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One of our ESL students who recently came here from China. Her progress is "mind-blowing".


One of our ambitious  students in the who is striving to take her French to the next level.


This is where LYLI sheds light on various topics regarding education and language acquisition or can provide you with tips and advice. Send questions you would like LYLI t​o address to: [email protected]. 

Why is French So Hard?

Learning another language poses a variety of challenges. But just because you see other students achieving success in French while you feel like you are getting nowhere, does not mean acquiring French as a second language is as “hard” as you think.

The process for learning language differs from student to student depending on age, ability to focus on, process, analyze and retain information, among other variables. The rate at which students learn is also different. In this way, it is more about differences than difficulties which, if understood, can often reduce much of your frustration. Moreover, students tend to call something difficult when they do not see progress. While this is understandable, the question raised actually becomes  one of perception.

Yet the truth of the matter is that learning a language takes work. The work involved can come more easily to other students who differ socially, emotionally and cognitively, but this does not change the fact that even a gifted student in the area of language acquisition must apply himself. Both abilities and gifts in any field must be  cultivated by constant effort.

Even if you do not have access to high quality materials and teaching or lack exposure to quality input, you can decide to do your part. Here are some suggestions for now:

1. Ask your teacher if you can sit beside a partner who has mastered the content and concepts you need help with.

2. Each lesson, ask a question when you need clarification regarding the lesson presented.

3. Take risks in class attempting to participate or answer even one question. Do not leave your class confused and make sure you have all the rights answers to the activities completed.

4. Watch short videos in French on topics that interest you. Do not worry if you do not understand all the words spoken. Immerse yourself in the sounds and intonation of the language.

5. Read content covered out loud so you can get comfortable producing the sounds of the language. (I will explain how to make the most of this approach later.)

6. When you read, observe how words are grouped together to communicate an idea.

7. Try to repeat these small groups or phrases on your own without referring to the text.

8. If there are any words you do not understand that are not explained in the glossary, look them up.

9. Find someone in your class who has similar goals to yours who is willing to spend the time needed to complete homework or prepare for tests.

10. If all the above is still not reaping results because you started out waaaay behind everyone else, call on LYLI!

Despite the challenges, whatever they are, you can improve your French. This will depend, in great part, on your attitude toward success as well as how you respond to failure. Know that though there may be students in your class that seem far ahead of you today, I have seen struggling peers catch up or even surpass the latter just by applying suggestions #1-#9 above. You might have to work twice as hard initially for a period of time, but it will pay off in the long run. Stop talking about how hard the subject appears and start focusing on WHAT you plan to do that can make a major difference. I am not saying it will be easy. I am saying it is possible; it is more possible than you think!


How Much Time Should I Spend Studying?

I have heard this question many times over the years. However, it is important to keep in mind not just how much time should be spent as if there were a magic number of hours, but how  to spend that time.  With this, what is even more important in acquiring another language is consistency.  The amount of time you should spend will also depend on the expectations and intensity of your language course as well as your current level of achievement in relation to the learning outcomes. 

Keeping in mind the importance of consistency, it is far more beneficial to spend 20 minutes reviewing and practicing 5 days a week or even 15 minutes, for example, instead of trying to learn all the vocabulary, expressions and the grammatical concept covered in a given week in one sitting. You can also try studying 30 minutes every other day or one hour three times a week. Whatever your configuration, according to your schedule and life demands, frequent contact is essential to mastering any language if you want to see lasting results. It is also essential to target all language competencies to increase literacy and the ability to become an effective communicator overall. So, make time to read, listen, speak and complete a short writing task.  How much time you  devote to each of these areas will depend on the number of sessions you commit to weekly and how much time you have for each one. In all cases, strive for balance. If you cannot work on a particular area such as written expression one session, strive to make time for this during your next practice. If, however,  your primary goal is to increase your spoken fluency, then you should focus more on listening and reading authentic material in addition to actively speaking. 

Remember also, as mentioned in the article: "Why is French So Hard?", that students learn at different rates. However, you can compensate for this by spending extra time on the language of your choice. Any additional time you spend to achieve greater mastery of a language will be determined by your own goals and desire to achieve those goals. 

LYLI considers the language learner an athlete in training and teaches students that true success is achieved through constant effort, determination and discipline. These are qualities that will not only serve you in your language classes, but in life!


What our customers are saying

When you speak to a man in your language , it goes to his head. When you speak to him in his language, it goes to his heart.

​ - Nelson Mandela

 - Nelson Mandela

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