installing the TuneIn App on your mobile. A small fee gives you access to a wide range of stations from around the world.

6. Read books in the language

Do you enjoy reading? If so, FANTASTIC! Reading books in French will help you make real progress. You’ll gain in fluency, as well as developing your vocabulary and grammar skills. Choosing books that suit your personal interests will make the experience more enjoyable.

Tips to be immersed in reading:

  • Choose books you’ve already read in your native language.
  • It’s a good idea to begin with books for young readers, as the text is easy to understand.
  • Don’t look up the definition of every word you don’t understand. Only write down new words that come up often in the text!
  • Reread passages several times if you find it useful to do so.
  • Accept that you won’t understand everything, and concentrate on getting the gist of the story.
  • Choose printed books rather than e-books! It helps you memorize content better.

7. Speak the language as soon as possible

There’s no age limit to learning a new language! It’s quite possible to learn a new language at 40, 50 or 60. However the sooner you start, the better.

If you’re a student, you can most probably devote a lot of time to studying a foreign language. You might even be lucky enough to have parents willing to help you study abroad.

But whatever your age, it’s the discipline, perseverance and willpower to start reading, writing and speaking in a new language that makes all the difference.

8. Develop tolerance and imperfection

The difficulty with learning a new language is that it’s impossible to understand everything all at once. It takes time to make progress, you shouldn’t put yourself under pressure.

People who do their utmost to excel often become discouraged after only a few weeks of study. Can you identify with that? If so, don’t lose heart! Being a bit more patient with yourself will bring a better approach to your learning experience.

It’s important to remember that learning a language has its ups and downs, and it’s important to take a short break when you’re feeling tired. This will help you achieve your goals in the long term.

9. Speak with confidence

Studying, reading and writing in French are important elements in learning the language. But the most important thing is to be able to speak like a native. The following tips will help you develop this skill:

  • Read a press article (paper or online) out loud every day
    Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to pronounce certain words, you’ll pick it up over time.
  • Seize every opportunity to ask native speakers questions
    Even asking basic questions will help you immerse yourself in the language by listening to the other person’s reply.
  • Take advantage of any contact with native speakers
    When a native speaker needs you to explain something, he or she will ask you questions, and you can put what you’ve learned into practice.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the country where your target language is the national language, it will be a serious advantage. However, you won’t progress if you don’t make an effort to communicate with others.

10. Web platforms

The platform HelloTalk allows you to practice whenever you want. With over 30 languages to choose from, the app connects you to native speakers from all over the world, and it’s really good value for money.

11. Get out of your comfort zone

Learning a foreign language involves difficult periods. Whether it’s making yourself understood or expressing yourself, there will be times when you feel alone in the world. But don’t worry about it! If you tell yourself it’s a great experience that will ultimately enable you to master the French language, then it’s worth it.

12. Practice daily to improve

Perseverance is really important if you want to speak a foreign language well. By studying and practicing every day, you’ll have a good command of the language in just one year.

Regularly reviewing the vocabulary and grammar rules is a good way to improve your level. It’s also important to read books, and watch foreign language films and series on a daily basis. When you add writing and speaking, it makes all the difference. Look for every possibility to communicate with other people! There are plenty of opportunities with e-mail or social networks.

13. Join groups

By joining local activity groups where your target language is spoken, you’ll repeatedly listen to people speaking aloud and so effortlessly memorize many expressions. You benefit from an immersive language experience. Don’t join a group of students who are learning a new language! You won’t make much progress listening to students making mistakes.

14. Keep a diary in French

Taking notes in a diary is a great way to express yourself. It’s beneficial to put down in writing your personal experiences, projects, and things that are important to you.

And if you write in French, you can develop your skills too. Using a pencil instead of a pen will enable you to make corrections if necessary. To make real progress with your diary, it’s well worth having your texts corrected by a tutor. He or she should mark the mistakes so that you can then correct them. You’ll gradually make fewer and fewer mistakes thanks to your tutor’s explanations.

15. Get help from a coach

Regular sessions with a language coach can really help you progress. To limit costs and organize your schedule, two hours of coaching a week is enough.

During your sessions, don’t hesitate to ask any unanswered questions you may have. Although you can find plenty of online coaching options, it’s better to meet face-to-face.

16. Study 10 minutes of French before going to bed

By studying French just 10 minutes before going to sleep, you’ll get your mind used to your new language. You’ll be amazed at what goes on when you’re asleep. Short periods of study or reading just before you fall asleep will help you to dream in your new language. So little by little, you will begin to think in your new language.

17. Think like a native speaker

After just two or three months of learning, you’ll begin to think in your target language. And this is when you’ll really start making significant progress. By deciding to switch your thinking from English to French, you will actually reason like a native speaker.


If you follow these tips, you’ll soon master the language like a native speaker. By dedicating two hours a day, the language learning challenge is within everyone’s reach. Of course, few people can boast about learning a foreign language in just one year, but you’d be amazed at what can be achieved if you do what it takes.

What is the golden rule for success? Once you’ve established your plan of action, it must take priority over everything else.

Last Updated on January 19, 2024


  • Vanessa Kingwell

    I am a native English translator and copywriter from London, and based in the Basque Country since 2005. I specialise in marketing, tourism, the hospitality industry, luxury and leather goods, linguistics, architecture and real estate.

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