How to learn French vocabulary
Tuyaux pour apprendre le vocabulaire
Part of Learning How to Learn French
Anne’s tips to learn vocabulary
Learning vocabulary is an on-going task. Enjoy the journey as well as the end result. Very quickly, you’ll find you have a ton of words and expressions in your list, and you won’t know how to work with so much to learn.
1. Review SHORT lists
break any long list down into small lists – by theme, by chronological order, or even randomly – and make sure you don’t have more than 20 items in each list
2. Review DAILY
give yourself one week to review one chosen list daily
3. Keep it PLAYFUL
make sure it’s fun for you. Keep in mind the process is enjoyable too, not just the end result
4. Make up different GAMES
make up games – blanks, shuffles, races (stopwatch), memory, scramble, crossword puzzles, matching…
5. Say the words and expressions ALOUD
always say the words aloud. Don’t just read them in your head
6. Always TEST yourself with or without a teacher
test yourself at the end. Even more efficient, ask your teacher to test you on your list
7. REVISIT your lists regularly
go back to any list on a regular basis. Most of us tend to forget words if we don’t “re-activate” them from time to time
About Nouns and Verbs
If you are reviewing a noun, make sure you learn the gender (le/la or un/une) with it.
If you are reviewing a verb, make sure you learn the preposition (à, de, avec…) with it.
How to review?
The best way for me has always been flashcards, either on paper or on the computer. I look at the French, say it out loud and check if the translation on the English translation on the other side or the other column is correct.
Get sturdy cardstock and cut out 3″ by 5″ (7 by 12 cm) rectangles. Choose a theme you want to study out of my lists. In this list, select no more than 20 words or expressions. Write down the French on one side and its English translation on the other side.
Another variation: On the other side, you can also write a sentence with the right context, or draw a picture if you are a better artist than I am.
In any case, say the word or expression ALOUD as you pick a card.
Don’t hesitate to bring them with you everywhere.
2.On the computer
Open a new document with 2 columns. Type up the French in one column and its English translation on the second column. On the second column, you can also write a sentence with the right context, or add a picture.
In any case, say the French word or expression ALOUD as you read.
Text or email the list to yourself, so you can read it anywhere on your phone or tablet.
3.With a software
See how to review with Quizlet – tests are endless and excellent
Go to Quizlet.com
Create your free account.
Go to Speller, type and listen
Go to Test and learn
Go to Scatter and play
3.GENIUS for Mac users
4. Any spreadsheet software such as MICROSOFT EXCEL
A week’s formula to review vocabulary over 5 days.
- day 1 – choose about 10 words or expressions. Write down the list, say the words out loud
- day 2 – look for the translation, make bilingual flashcards and play with them
- day 3 – put words into context by making up sentences
- day 4 – write a paragraph with as many words as you can from the list
- day 5 – repeat the sentences aloud at least 10 times to get the rhythm, the music of French in your mind
At the end
Ask your French teacher to test you and to create context exercises weekly for you.
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