Rapid Language Learning
Today I came across an interesting article entitled Rapid Language Learning, in which Konstantin Ryabitsev from Russia gives details of how he managed to learning enough French to pass TEF (Test d’Evaluation de Français). At the time he wrote the piece (2004), he was in the process of immigrating to Canada, where they favour applicants with knowledge of both English and French. He already spoke English, so decided to learn French as well, as he was planning to move to Montreal, where he now lives.
At first he tried to learn to read French using a French translation of Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, but soon found that too difficult because he wasn’t familiar with French grammar. So he got hold of a copy of Schaum’s Outline of French Grammar and after about four months of working his way through that, he was able to read the Harry Potter book, then managed to tackled Le Comte de Monte-Cristo.
After that, he started working on his understanding, speaking and writing skills, using flash cards and associations to learn vocabulary and practising listening and speaking while walking to and from work. He also watched TV programmes that had been dubbed into French, French TV programmes and films, and also tried listening to audiobooks, but didn’t find that very helpful.
You can find out more about his methods in the article. I find such stories interesting. The methods he used wouldn’t necessarily work as well for other people, but he does have some good suggestions.