Just starting to learn French? So, how soon could you begin reading real French texts online?
The question of how soon one can master the basics of a language gets hotly debated in many of the polyglot forums and language learning sites.
Duolingo gives a pretty precise answer. When you've reached around the middle of its French course, you'll get a message saying something like this: "You are now able to read and translate 53% of French articles on the Internet."
And you'll see the call to action: "Start translating." That means with around 800 French words which can be learned in 4 months or so, you can start reading, understanding, and even translating online articles.
(I noticed that for me with GamesforLanguage Spanish, it was 750 words and also took me 4 months.)
I hasten to add that it is crucial to learn a language in context. Learning lists of individual words does not prepare you to communicate beyond one-word or two-word sentences, or with English sentences that are clothed in French words.
To truly communicate in French, you have to get an intuitive feel of how the language works, understand when to use formal or informal expressions, and be aware that the meaning of words can change in various contexts.
The early milestones of mastery are important but they are just a beginning. Once you've gotten the basics in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, you then own the tools to build your skills.
If you regularly read online articles in French and participate in French online conversations, your level of mastery will increase dramatically.
Here are 15 basic social media terms to get you started:
partager - to share
suivre - to follow; suivez-nous - follow us
j'aime - I like (Facebook)
commenter - to comment
continuer la lecture - continue reading
envoyer - to send
rechercher sur - search on
fermer - to close
s'inscrire - to register, subscribe; vous désinscrire - to unsubscribe
mis à jour - updated, disclosed (on)
poster quelque chose - to post something
répondre - to reply
se connecter - to connect (oneself)
créer un nouveau compte - to create a new account
réseau social - social network; réseautage social - social networking
Learning a language has never been easier than now. The internet provides a wealth of resources and information for anyone with a little time and dedication.
But it's more than information to be consumed. On the internet, you can participate, write comments, exchange information with those who have similar interests, you can learn and help others to learn.
Go to Facebook and find pages in French. You can look for pages around interests that you have, follow trends, learn new words and phrases, and discuss language issues.
If you're particularly interested in French language questions, here's a great Forum in which to participate:
We're always happy to see you on our GamesforLanguage Facebook page. We follow some of the polyglot personalities on their language adventures, post blogs and articles on language learning in general, and tricks and hacks on learning the four languages that we teach: French, Spanish, Italian, and German. And, we always welcome comments in French. Bonne année et j'espère à bientôt!