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Section 1

#19 Study (and review) every day.

This sounds obvious, but how many people really do it? Yet the evidence is overwhelming that if you only open up your language program once every few days, or once a week, you won’t retain much of what you learned at the last session. On the other hand, if you study every day, and begin each daily session by quickly reviewing what you learned the day before, your language lessons will be much more effective. Choose a regular time to study and commit to it. If for some reason you do need to miss several consecutive days of study, back up and repeat the last lesson you studied. You’ll be glad you did!

#20 Use context to help you translate French.

Use context to translate FrenchI touched on this when I suggested you read children’s books, using the pictures to help you decipher the text. While pictures are extremely helpful, you don’t really need them; you often can use the French you already know to help you decipher the French you don’t.

For example, let’s look at the sentence “J’aime le beurre sur mon pain.” And suppose you know that j’aime means I love, sur means on, mon means my, and pain means bread. So you now have “I love [something] on my bread.” You probably already suspect that beurre is the French word for butter – and it is – but even if you didn’t know that, you’d be able to get enough of the sense of the sentence to realize we’re talking about eating bread and not fighting a war or training a dog. So just jot the unknown beurre down on a blank flash card, go on with your reading, and look up the definition when you have time.

play J’aime le beurre sur mon pain.
I like butter on my bread.

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