Learning a new language is a great adventure. At the beginning, everything is new and you progress quickly. After a while you are no longer a complete beginner and you are able to have a conversation on everyday topics. This feeling motivates you even more to continue your learning, but after you reach the intermediate level things unfortunately start to get more difficult.
The progression is slower and the rules become more complicated to learn and remember. The line between what you know and what you need to learn becomes blurred and it is difficult to find the right resources to keep progressing.
You are actually starting to reach the “plateau stage”. The good news is that this phenomenon is well known and appears in any discipline. Having a good basics of cooking or painting is accessible to anyone, but getting really good at something takes work.
The more you learn about a topic, the more you realize how much there is to know. Likewise, now that you have a good foundation in grammar and vocabulary, your progress becomes less visible. To overcome this plateau phenomenon, you must first understand Why you do that.
Set an achievable goal
First, try to take five minutes to think about your end goal. When you first started learning French, maybe your goal was to successfully communicate in that language. Now that this goal is achieved, what do you want to achieve?
Speaking a foreign language perfectly is not immediately possible, it is the work of a lifetime. Perhaps you want to work or study in France or train for an exam such as the DELF or the TEF?
These proposals are only examples. You have to find your own goal to make it specific enough. You will only stay motivated in the long run if you have a specific goal. If the goal is to be ambitious, it must also be realistic so as not to be too difficult to achieve. Finally, set a specific date.
Example: Today, I manage to express myself on simple subjects. In a year, I want to be able to play a small role in a play!
Consolidate and expand your bases
Once your goal is clear, it is necessary to be completely comfortable with your grammar. The present, imperfect, future simple, and past tense are the four basic tenses you need to master. If you are already familiar with them, you can learn other very useful tenses such as the conditional, present participle, and subjunctive.
At the same time, you can start learning more targeted vocabulary by listening to podcasts or going to sites such as La Fabrique à Spécialités. There are also free sites to learn vocabulary effectively. My favorite site is without doubt Quizlet.
I also advise you to read and listen to as much French as possible. I have a list of movies, music, YouTube channels, and more that you can check out for free. Do not hesitate to send me a message to receive it.
You can also install news applications such as 20 minutes or Metro on your phone. These two newspapers have the advantage of having short and often easy to understand articles. Either way, it is very important to read things that you find interesting!
Use the right method!
Practice French consistently: 10 or 20 minutes a day may be enough, but you need to do it regularly. If you start to postpone your learning, your progress as well as your motivation will gradually decrease.
Diversify the media used: Newspaper articles, YouTube videos, music, films, series, podcasts, radios, mobile applications ... All these means that we have already mentioned are excellent, but their real strength lies in your ability to combine them to advance all levels of your understanding.
Record your conversations in French. This will allow you to get along and better identify your strengths and weaknesses ... But also to notice your progress in a few months!
Finally, the most effective way to improve yourself is of course to practice and speak as much as possible. If you want to try a course with me, I will assess your level and your difficulties to offer you a tailor-made improvement plan and help you progress as quickly as possible.