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What is the best way to regain fluency in French?

I studied French in school. I feel that I have lost the familiarity now. What is the best way to regain the fluency?
Yves GrangerYves Granger, Nice French --up to a point...
10 upvotes by Quora User, Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Marc Bodnick, (more)
I'm with Quora User here, and...
  1. read in French (cartoons if you like that), listen to French-speaking singers (see Who are the most famous singers in the French-speaking world?) or radio shows (France Inter, France Culture, Radio France Internationale...) or TV shows;
  2. when you watch a French movie, put on the French subtitles
  3. research your professional topics in French?
  4. find a French-speaking correspondent not necessarily a native speaker ,
  5. practice under different forms : I have improved a lot my German when I had a weekly appointment with a German correspondent for a chat (on Google Wave--which I regret a lot). (but German is pronounced as it is written & is written as it is pronounced... not so w/ French alas;-)
  6. when I worked on my English (for instance before having to translate a conference in real-time) I learned lists of words: I used to learn 1000 new words in the month before the conference --around the conference topic especially of course...
  7. go vacation in a French-speaking place, of course!
Quora UserQuora User, Speak several (Indian and Euro... (more)
I agree with Yves Granger and Quora User and would add the following specific suggestions drawn from my experience.

  1. Reading in French - I recommend Asterix (for a hilarious turn of phrase), the Maigret series of detective novels, some modern poetry. After these I found myself reading and enjoying Maupassant, de Beauvoir and Sagan so much more than I ever did the translations.
  2. Listening to French music - Ms Bruni sings slowly enough for one to catch all the lyrics but I also listen to some French rap and pop music, latter both old and new. 
  3. French films - Amongst foreign language films, they are my favourite to watch. The dialogue in most films is not corny or stylised and helped immensely with my vocabulary.
Quora UserQuora User, Goodbye, arrividerci, au revoi... (more)
2 upvotes by Yves Granger and Tara Dockery.
One last suggestion: read your news in French. Agence France Presse offers fairly comprehensive world news coverage (including U.S. news), so get your stories from its site. Reuters and Huffington Post both publish in French editions as well, and of course you could also visit the Web sites of major French newspapers.
Julien BoyerJulien Boyer, French native, writer, occasio... (more)
6 upvotes by Tara Dockery, Quora User, Quora User, (more)
I speak 3 languages fluently. Spanish the least. To keep my level up, I go find a band I like that sings in spanish with an intelligible voice. I get the lyrics, and I sing along in front of the computer. Eventually I know it by heart and I don't need the song nor the lyrics. I sing in the shower. And all the grammar structures and vocabulary of the song stay with me for a long time.

I actually wished someone would make a songbook with select songs and lyrics and explanations of the non-trivial bits as footnotes in the languages I want to practice. And since I'm native in french, I made one for french: http://ubuntuone.com/6DrpTUfSBLw...

Is that self promotion? I don't sell it.
Quora UserQuora User, The more I know, the more I kn... (more)
Aside from the other answers, which are all great suggestions, if you have a smartphone try subscribing to French language podcasts. There are a lot of great ones available and they're free.

Just search for "French" in the iTunes Store and select "Podcasts" from the search results, then read the reviews to get the best ones. There were 40-50 selections when I checked just now. The one I use is called "Coffee Break French" and I can recommend that, but it's best to go through and pick the one(s) with content and at a complexity level that best suits your learning goals.

(Android Market probably has something similar, but I'm not familiar).

Listening to podcasts is a great way to supplement anything else you're doing because you have them on your mobile and possibly your laptop as well, and you can listen to them during "dead" time throughout the day like when you're driving, waiting in line or in the doctor's office, in the shower, etc. I used this very effectively and still do to learn Mandarin, and lately I've begun doing it with French too which, like you, I'm trying to refresh after several years of not using the language at all.
Quora UserQuora User, alive and kicking
  1. I would suggest you use every chance to get familiar with French if you don't use them in work. I will tell you what i do.
  2. Change all my electronic device to French, computer, Xbox, phone etc even Facebook , google interface language.
  3. Try to consider French as a pleasure, like when you watch a film or something, try the French version , not to mention there are so many native French movies;
  4. make some French speaking friends ;)


Bonne chance!
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