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I suppose my question applies for any language -- at for least Latin based languages -- but what is the most efficient way to self-study French?

First and foremost my goal is to be able speak and understand. I've heard that Rosetta Stone is particularly good in this aspect. However, coming from an academic background (unrelated to French or any other language), I've always had my doubts in these type of "shortcut" programs.

I find taking a class would be helpful because an instructor would be able to correct my pronunciation, but I often find classroom learning too slow-paced; hence why I've opted to self-study.

So would it be through language learning software, or in the more traditional sense of using a textbook and using "lab" or "work" books, or is there another option I have yet to consider?

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This question isn't really appropriate for french.stackexchange.com. This question would bring many opinion based answers. To see what you can ask about here please take a look at the about section, on topic questions, and finally questions you should avoid asking. Otherwise, welcome to French Language and Usage! On your journey to learn French, use the site to ask your questions about the language! –  Patrick Sebastien Aug 13 '13 at 20:15
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The fastest way to self-learn french that I witnessed is to know italian before. –  mouviciel Aug 14 '13 at 14:55
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closed as primarily opinion-based by Patrick Sebastien, Zistoloen, Alexis Pigeon, Un francophone, M42 Aug 16 '13 at 17:57

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

As Patrick Sebastien said, this isn't really an appropriate question as it is mostly opinion-based.

Though, the question remains interesting, so I'll try to make my answer as objective as possible:

Here's what I'd propose (they aren't exclusive with each others):

  • Having a good teacher is often a really good solution. But you don't usually choose your teacher.

  • You could watch subtitled films too to learn the pronunciation the right way.

  • You also have dynamic exercises available on the net (such as Memrise.com or others) who often have an audio sampling of the word or the sentence being learned.

  • Audio books could also be a nice solution if you're into that.

  • You can also find people to help you (like here and on chats) (There are many of them on the net or here).

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memrize is soooo good, merci for helping me found out about it –  zoran404 Aug 20 '13 at 21:34
    
@zoran404 My pleasure. I use it everyday (you can add me if you want, aha). Have a good day. –  JeromeJ Aug 21 '13 at 16:44
    
I see you have website, looks pretty nice. What did you used to make it? I am folowing you on memrise, you can find my email on my profile, send me a message –  zoran404 Aug 25 '13 at 22:08
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Check out a few different methods.

I used the Michel Thomas CD's but they are very boring.

Rosetta Stone is more of a game/application based learning.

I also paid for Learn direct's online French course, which was basically just memory and repetition based - not very good in my opinion and certainly wasn't worth the full amount they wanted to charge.

It's definitely good to have somebody to speak French out loud to also. I learnt a lot more when I moved there than I ever did with any of the above methods.

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I'm using Duolingo (Available as an Android or iPhone app and web based at www.duolingo.com). It treats it like a game and I find I'm memorising a lot of what I learn quite well. I imagine if you just spent a few hours on that you'd be able to progress very quickly.

There's audio to give you the pronunciation for everything as well. It makes learning fun (for me at least) so is quite encouraging that way. The web-app takes microphone input also to measure your pronunciation.

It also has Italian, Spanish and Portuguese to try if you find it works for you with French.

I think we all have different learning methods which work for each of us though. There's probably no one-size-fits-all.

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I really like Duolingo myself –  Patrick Sebastien Aug 14 '13 at 13:47
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