It’s been a busy week at work and at home, as the school year is winding down. I seriously cannot wait for summer. Longer days keep me inspired, and I enjoy the feeling of the sun beating down all day long, even though it gets really hot here in Texas.

This weekend, I’m buckling down on my French studies. I’ve been studying French since January, and I’m in beginner II. I take classes once a week, and I have a hard time finding the time to study in between classes.

I was looking at some videos on YouTube for tips on how to improve my French language skills, and I don’t think I’m studying nearly enough. The people whose videos I watched that had mastered the language were studying, at minimum, one to two hours per day! I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes I don’t even get in one to two hours a week outside of class!

The good thing about taking actual classes is that it forces me to study at least enough to complete my homework each week. It also gives me an opportunity to actually speak the language, interact with a native French speaker (my teacher), and with other students. But, it’s going to take a lot more effort outside of the classroom if I want to get serious about mastering the language.

I recently added a new language study app to my arsenal called Tinycards. Tinycards is by the maker of the program Duolingo. Duolingo is a completely free language learning software, and so is Tinycards! Tinycards integrates the vocabulary from Duolingo and other language programs by the same maker to create flashcards.

The Tinycards flashcards are awesome for reinforcing my French vocabulary. Before I move to intermediate-level courses, I’m going to need a lot more vocabulary words. It’s fine to learn rules, important verbs, and to how to conjugate them. But, in order to improve my speaking, writing, and listening, I simply need to know more words in French.

My French classes at the French Alliance in Houston are immersion style. The good thing about this method is that you start speaking from day 1. The downside of this method is that you don’t do traditional memorization or vocabulary drills. We do some vocabulary exercises, but for the most part, we have to study a lot of the vocabulary on our own.

I kept telling myself that I would make my own flashcards. I even got out the marker and the index cards, but it just never happened. Luckily, the flashcards provided electronically via Tinycards make it easy to reinforce my French vocabulary.

The cards introduce new words and phrases, and you have to translate them  to French from English and vice versa alternatively. You also have to identify the pictorial representation. I like this method because it allows me the practice of typing out the words instead of just clicking on them. I want to eventually write fluently in French, so writing practice is important.

The Tinycards app is also available on desktop applications, so it’s easy to study from different devices. So far, I’m really enjoying the program, and I’ll let you guys know how it’s going as I progress!

Before I found this new app to help me out, I was briefly becoming discouraged because, to be quite frank, learning a new language is a lot of work! Luckily, my teacher makes class interesting, and my desire to actually visit France one day keeps things me motivated.

Unfortunately, I’m still getting comments from people about how I should be studying Spanish. Ironically, these comments mostly come from people that don’t even speak Spanish! I actually feel quite confident that the experience of buckling down to learn French will make it much easier for me when (and if) I decide to revisit Spanish.

I’ll be detailing more about the methods I’m using to beef up my French studies, but for now I have to get back to studying! Au revoir!