learning

5 false ideas beginners have in mind

Many people let limiting believes and false ideas stop them from doing things and thriving in their life. I debunk 5 false ideas beginners have in mind. Let’s get to it!


1. It’s too hard, French is so complicated

I don’t think there is one single class in my entire career where I didn’t hear that “it’s too hard” or “French is so complicated”. I’ve come to answer that actually, no, French is not complicated, it’s complex. It will require work and efforts from you (otherwise there is no challenge!), that’s for sure, but it’s not complicated when you have the right instructor and tools to guide and help you in your learning process.
Just like everything else: using a tablet was “too complicated” for my mum at first, and now she uses it almost every day! Learning to tie a shoe is “too hard” for a very young kid, usually not for an adult; why is that? Because you learned how to do it, you understand how it works, that’s the key right there. Find the teacher that fits your learning style and can break it down for you; you’ll see that French language will have no more secrets for you! 😉

2. I don’t have time

When people think about practice or homework, they think about school: you go home after your class and you have to work for hours to be ready for the next class. This is not how we do it here, at Sweet French Learning: you can practice by watching a movie in French (yes, if you didn’t know it, Netflix can actually be homework! 😀 ), listening to some French music, playing a game with your kids, talking to your sister in law who speaks French, reading your favorite book in French, baking a French recipe, setting your favorite social media in French, reading flash cards, or doing activities in your book. All these are ways to practice French every day if you want, you just have to find the ones that fit your life! 🙂

Another side of “I don’t have time” is that many people think it will take years to speak French fluently; NO! Just like everything else, it depends on how regularly you actually practice and learn. Think about it: if you want to learn to ski and you only go practice once every 3 months, you’re not going to learn a lot… But if every weekend you’re out there trying and practicing, you’re going to have some skills at the end of the winter! It’s pretty much the same when it comes to learning French: a person that has class once a week will usually improve slower than someone that has class 3 times a week. And this someone will progress slower than somebody in immersion.
So you see? It’s not about how long, it’s about how OFTEN! When I used to teach in the best French language school in France, students were in immersion (for the big majority of them) and the program was made so that they should complete one level per month, meaning that they could be fluent in less than 6 months! This will obviously not happen to someone taking only one lesson per week here in Alberta (I gotta keep it real…).

So when people ask me how long it takes to be able to speak French, the answer is ALWAYS the same: it depends on how involved you are! I’m not making you speak French, I guide you on this learning journey, the rest is up to you!

3. I’m too old

I know that societies like ours try to put in our minds, especially us women, that there is a certain age to do certain things and that if you don’t do it, then it’s too late. But let me tell you a secret: this is ONLY conditioning! Yes, really! You are NOT too old to learn French!
Have you heard about this old lady who went vegan at 90 years old and she was feeling so good, she got back to dancing? This is another proof that you shouldn’t let this conditioning put that in your head!

This kind of limiting belief can also come from family and lead to a lot of insecurities. I’d be happy to chat further with you if you want to share your concerns with me, just shoot me a message.

If you only remember one thing from this article, it’s this: the only limits you have are the ones you set yourself!

4. I can’t speak French

Something else I’ve been hearing throughout my career is “I don’t want to speak because I’m not good, my accent is not perfect”. Here is another truth for you: there is NO perfect accent! It just doesn’t exist! With millions of native French speakers around the world, you have many different accents. The famous example is French from Eastern Canada and French from France. But even in that, you have different accents: people from Québec don’t have the same accent as people from New Brunswick, and people in the south of France speak differently than people in Paris. So you see? It’s not like there’s THE perfect accent; pick the French accent you like and practice it.

By that, people usually mean that they can’t speak like a native speaker; but you are not a native speaker so it’s totally natural that you don’t speak like one. Do you know where your accent is coming from? I’ll let you pause and think for a second. So? Here it is: as a human baby on our day of birth, our brain and our body are completely open to learn any kind of language (the potential of a human being is tremendous, isn’t it?). As we get older, it starts in the first months of our life, our brain and body are going to “close” and focus on the language (or languages) around us (we are in immersion, our body is going to adapt). As an adult and native English speaker, your brain and body are shaped to speak and understand English; as a native French speaker, my brain and body are shaped to speak and understand French. We have 2 different “sound systems”, meaning your throat, your mouth, your earing, all of this is different than mine, because we were born in different languages. When you learn another language, you are using the same sound system while creating a different “box” in your brain; that’s the reason why you have an English accent when you speak French! You can totally speak French because you use your “French box” and your French is tainted by an English accent because this is your sound system. Think about it like eating pasta with a spoon VS a fork, or driving a manual VS an automatic car: it’s totally doable, it’s just different. 😉  

Something else you need to remember to change this “I can’t speak” belief, is that if you have an English accent when you speak French, it means that you speak at least 2 languages, and that’s something you should definitely be proud of! #changeyourperspective

I speak English very well and I still have my French accent, and that’s ok! I plan to learn Italian and I’ll probably have a French accent too, that’s natural! Don’t let this keep you from enjoying French, put this belief in the trash and go for it!

5. I don’t know anything in French

Ok, this is something I always hear during my Meet and Greets or the first beginner class with my local clients: “I don’t know anything in French”. Well, I have to tell you again that this is not quite true. Your French box is already there, you just haven’t noticed it yet. How come? Well, don’t you know what a croissant is? Or a café? Or a baguette? Or a fiancé? See, all this is already in your French box, even if it’s just a mini tiny one, it’s there and it’s so cute! 😀

You want to make it grow? Let’s book your free meet and greet to talk about your goals! No obligation to register after, it’s up to you. 🙂