How to learn French even if you have no willpower
- a case study -
How long does it take to learn French?
For the longest time I have refused to answer this question, because the answer depends on so many factors that we can’t control. Or so I thought.
But then I created what I believe is the absolute best process to learn French: Your Roadmap to Fluency.
And now the results are in!
I can confidently say that, if you follow this process to the best of your ability, six months is a realistic timeframe.
Say what?? Learning French in six months?
Chase has been one of the first students to ever get a Roadmap to Fluency. It was custom-made by me for him, like I do for every single student.
I created his Roadmap in March 2018, and then I didn’t hear from him for the next six months. When he came back to me in October 2018, we recorded this interview:
Start with why
Step 1 - The Goal
The first and most crucial step in the Roadmap to Fluency process is to define exactly why you are learning French and which specific results you hope to achieve.
As Chase mentions, the questions I ask prompt you to ask yourself some questions you never wondered about before. You get a level of clarity that you never had before.
For Chase, his main goal was to be able to live in France and to attend his theater school, which is entirely taught in French. Together we defined exactly what that meant in terms of French skills, and I designed a French learning plan that serves this particular purpose.
Step 2 - Figure out exactly where you are
Most students will have some preexisting French knowledge that they can build upon, even if it’s tiny or old and mostly forgotten.
In this step we also identify any feeling or belief that might stand in the way, like shyness or nervousness, or a conviction that you “just aren’t good at languages”.
Chase describes his preexisting French skills as “not too great”. He felt nervous and stressed out and he couldn’t understand or respond to people who spoke French to him.
Chase can now be in a conversation in French, and respond. French speakers understand him.
He even found himself in a French conversation, and only realised at the end of that conversation that he had been communicating naturally in French the whole time. As he said, he learned French without knowing it.
So how did he get there?
Here is what Chase did:
Listening to French podcasts in the morning.
Glancing at his notebook 5 to 10 minutes a day to remind himself of new words (on the metro or before bed)
Reading or listening to books that fit his level
Reading French comics that a friend gave him
Listening to French in his school and trying to communicate with teachers and other students.
All these actions where laid out by me in his Roadmap and I gave him links or access to all the resources he quotes (except for the comic books given by a friend, and of course the school). He didn’t have to do any research to get any of these.
Chase quotes “really bad willpower” and “stressing out about learning French” as the main challenges his Roadmap helped him to overcome.
The solution I taught him was to not put so much pressure on himself and simply do the little 5 to 10 minutes actions I outlined in his Roadmap. These really added up overtime to create the impressive results he has now.
He also says that he sometimes falls off a bit and he even went back to Canada for an entire month during which he did no French at all.
So, he really only studied with his Roadmap for a total of five months to get these results. Even during these five months, he wasn’t always super consistent.
- and it still worked!
Key take aways:
Needless to say, I’m really proud of Chase’s achievements and of having created a process that, as Chase says, get students to learn around their frustrations, without even knowing it, by doing just little things.
Your Roadmap to Fluency takes care of all the typical stumbling blocks that can keep you from learning French - anxiety, shyness, lack of time, of motivation, of willpower, of consistency, you name it! It only leaves you with super simple actions that you can do with very little time and willpower.
All you need to do it is: trust the process, stick to your very actionable plan to the best of your ability, and get back on the wagon whenever you fall off.
If you do that, just like Chase you can go from being confused, shy and frustrated to, as he said, just communicating in French - and only notice afterwards how easy it was.
You can be the next success story!
I hope this case study has convinced you that you too are able to learn French fast and with little effort involved.
Update: The Roadmap to Fluency process is now available as a group program The French Fluency Accelerator. You can learn more about this program and join its global community of French learners here. Or you can still work with me one on one. Learn more and book a free call via this page.
Or you can get started for free with this 4-parts video course:
About the author
Angel Pretot is a French learning coach. He helps English speakers from all over the world learn French fast and become fluent. You can work with him one-on-one (online via skype or a similar software) or join a global community of French learners in his group program the French Fluency Accelerator.